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Thread: Ana Karenina personal insight

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    Ana Karenina personal insight

    Hello, I am new to the forum so I'll first introduce myself. I'm Luís, I was born and live in Lisbon, Portugal, so you will have to forgive my english. I am a huge russian literature entusiast. I just finished Anna Karénina and loved it. I read all of the posts of this forum and would like to add just one more insight.
    I too liked the Kitty/Lévin chapters the best and think that maybe the book should have been named Konstantine Dimitrchi. Anyway... have you noticed that all the characters in the novel change from respectful and powerfull to deranged and weak when interacting with different characters. **SPOILERS** Take Lévin, for example, while single he felt the need of the love of his life but on the other hand he was passionate for his work on his property and was begining to achieve big things in his life. When he finnaly married Kitty he became a very irritable man, stoped working with passion and forgot the book he was writing. Not to say that Tolstoy wanted to say that marriage (even a lovefull one) was bad, just that an individual is not allways plain morally evil or morally good. We all change when we interact with different people. Anna Karenina is the prime example of this fenomena, she is so powerfull and good in the first chapters of the novel (she helps Stiva in his problem with Dolly), because when in interaction with her brother she stands out. When in interaction with Vronsky or Kitty, she is just a weak and unwise woman. Her husband, Aleksei Karenin, is not the villain of the novel, when he faces Karenina and Vronsky we actually feel pity and compassion for him, but when facing (in the early chapters) Karenina and Society he seems arrogant and unreasonable man.

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    Two Gun Kid Idril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luís Castilho View Post
    **SPOILERS** Take Lévin, for example, while single he felt the need of the love of his life but on the other hand he was passionate for his work on his property and was begining to achieve big things in his life. When he finnaly married Kitty he became a very irritable man, stoped working with passion and forgot the book he was writing. Not to say that Tolstoy wanted to say that marriage (even a lovefull one) was bad, just that an individual is not allways plain morally evil or morally good
    I don't think Tolstoy always looked at marriage as being a positive thing, have you ever read his short story The Kruetzer Sonata? I think with both Levin and Anna, they chased an ideal, Anna and her relationship with Vronsky and Levin, his relationship with Kitty and both fell a little flat. Anna's reaction was a little more over the top and tragic of course but neither of their fantasies lived up to their expectations.

    How do you think the death of Levin's brother effected his outlook on romance and marriage? Do you think Nikolai's death put a pall on his ability to enjoy the more frivolous and joyous things in life, such as his wedding and marriage to Kitty or do you think his disappointments in the planning of the wedding and in the early stages of marriage would've been there regardless?

    And I think Tolstoy does a great job of creating fully rounded characters that are neither all good or all bad, not just in Anna Kerenina but in all his writings.
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    Ataraxia bazarov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luís Castilho View Post
    Take Lévin, for example, while single he felt the need of the love of his life but on the other hand he was passionate for his work on his property and was begining to achieve big things in his life. When he finnaly married Kitty he became a very irritable man, stoped working with passion and forgot the book he was writing. Not to say that Tolstoy wanted to say that marriage (even a lovefull one) was bad, just that an individual is not allways plain morally evil or morally good. We all change when we interact with different people. Anna Karenina is the prime example of this fenomena, she is so powerfull and good in the first chapters of the novel (she helps Stiva in his problem with Dolly), because when in interaction with her brother she stands out. When in interaction with Vronsky or Kitty, she is just a weak and unwise woman. Her husband, Aleksei Karenin, is not the villain of the novel, when he faces Karenina and Vronsky we actually feel pity and compassion for him, but when facing (in the early chapters) Karenina and Society he seems arrogant and unreasonable man.
    Honores mutant mores...In the beginning, Ana was a good wife and mother, so she could play role of some moral authority to her friends and family, especially when they knew they were doing something wrong, like Dolly( maybe because of wish to abandon her husband, witch wasn't very usual in those days, I assume) and Stiva were. Kitty, and especially Levin were really good and honest people, it's hard that anyone could object to them for anything, so Anna couldn't do it also( also because of feeling some guilt because of affair with Vronsky). It's normal that we feel pity for Karenin, he really was a victim in Vronsky, Anna, Karenin triangle. His was surely hurted, and to be honest, I would probably react in same way he did!

    Welcome Luis! Nice game last night!
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    Two Gun Kid Idril's Avatar
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    I think Anna had some very valid complaints about Kerenin, it was a stiffling marriage and he was not a particularly caring or affectionate husband but of course, there are other ways to deal with marital troubles short of having an affair. I think Anna had assumed Kerenin had no feelings, because he wasn't affection with her, he wouldn't by bothered by her leaving and I still haven't really decided if his grief was from a real love of Anna or his horror at what society's reaction would be but he certainly was hurt. Didn't he give leave for her to continue the affair as long as it was 'descreet' or am I thinking about something entirely different?
    the luminous grass of the prairie hides
    feet lovely and still as sleeping doves,
    porcelain bones strong enough to carry a life,
    but weighty and unmovable
    As black Dakota hills.
    ~ Riesa

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idril View Post
    How do you think the death of Levin's brother effected his outlook on romance and marriage? Do you think Nikolai's death put a pall on his ability to enjoy the more frivolous and joyous things in life, such as his wedding and marriage to Kitty or do you think his disappointments in the planning of the wedding and in the early stages of marriage would've been there regardless?
    In the early chapter when Levin is working side by side with the peasants, he has an epiphany and realizes the importance of feeling usefull and sacrificing oneself for a just and honorable cause. He wants to feel like he's a parte of something, and promises himself to change his life. On that exact moment he sees Kitty Scherbaski and forgets every plan he made. This change in the Levin character occurred long before Nikolai's death (although he was allready terminaly ill). I think that the death of Nikolai reminded him of GOD. He is really scared of God, of the possibility of the existence of a superior being. He hates the idea of not being able to control his own life (thats why the birth of his son is such an important chapter, he feels for the second time (Nikolai's death was the first) that he is not in control of things and finally, he gives in and prays to God). I think that the death of Nikolai and the birth of his son dont actually change the way he sees his marriage, It is the society's view on marriage (that Kitty follows) that asphyxiate him (remember that chapter with the Levin/Kitty wedding, how Levin doesnt understand all the ceremonys and preparations that it implies). Most of the arguments he has with his wife comes from the lack of individuality and personal freedom, he wants to be abble to go work in his land when he wants, and to work late in his office. In that point of view I guess you are right, Anna and Levin are victims of there own ideals, because it is society that dictates how your life shall be lived.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Luís Castilho
    remember that chapter with the Levin/Kitty wedding, how Levin doesnt understand all the ceremonys and preparations that it implies
    Most of the arguments he has with his wife comes from the lack of individuality and personal freedom, he wants to be abble to go work in his land when he wants, and to work late in his office.
    That's why I prefer what Prince Andrew said in War & Peace,
    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Andrew
    Marry when you are old and good for nothing - or all that is good and noble in you will be lost. It will all be wasted on trifles. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Tolstoy gave some pretty good advice on marriage, huh?

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    Registered User jlavallet's Avatar
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    Levin is living out a conversion process from self-interests and self-righteousness to selflessness and subservience to God; in losing himself he finds himself. Anna is becoming more self consumed, self hating and hateful, and rebellious; the harder she tries to control herself and others, the more she lies to herself and others, the more she disintegrates.

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