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Anna Karenina
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Archived 2010 Group Reads > Anna Karenina 09: Part II - Chapters 15-20

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Karol Week 9 Discussion (May 16 - 22)
Part II, chapters 15 - 20


Karol To me, these chapters were a bit of a snooze, although they add some depth to the story. Not surprisingly Anna and Vronsky's affair has continued despite their early regrets. What I find interesting is society's attitude - there are the right kind of affairs and the wrong kind of affairs, apparently. And Vronsky and Anna seem to fall into the wrong kind . . .

Levin learns that Kitty is ill, but of course feels insulted in a way that she is pining for someone else. But actually, I think what has Kitty upset to the point of illness is that she realized she made a bad choice. She did have affection for Levin and she turned down his proposal of marriage in favor of a jerk who never took her seriously.


Karol I've been giving this some thought and here's something interesting about myself. I like to think of myself as compassionate and non-judgmental. But as I read this story I find myself lining up with the society women who are quick to want to look down on Anna. Whether she held herself up to be an icon of virtue or whether Society did that to her, there she was - a woman that so many had admired. To be honest, I do seem to be more quick to judge people who are somehow elevated in esteem when they fail, than others whom I run into in day-to-day life.

Stories like those of John Edwards and Tiger Woods happen (sadly enough) everywhere. But when they happen to such icons, most of the world really does seem to stand in judgment.

I guess that shows the strength of Tolstoy's writing - he depicted Anna in the beginning as a person who was somehow above all the things that "regular folk" deal with. I thought of her as "human but sublime". When she has this ongoing affair with Vronsky, it really does bring out some emotion . . .


message 4: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) I'm almost caught up, will post my comments later in the week!

Kay, you have great insights, especially into yourself and the way Tolstoy wrote Anna (the character)!


message 5: by LynnB (new) - added it

LynnB Kay wrote: "To me, these chapters were a bit of a snooze, although they add some depth to the story. Not surprisingly Anna and Vronsky's affair has continued despite their early regrets. What I find interest..."

I agree with you that these chapters weren't exciting, but I did like finding out more about the life of the characters/background on Levin and Vronsky. Also, I am finding that Tolstoy is very enjoyable to read regarding the setting of the story...he is very descriptive and makes is easy to "see".

These chapters remind us that Levin wanted Kitty, Kitty turned down Levin for Vronsky, and Vronsky now wants Anna. I hadn't thought of Kitty's illness as being caused by her realization that she had made a bad choice, but I think you may be right on that.


message 6: by LynnB (last edited May 22, 2010 07:21AM) (new) - added it

LynnB Kay wrote: "...What I find interesting is society's attitude - there are the right kind of affairs and the wrong kind of affairs, apparently. And Vronsky and Anna seem to fall into the wrong kind . . ."

It seems to be wrong if you are female and okay if you are male. Just the attitude of the times, I know, but still....


Karol LynnB, I agree about the double standard. But it was interesting that even Vronsky's family thought of this affair as a bad thing, while a different kind of affair would have been acceptable.


message 8: by LynnB (new) - added it

LynnB I don't even know that she cared about Vronsky that much, it was just that her husband was not at all a caring man (or at least could not show that he cared at all) and Vronsky was there.


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