Friday, October 21, 2011

Anna Karenina: Week 2

My Thoughts on pp.70-141
  1. This installment provided much character development for Levin, Vronsky, Anna, and Kitty, while Stiva and Dolly faded into the background somewhat.  Like the camera panning and zooming in on the background, these somewhat peripheral characters have become more interesting and more important.  I sympathize with Kitty, although I have to admit I'm running out of patience for her (pull it together, girl!)  I dislike Vronsky: what a player.  Anna I love, except I'm saddened that she can't resist Vronsky.  Society certainly doesn't help her out! (see the quote below form page 128)

  2. I loved the chapters that gave us greater insight into Levin; I especially liked seeing him out on his estate.  I feel so much more sympathetic toward him now.  I now see why he is referred to as being most like Tolstoy himself.  Many of his thoughts, (particularly on the economic conditions in chapter 26,) sounded much like the beginnings of the Tolstoyan movement. (see the quote below from page 93)  As of now, he is by far my favorite character.  He seeks truth and a whole, well-rounded life: something I admire.

Quotes from pp.70-141
  • p. 80: Kitty looked into [Vronsky's] face, which was such a short distance from hers, and long afterwards, for several years, that look, so full of love, which she gave him then, and to which he did not respond, cut her heart with tormenting shame.

  • p. 93: [Levin] regarded the reforming of economic conditions as nonsense, but he had always felt the injustice of his abundance as compared with the poverty of the people, and he now decided that, in order to feel himself fully in the right, though he had worked hard before and lived without luxury, he would now work still harder and allow himself still less luxury.

  • p. 95: He felt that something in the depths of his soul was being established, adjusted and settled.

  • p. 97: 
    • Dolly: "Everything in your soul is clear and good."
    • Anna: "Each of us has his skeletons in his soul..."

  • p. 104: He looked at people as if they were things.  A nervous young man across form him, who served on the circuit court, came to hate him for that look.  [...] the young man grimaced, feeling that he was losing his self-possession under the pressure of this non-recognition of himself as a human being and was unable to fall asleep because of it.

  • p. 105: Only now did Vronsky understand clearly for the first time that the husband was a person connected with her.  He knew she had a husband, but had not believed in his existence and fully believed in it only when he saw him, with his head, his shoulders, his legs in black trousers; and especially when he saw this husband calmly take her arm with a proprietary air.

  • p. 107: He called the celebrated Countess Lydia Ivanovna 'samovar', because she was always getting exited and heated up about things. 
  • p. 107: And the son, just like the husband, produced in Anna a feeling akin to disappointment.  She had imagined him better than he was in reality.  She had to descend into reality to enjoy him as he was.

  • p. 128: He knew very well that in the eyes of Betsy and all society people he ran no risk of being ridiculous.  He knew very well that for those people the role of the unhappy lover of a young girl, or of a free woman generally, might be ridiculous; but the role of a man who attached himself to a married woman and devoted his life to involving her in adultery at all costs, had something beautiful and grand about it and could never be ridiculous, and therefore, with a proud and gay smile playing under his moustache, he lowered the opera-glasses and looked at his cousin.


  1. I'm so incredibly impressed that you're reading Anna Karenina.

    My post for tomorrow is about a book of essays about Russian literature. I kinda felt like a poseur reading it since I actually have read only one novel by a Russian, but it was written in English (Lolita).

  2. I thought Vronsky was a player too, in fact it was my only criticism of the book when I reviewed it. Glad you are still enjoying it :)

  3. I love that you provided quotes from the sections. Many of those stuck out to me as well, especially the quote about skeletons.

  4. As the Crowe: the more I read of the Russians, the more I like them. There is something about their look on life and sense of humor that I enjoy. If your curious but not ready to jump into something huge, novellas are a great way to go! Then you can say you've read all kinds of Russian authors. ;)

    Sam, do you have a review of it on your blog? I'll have to go searching!

    Leighanne, I started making notes of passages that stood out to me a couple of years back, and I think it has helped me appreciate books more. (blogging, too, come to think about it...there's something about writing things down that just helps me really think it all through!)


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