Friday, December 9, 2011

Anna Karenina: Week 8-9 of 12

My Thoughts on pp.483-620
  1. I've enjoyed the depiction of newly married life.  What weight Kitty attaches to trivial things! How volatile are Levin's emotions!

  2. I don't know if it is simply my translation, but the phrase "in the depths of his soul" is starting to grate on me.  Must everything truly be felt in the depths of one's soul?

  3. In the quote below from p. 608, Dolly contemplates the quality of the love she lives with, comparing it to the decisions that Anna has made.  How sad, and yet how realistic, is the realization that life isn't perfect?  She admits that she does have a husband she loves, only not as she'd have wanted to love.

  4. Anna, in the last quote, declares that all she wants is to live, causing no harm to anyone but herself.  And yet this really doesn't accurately depict the choices she's made.  In reality, she chose to live instead of causing harm only to herself (the torture of not being with Vronsky).  I understand that she feels that her husband and son are better off without her, and that she is better off without the marriage, and that she is paying for her choice by ruining her reputation.  But I also see that her husband's reputation has been destroyed, and her son's happiness as well.  I know that she didn't think she had a choice, and yet I wonder...It is so common to think the grass is greener on the other side, but rarely does it really turn out that way.
Quotes from pp.483-620
  • p. 511: was so necessary for him in his humiliation to possess at least an invented loftiness form which he, despised by everyone, could despise others, that he clung to his imaginary salvation as if it were salvation indeed.

  • p. 527-8: The elder brother, who had always respected the opinions of the younger, could not quite tell whether he was right or wrong until society decided the question; he himself, for his own part, had nothing against it and went together with Alexei to see Anna.

  • p. 549: And those assurances of love, which seemed so banal to him that he was ashamed to utter them, she drank in and gradually grew calm. The next day, completely reconciled, they left for the country.

  • p. 608: "And they all fall upon Anna. What for? Am I any better? I at least have a husband I love. Not as I’d have wanted to love, but I do love him, and Anna did not love hers. How is she to blame, then? She wants to live. God has put that into our souls. [...] I might have loved and been loved in a real way."

  • p. 614: “When you love someone, you love the whole person, as they are, and not as you’d like them to be.”

  • p. 616: “I don’t want to prove anything, I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself. I have that right, haven’t I?”


  1. If you are Russian, everything is felt in the depths of your soul :P

    Glad you are still enjoying this.

  2. #4 is spot on. I kept thinking, "Anna, please look around you. See what is actually going on!" Everything we do has a ripple effect.

  3. Ha, Sam...I'm beginning to realize that. :)

    So true Heidi. I guess it's easier to justify our actions rather than look at our choices objectively. It was interesting to see the "I'm not hurting anyone other than myself" attitude...I guess that's not a modern sentiment.

  4. Hi Melody!

    I have the same translation you do, and at times, I find it very annoying that some of the same phrases are repeated ad nausea.

    With Anna's quote, if she really didn't want to hurt anyone, she should've thought more clearly about her long-term plans before she married Alex Karenin. She hurt herself with that decision in more ways than she can possibly fathom. You're right, she definitely thought the grass was greener with Vronsky than with her husband.


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