Anna Karenina Fridays – Final Post


This week, for the final week of the Anna Karenina read-along hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables, I completed my reading of Leo Tolstoy’s work.  This week’s reading was the climax for all of the main characters of the book.

For starters, I would be remiss if I didn’t begin my thoughts with Anna’s suicide by train.  At this point, she’s finally snapped, in my opinion.  She’s hit the tipping point of her insecurity in her relationship with Vronsky.  As I mentioned last week, I felt that Anna hasn’t had much growth since she left her husband Alex Karenin to be with Vronsky.  She went down this destructive path of insecurity and jealousy that she simply couldn’t recover.  Vronsky, from a psychological standpoint, has evolved significantly beyond what Anna can even fathom.  Anna continues to strongly feel that Vronsky is going to leave her for greener pastures.

While I definitely understand the reasons that Anna decided to end her life, I felt the lead up to it, and the ultimate description of the scenario wasn’t quite up to what I expected from Tolstoy given his writing of the previous sections of Anna Karenina and my experience with War and Peace.  He did a really fantastic job laying the foundation and building up to this moment, but it was kind of a let down at the end, or perhaps I was simply missing something from the book.

The final Part of the book, Part VIII really left me scratching my head.  True, I could see how Levin’s personal philosophy had changed, but I was really surprised still at his lack of accepting religion of any kind.  There was a lot of philosophical stuff here in this final part that didn’t sit too well with me.  I’ll probably have to re-read that section at a later time and see if it makes any additional sense to me.

On a final note regarding Vronsky, I was happy to see that he found some sort of purpose to his life after Anna’s suicide.  He went looking for a higher purpose and felt that he could best contribute by participating in a war, donating money and munitions to the cause along with his manpower.

My last thoughts are on the book as a whole.  I really enjoyed reading this piece of literature.  I had never participated in an online read-along before, and I definitely enjoyed the experience.  While I didn’t like Anna Karenina as much as War and Peace, Anna Karenina has definitely elevated my already deep appreciation of classical Russian literature, and as a result of reading it, I’m looking forward to reading more Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, maybe in 2012.

If you’ve read Anna Karenina I’d definitely love to hear your thoughts!

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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!

2 Responses to “Anna Karenina Fridays – Final Post”

  1. Hi Jeremy,
    Sorry for the delayed response to your post! I’ve enjoyed your insights and wisdom about Russian culture and history.

    One thing I disagree with you on is your statement above that Vronsky “found some sort of purpose to his life after Anna’s suicide. He went looking for a higher purpose and felt that he could best contribute by participating in a war, donating money and munitions to the cause along with his manpower.” I will have to go back and look at this part, but when I read it I saw Vronsky as being suicidal himself. Willing to put himself on the front lines, knowing its danger.

    What thinketh you?

  2. Thanks for your kind words! 🙂

    You know, your thought on Vronsky being suicidal himself was something that didn’t cross my mind. It could very well be a possibility that could be in store for him. What I would’ve liked to have seen was more of Vronsky’s feelings toward their daughter at the end of the book. I know it was touched upon briefly when Dolly visited them at their farm, that he didn’t like the fact that their daughter didn’t seem to be his because of Anna’s married state to Alex Karenin.

    If Vronsky’s feelings hadn’t changed, then I could totally buy the thought that he was suicidal himself! Thanks for dropping by!

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