Reading 1001 discussion

11 views
Archives > 9. Discuss Anna's affair

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kristel (last edited Jul 01, 2016 05:54PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
What keeps Dolly from having an affair like Anna's, even though she imagines one "parallel to it, an almost identical love affair of her own" (p. 609)?

While explaining her affair to Dolly, Anna says, "I simply want to live; to cause no evil to anyone but myself" (p. 616). Does the novel present these two objectives as compatible or incompatible?

Why, as she later admits to herself, did Anna want Levin to fall in love with her when she met him?


message 2: by John (new)

John Seymour I'll tackle the middle question - In a sense no, they aren't compatible because evil consists mostly in what you do to others. But to live, and not to cause evil to others, these Tolstoy sees as compatible, though perhaps rare. Levin and Kitty (at least after she is rescued from society by Vronsky's betrayal) seem to depict this in their lives, lives lived in learning not to cause hurt, in living first to meet one's duties.


message 3: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
For Kitty, the thought never entered her mind to have an affair. She was happy with marriage and children and didn't see herself as "not living" life. Dolly did covet wasn't hers. Anna coveted what wasn't hers. Anna's choices and every persons choices will always have consequences beyond "ourselves".


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
I think Dolly loved her husband whereas Anna did not. Dolly also cared more about appearances and living up to societal norms whereas Anna did not seem to care.

There are many things that Anna did that I disliked or had problems with yet at the same time Anna was an intelligent and strong woman whose traits made it impossible to live happily at that specific time. She was in a cold and emotionless marriage and fell in love passionately with another man. I felt great sympathy for her despite disliking many of her actions.


message 5: by John (new)

John Seymour Jen wrote: "I think Dolly loved her husband whereas Anna did not. Dolly also cared more about appearances and living up to societal norms whereas Anna did not seem to care.

There are many things that Anna did..."


Was it always cold and emotionless or did it become that way after Anna met Vronsky? I agree she was intelligent and strong in some respects, but she was foolish and weak in others that led to her collapse.


message 6: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
It was my impression that she was completely content with her marriage until she met Vronsky. I agree that Anna was vulnerable to falling for another man though because her husband was doing nothing to meet his wife's needs in the marriage. She needed a lively life and he was more into the quiet style.


message 7: by Becky Lynn (new)

Becky Lynn Jen wrote: "I think Dolly loved her husband whereas Anna did not. Dolly also cared more about appearances and living up to societal norms whereas Anna did not seem to care.

There are many things that Anna did..."


I agree, Dolly loved her husband. I think Anna respected her husband and they had a kind of friendship (right word?), but she definitely did not love him.


message 8: by Becky Lynn (new)

Becky Lynn I think Anna wanted Levin to fall in love with her because she was insecure. She felt Vronsky was turning cold to her and she needed to feel like she was still attractive.


message 9: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1481 comments Dolly is consumed by her family life - her children and her wayward husband - so that she would scarcely have the energy for a love affair. This does not stop her imagining what it would be like to have a grand passion.
Anna wants to live life to the full but without hurting others. Tolstoy shows us the unintended consequences of the inability to resist temptation and indulge in a grand passion.
I agree with Becky. Anna was a beautiful woman, but as her relationship with Vronsky deteriorated she needed the reassurance that she was still attractive and so flirted with Levin.
I didn't think, unlike Kristel, that Anna's marriage was a happy one. Karenin was intent on his career. His reaction to learning about Anna's affair was typical of the man. He acted reasonably because he was more concerned about public opinion than his realtionship with Anna. It was this lack of passion that was at the root of Anna's unhappiness with him.


message 10: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
Pip wrote: "Dolly is consumed by her family life - her children and her wayward husband - so that she would scarcely have the energy for a love affair. This does not stop her imagining what it would be like to..."
I guess I didn't think she was necessarily happy but she presented as a person who was naturally lighthearted and therefore I used the word content not happy. But that would be an error as she really wasn't content. She wanted what was probably mostly an illusion--the grand passion.


message 11: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1481 comments Well, a grand passion is wonderful while it lasts! The consequences are often catastrophic, but it is anything but illusionary.


message 12: by John (new)

John Seymour Pip wrote: "Well, a grand passion is wonderful while it lasts! The consequences are often catastrophic, but it is anything but illusionary."

Or is it catastrophic when based on illusion?


message 13: by Book (new)

Book Wormy | 2078 comments Mod
Dolly daydreams about an affair because she wants to prove she is attractive and I think she would like to make Stiva jealous and show him what he has been missing.

Anna and Karenin are not in love and the attraction of Vronsky is too much for her to ignore.

Anna flirts with Levin because she wants all men to love her and she believes she has power over all men because of her beauty.


back to top