Anna Karenina Read-Along: Parts 5&6
My past for Week Three of our Read Along is both late, and well, somewhat incomplete. This week was somewhat of a mess, and by Saturday I realized I was about a half a section behind in my reading. Did I make that up this weekend? Of course not- that would have made sense! So… I will proceed with what I have read of Parts 5 & 6.
My thoughts: *Spoilers Alert*
Tolstoy isn’t much for portraying the beauty of domestic bliss, is he? Even my favorite couple, Kitty and Levin, seem to have moments of difficulty as marriage and domesticity is not all that they envisioned…and yet, this vision of it seems to be accurate. Marriage is about the coming together of two lives, and its not always this wondrous process. Levin isn’t going to get his beloved solitude in the same way that Kitty will no longer be carefree. I appreciated the section where Kitty insists on coming along with Levin to see Nicolai, and then cares for him more than anyone else does. She shows herself to be a much stronger character than she appeared initially.
Anna and Vronsky seem to be kidding themselves. We’ll, correction. Anna is kidding herself. She really thought society was going to accept her adulterous relationship with Vronsky flaunted in society? Really? It seems like Anna is not only slightly delusional, but manipulative to boot. She is drowning in confusion, and I think to some degree regret, and it’s beginning to strain her relationship with Vronsky. She holds tightly to that which she fears losing, and in doing so, risks losing it anyway.
On the Countess and Karenin…well, they seem like a bit of an odd match.
Discussion Questions and Answers:
1. Discuss the way Kitty and Levin fight. How is their way of communicating different from the way Anna and Vronsky or Stiva and Dolly disagree?
I think the way that Kitty and Levin fight shows just how young Kitty is, and how lost Levin is at times. Whereas Stiva and Dolly disagree about the state of their marriage after Stiva’s affair, Kitty and Levin argue about Levin being out a bit too late, or whether or not it is appropriate to accompany him to see his dying brother. I think some of the drama in Levin and Kitty’s marriage is created simply out of boredom (on Kitty’s part) and youth.
2. What did you think when Anna and Vronsky took off to live together? Now that they have, how do you see things between the two of them?
I couldn’t believe they actually did it to be honest. It seemed like such a slap in the face to Karenin, and honestly, to society as a whole. It just wasn’t done then.
Vronsky seemed to understand the implications for their life socially, both abroad, and in Russia. He took care in mentioning his situation to others and introducing Anna, both for his own sake, and for her’s as well, but she seemed perfectly content to flaunt their status. I think Vronsky is beginning to realize everything he gave up in order to be with Anna, and it seems that to Anna even that isn’t enough. Things between the two of them seem tense and fragile both while they are abroad, and especially in Petersburg.
Anna Karenina, with its vast array of characters and situations is by no means a boring read, even as I round the bend towards the end with sections 5 & 6.