Anna Karenina Fridays – Week 11


This week, the penultimate week for the Anna Karenina read-along hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables, I read to Part VII Chapter XXIX.  In this week’s reading, we got to see how much some characters grew, such as Kitty and Levin, and how others, such as Anna have started to retard in their growth.

I learned, in particular, when Levin met Anna for the first time, that Anna still has a way of mesmerizing people even though she’s not an overly confident or emotionally strong person in the book anymore.  Levin appears to be taken with Anna’s beauty and her confidence.  However, we all know that Anna isn’t comfortable at all in her own skin, or with her place, not only in life, but in her life with Vronsky.  More on that in a bit…

I want to briefly discuss the meeting of Anna and Kitty for the first time since the beginning parts of the book.  I definitely recall when Anna and Kitty met for the first time, Kitty wasn’t the confident woman she now is in this section of the book.  Anna definitely was a stronger woman at the time as well.  In this second meeting, we see that each woman has switched roles.  Kitty is very strong and comfortable in her place in life, her place being at Levin’s side, and with her own purpose in life.  Anna, as we know, is going through a significant decline in her personal journey.

With Anna seeing how happy Kitty is with her lot in life has a significant effect on Anna’s future going forward.  Seeing how much someone has grown and is happy, can definitely have an adverse effect on a person going through a significant decline such as Anna is.

Anna, as we know, is quite insecure with how things are going for her personally with Vronsky.  She’s still dealing with the social stigma of her decision to leave her husband for a future with Vronsky, and how Vronsky has seemed to grow as an individual, while Anna has remained stagnant.  She’s become so insecure with herself, that she knows Vronsky is moving forward, and she doesn’t think she has a future by his side because of this character growth.  It has caused her to grow suspicious of Vronsky, either with him meeting someone else, or wishing to terminate his relationship with her.  All the while, Vronsky hasn’t given her any indication that his feelings have changed.

And a final word on the Kitty’s childbirth scene.  What a character builder for Levin, for starters.  He seemed very cool to the idea of having a child, and he was more concerned about what the birth of his child was doing to Kitty.  He feared that if the child caused the death of his beloved, he wouldn’t be able to love and/or forgive his child.  But once the child was born, he was still cool to the idea, and didn’t seem quite how to react.

The way in which Tolstoy described this scene demonstrates to me how much he deeply cares about not only the purpose of marriage in society, but how much he appreciates what new life means and how it’s an experience that everyone needs to go through to fully reach their potential in life.  I couldn’t believe how in-depth he was with the description, it really moved me.

I’m looking forward to the final week of the read-along.  If you’ve read Anna Karenina, I would love to hear your thoughts on this particular section of the book!

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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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