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Anna Karenina
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May 2013- Anna Karenina > Part 4 Chapter 1 - 23

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Karena (karenafagan) Please keep your discussion to these chapters. Spoilers are allowed within these chapters so readers beware!

Jessica | 464 comments Well, the big event happens in this Part. Anna delivers the baby girl and Alexey makes a right decision, although right by public eye it is also right in the moral aspect. He also does something that, for once, I think makes him become human to the readers' eye. He not only forgives Anna, but also Vronsky. He takes pitty on both of these characters which, I think shows a major growth in his character. Also take note of how he, from this moment on, interacts with Seryozsha and the new daughter.

The sad part in this is the question of the hour, What is to be done, now? Anna cannot live with him and now wants a divorce. While it is what she has wanted all along, she knows this will not fix everything. She will have to choose, now, between Alexey and her children. I have not liked Stepan from the beginning. He thinks he has everyone's well-being when he offers advice, but that is never really his goal. It is what he can gain from it most of the time. He decides o give advice to Alexey on behalf of his sister's well-being. How interesting the man who had the affair in the beginning, now is the man to give advice about what is to be done with love affairs. Let's just say I rolled my eyes at his character through the entire conversation. Ugh, is all I can say in response to him. Alexey knows the divorce or no divorce at all will solve the problem. There is not solution, at this point in time but the divorce is what Anna wants so he gives her that. Anna continues to talk about her death being the only way out of this.

Oh but there was happiness is this chapter. Kitty and Levin, finally, reconnect and the engagement has a happy ending this time. However, Levin being the truthful man he is, cannot leave some things unsaid. He is not a believer, which Kitty can accept. But he also decides to share his journals and the fact that there have been women before her. Kitty is on the pedestal Levin has always held on her on. But Levin no longer stands on Kitty's. Her dreams have come true, while another is shattered before the wedding even happens.

We end with Vronksy and Anna going away, whicl Alexey stays home with the children. Vronsky has declined his next opportunity to move up in the army. And the divorce never happened.

Anil (loykalina) | 79 comments Jessica has nicely summed this part. I immensely enjoyed the part Levin does whatever he is told about engagement arrangements. I felt as happy (euphoric maybe?) as he does while reading this section.

Jessica | 464 comments Me too, @Anil! It was so happy. I wanted to spin around and sing after the engagement.

Heather Great summary Jessica. I do not like Stepan's character either. Hypocrite much, you man-whore? I have become quite fond of Levin and Kitty, Kitty even more so in the comming sections.

I also feel very sympathetic for Alexey. I predicted he would become a horrible person and try to ruin Anna. I was pleasantly suprised when he chose to forgive both her and Vronsky. Anna harboring so much malice and contempt for Alexey is baffling. I mean, she is the one ending the relationship. And Vronsky just sucks. I see him as a selfish child who wants what he cannot have until he has it. I imagine we will see more of that attitude in the following chapters.

Christine Interesting how this section begins with Vronsky showing the prince around. Vronsky sees the prince as an unpleasant mirror to himself. When he tries to share this with Anna she cuts him off. It is almost as if she doesn't want her image of Vronsky shattered. Yet, the image of her disentangling the hook from her crochet seemed like she was unhooking her feelings from Vronsky.
I love the contrast between Kitty/Levin and Anna/Vronsky. Levin's love has depth where Vronsky is shallow - really, he shoots himself!?!
Karenin is growing as a person, I like how Tolstoy is shifting from Anna's point of view of seeing as being robotic to his being so human as he tiptoes over to watch the baby.

Jessica | 464 comments Heather wrote: "Great summary Jessica. I do not like Stepan's character either. Hypocrite much, you man-whore? I have become quite fond of Levin and Kitty, Kitty even more so in the comming sections.

I also feel..."

lol man-whore is a great summation of Stepan. He is so frustrating. Alexey's inner thoughts I find interesting. He is full of so much worry/care over what his decision should be. To me, it shows a level of respect and love for her. On the surface, he does appear robotic. But I think that is true of most private people. Once you get to know them, they open up full of beautiful colors like a butterfly. Sometimes you have to remove the outer layer, first, to see into the inside. Does that make sense?

Alana (alanasbooks) | 208 comments Lots of good thoughts in this section :)

@ Heather - I totally understand her contempt for her husband at this point, because often the perpetrating person feels contempt for the person they are wronging because they are projecting their own guilt or trying to justify themselves. Trust me, I'm watching my husband do this right now. It's bizarre and makes no logical sense, but people do it. We have weird psychology in our brains sometimes.

@ C - I like your thoughts on all the characters as individuals and how deep or shallow they are. I like that you were also stunned at his shooting himself: not because you're horrified, but because, like me, you felt "huh? really? REALLY? get over it."

@Jessica - While I don't know that I think that Alexey is so much of a butterfly, I do like this view because I know many people (and often tend to be one myself) that are quiet introverts that are just not outwardly expressive and it can come across as being stoic and lack of emotion. Most introverts experience very powerful emotions, even more so than a lot of people who express them more freely, but those emotions mostly play out on the inside and are not shown to the world at large. Do I really think Karenin falls into this category? Not really, based on the book as a whole, but certainly many people do, and we do see a much more tender side of him at certain points as you mentioned.

Heather Alana,

I didn't really think about it like that. Your comment does bring to light the fact that shame and guilt are terrible emotions and can be easily projected in a way to justify them.

I also understand Karenin's attitude and outward control. I am also an introvert that does not want to lay all of my emotions out there because of how many times I have been burned. Now people think I am snotty because I don't want to share all of my thoughts and feelings. Whatevs. I rock and I make an awesome bff. Me and Alexey will be over here in the corner brooding and not discussing our sentiments.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 208 comments Heather wrote: "Alana,

I didn't really think about it like that. Your comment does bring to light the fact that shame and guilt are terrible emotions and can be easily projected in a way to justify them.

I also ..."

Lol, that's a great image!

James | 10 comments Another great Part. I must have changed my opinion of all the main characters at least a few times. Good to see Levin finally getting what he wanted, although it's interesting that he still struggles to communicate. The way Levin and kitty play the game to find out each other's feelings and giving her his journals to read, hope he finds the courage to speak from the heart later in the book.

message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa (dagny115) | 10 comments I enjoyed this part because I felt like it was an emotional roller coaster, and such a huge turning point in the lives of Vronsky, Anna and Levin. With Vronsky, that segment about him taking the prince around, I was impressed by him! His disgust at the prince and his behavior reflected the huge step Vronsky was taking in his own life. Similarly with Anna, her disgust at Alexey I felt reflected a huge shift in her attitude towards their marriage. She's suddenly realizing that she's not getting what she wants out of the relationship, and more importantly, she's realizing that maybe what she wants and feels is actually important. Do I think they're going to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after? Um, no. It just doesn't feel that way. But I feel like they're each taking a giant leap forward in who they are as a person. They're both taking a new interest in something they never even considered they might want before. To me they're both opening their eyes to new possiblities, but it feels like they're both going to end up miserable in the end.

Maricarmen Estrada M I loved this part of the book, so many things took place. Karenin develops as a great human being. I loved how he discovers the peace he was withdrawing himself from by forgiving and loving. He also seems to be the only one to care about the children and think about what will it become if them.
In the other hand, Ana is so selfish, there's no room in her for giving anything to anybody and end up just trying to get what she wants, but she is not even sure about what she really wants.
It also surprises me how -probably because of the culture of the Russian society in that time- children were not so important. Vronsky made no attempts to know his daughter, and he obviously doesn't care about Serioja. Finally, they just flee.

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