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Anna Karenina
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Archived 2010 Group Reads > Anna Karenina 23: Part V - Chapters 12-22

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message 1: by LynnB (new) - added it

LynnB This week we'll be reading (in my book) the next 38 pages. Hope a few of you are still reading, even if there hasn't been much commenting.

message 2: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) | 140 comments Full disclosure, I could only keep my eyes open through chapter 20 last night, so I've got a few to go.

Despite the darkness of this section, with Levin's brother on his deathbed, I am finding it a rewarding section. Kitta is really coming into her own. In the last few sections, she's been really painted (mostly by Levin) as boring and simple and while comparatively that might be true, she really shows her colors with Levin's brother. By arranging his comfort and just diving right in she shows herself to be an excellent caretaker and in a lot of ways more brave than Levin.

It also paints Levin in a kind of bitter light. He's shown to be completely afraid of death (which I think might be Tolstoy somehow holding forth and the need for Christian religion since Levin is agnostic by all accounts), and it also shows Levin to be callous and a little cold. Both toward his brother and Kitty. And he totally underestimates her, and doesn't really acknowledge it but he comes close.

message 3: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) | 140 comments **SPOILERS***

So, here's another thing I'm curious about....Chapter 20 is the only chapter in the book that has a title (Death). Why? Any ideas? I actually can't fathom why. And why Levin's brother's death? Anna is going to die eventually, and she's the title character. Why not save the title for her death?

message 4: by LynnB (last edited Sep 09, 2010 09:01PM) (new) - added it

LynnB I hadn't noticed it was the only chapter with a title! I have to go back and think about this.

**Update - I have finally gotten to chapter 20, and in my version, it's entitled, "Chapter 20"!! No other title! Wonder what it is in the original?

message 5: by LynnB (new) - added it

LynnB Well, after the start of this chapter, I now think that the artist may be introduced simply to offset Vronsky's painting talent and the portrait of Anna. Those two subjects possibly have more going on later in the book.

Most of this section of part 5 is about Kitty, Levin and the dying of Levin's brother. Levin comes across as such a wimp in the sickroom. His brother is dying and all he can think about is propriety and fear of illness/death. Kitty just steps in and does what is needed. During this part of the story, Levin is telling us how superior he is in his thoughts and actions to Kitty, which makes me laugh. She has things together much better than he does!

A chapter and a half to go....

message 6: by LynnB (new) - added it

LynnB In chapter 21 Tolstoy explains how Alexy and Anna came to meet and later marry. In today's world, that story would easily explain how their current situation came to be. I'm surprised it wasn't explained earlier in the story.

message 7: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen (jeninseattle) | 140 comments Lynn what edition are you reading? It's so funny that mine has a title! Here I am thinking that it's some big significant thing, and maybe it's just my translation!

message 8: by LynnB (new) - added it

LynnB Jen wrote: "Lynn what edition are you reading? It's so funny that mine has a title! Here I am thinking that it's some big significant thing, and maybe it's just my translation!"

It's a 1978 translation by Constance Garnett and published by Bobbs-Merrill. I have no idea if it's a great translation or not, but it is translated so that it is easy to follow.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 456 comments This was one of my favorite sections, because you get to see Kitty not only moving from silly teenage girl into a woman, but also from a young, silly woman into a strong woman who can be depended upon in a crisis, even more than the men in the situation, which is often the case when faced with something like a slow death. There is an underlying strength and power that she is able to show in a gentle, feminine way, and take the situation under control. It's also a time she and Levin learn more about each other's character and grow closer together in a way that might never have come about otherwise. It's a deepening of relationship that only comes through adversity and pain.

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