Anna Karenina Fridays – Week Ten


This week for the Anna Karenina read-along hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables, I read up to Part VII Chapter VII.  This week’s reading delved more into Anna’s psyche with Dolly visit, Levin going to a local election, and Levin and Kitty’s departure to Moscow for the birth of their child.

One of the interesting things in this week’s reading, is Tolstoy’s impression of immorality as it comes to marriage.  During Dolly’s visit, Dolly is shocked with Anna’s attitude toward having more children.  Anna boldly declares to Dolly that she refuses to have anymore children.  I’m convinced this attitude is in conflict with Tolstoy’s viewpoint of a moral marriage.  A religious based marriage is one where women are committed toward having and raising children, and if Tolstoy also adopts this belief, than Anna would not have a moral marriage.

During this discussion, Dolly clearly is able to tell the differences between her marriage to Stiva and Anna’s relationship with Vronsky.  Both are experienced in loveless marriages, however, Dolly’s marriage, if my opinion of Tolstoy’s view of “moral” marriage is accurate, is the “better” marriage.

The last item regarding Anna that caught my attention was the fact that she’s using morphine in order to sleep through the night and to calm her nerves.  Her use of morphine demonstrates to me that she’s using it as an escape to run away from her insecurity and her fears of not being able to travel and be seen in public with Vronsky because of the cultural stigma.  It’s definitely the beginnings of her road to ruin, because at some point, she won’t be able to use this crutch to calm her fears of insecurity because of her sin of adultery.

I also was quite amazed at how much Anna’s psyche has gone downhill during this week’s reading.  Vronsky has begun to do things without Anna, such as politics, hosting associates, etc.  Anna’s exclusion tends to contribute greatly to her growing sense of insecurity in her relationship with Vronsky, even though Vronsky has asked Anna to pursue a divorce with Alex Karenin, so their daughter can be legitimized.

Another section in this week’s reading that caught my attention was the local elections that Levin attended.  During these elections, Levin is participating in a true political process for the first time.  He is clearly confused on some of the issues, but in particular, how the voting works.  While he is inexperienced in this venue, there was some dialogue that caught my attention, and it dealt with farming.

Vronsky was at this election, and he has become what can be termed as a “new” generation of farmers, where the farms have become more industrial and geared toward moneymaking, and that is in direct contrast with Levin’s view of farming the land because he enjoys it.  Does Tolstoy believe in the ideal of working for yourself, for your own betterment as opposed for the ideal of money as Vronsky clearly is now?  I definitely think that in Tolstoy’s world, his “ideal” man would work more for himself and the betterment of the individual than for the profit motive.

I can tell in this week’s reading that we’re definitely heading toward the climax for a lot of the characters, and I’m definitely looking forward to the birth of Kitty and Levin’s child in next week’s reading.

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

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