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Anna Karenina
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May 2013- Anna Karenina > Part 5, Chapter 1- 33

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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 I think this is my favorite part of the book, by far. It had a slow start with Vronsky and Anna in Rome. One of those sections that didn't really do anything for me, but I understand Tolstoy trying to show these two characters changing separately and in terms of the relationship. Vronsky being bored...I think that is more or less a misdirection on his part. He believes it is because he is not in Petersburgh, but I think it is boredom with Anna.

Levin and Kitty's section was very moving. She goes from being angry/ lonely to being not just a great wife, but an amazing support system for Levin. His brother's illness provides a dutiful/caring/loving look into the heart of Kitty and I fell in love with her character. She does everything in her power to take care of Nikolay not just because he is sick and Kostya's brother. She does it because this is what her heart is meant for. She finds joy and comfort in taking care of him. Not in a proud way but in a motherly/sisterly way. I found this so touching. I think it's because I can relate...I am a lot like her in that sense.

We then switch back to Alexey. We find out Anna and Vronsky have come back to visit. Alexey has been shamed. This was where I felt Alexey truly became human. He lets that proud guard down and becomes a heartbroken man with intense emotion. He is worried about his son, he feels lonely because he has no one to confide in with how he feels (until one has been there one cannot understand, but it is scary), and I believe a part of him misses Anna. The countess comes to his aid and helps him get things in order.

Anna and Vronsky are trying to find their place in society. Anna's name has been turned to mud. Many of her friends, including Betsy, have started to distance themselves from her. But Anna doesn't seem to grasp the severity of her negative reputation. Vronsky can't even get his own mother or sister-in-law to converse with her.
At the end of this section Anna decides to go to the theater. Vronksy, for once wise, knows this is a bad idea. Someone in a booth next to Anna's ends up saying something mean and creates a downward spiral for Anna and Vronsky. She blames him for this situation. However, he tried to stop her from going. Even if he said why she didn't need to go, I believe she would have gone just to try and prove him wrong. Anna has become (to me) a 17 year old throwing a tantrum because she cannot get her way. Which is how Kitty is viewed at the beginning of the story. My sympathy for Anna has pretty much disappeared. I have little care for her at this point, sadly.

The scene where she meets her son is touching. He is the only thing, at this point, that truly brings any joy to her life. It broke my heart with her leaving him though. The poor child's heart was ripped in two again. While he was delighted to see her, the thought of her leaving again was not something thought of. He will have to pick up the pieces and try to mend the void and emptiness, from his mother not being there, again. His wish came true for his birthday, but at what cost?

I loved this entire section. I think every characters' heart and desire was shown for what it really is. There was so much depth in emotion too. Tolstoy gets down to the cold hard truth of how everyone's decision has effected others involved. The truth can be a hard, bitter pill to swallow....I like it when a writer is that blunt and truthful with the audience though.

Anil (loykalina) | 79 comments My favourite parts in this fifth part of this novel are Kitty's becoming accustomed to being married and the information the narrator gives us about Karenin's childhood.

I felt someone hit me on my stomach hard when I read the following extract:

"In his heart he blamed her, but he did not understand that she was preparing herself for a period of activity which was inevitably coming, when at one and the same time she would be her husband's wife [...]."

Also, there was similarities between my dad and Karenin's childhood. They were brought up by others than their own parents. Actually, my dad's parents were alive, but they didn't care about their children, especially my late grandfather. That led me feel sympathetic towards Karenin.

I dislike Countess Lydia Ivanovna. What she did to Anna was jealousy and self-centrism at its best.

Christine Good synopsis Jessica. I agree that Tolstoy reveals more about the true nature of the characters in this section.

At Kitty & Levin's wedding both of them stepped onto the mat. Kitty finds her footing in the care of Levin's brother. Levin, at first bothered that she has come relies heavily on Kitty (now referred to as Kate by both brothers). I think the shift in her name is her growing up and finding her place in a relationship.

It is interesting to me that as both Anna & Karenin lose social status that they react differently. Anna acts like a spoiled girl and Karenin becomes more caring and feeling.

Vronsky continues to grow weary of Anna. I think he misses his status more & more.

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