Two Women

27 Sep

Anna Karenina Part I chapter 18

Let’s do a little character comparison, shall we?

In chapter eighteen we meet two women.

First there is a beautiful lady.  She has a “charming face”, “gray eyes, that looked dark from the thick lashes”, and a “faint smile that curved her red lips.”

Vronsky notices this all in passing.  Then we meet the next woman.  She is a “dried-up old lady with black eyes and ringlets“.  She smiles “slightly with her thin lips.”

The first woman is Anna Karenina.  The second is Vronsky’s mother, Countess Vronskaya.

I found it interesting that both women have been or will be unfaithful to their spouses.  In chapter sixteen we learned that the Countess had “during her married life, and still more afterwards, many love affairs notorious in the whole fashionable world.”

What’s Tolstoy trying to tell us?
Beauty and youth are fleeting?
The Countess’s ungraceful aging is the result of her infidelity?
Is this foreshadowing for Anna?

What do you think?


Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Anna Karenina


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11 responses to “Two Women

  1. Christina Joy

    September 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    All I know is that she didn’t heed Dostoevsky’s beauty advice.

  2. Jeannette

    September 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I’d better start writing posts, because the last three have all been on my idea list! 🙂

    • Christina Joy

      September 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      I’m having a similar issue. Must be that whole great minds thing at work.

  3. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    September 28, 2012 at 9:13 am

    My first thought was, “Like mother, like son”. Vronsky’s bitterness toward his mother may foreshadow his walking in her footsteps. And yes, I also see the comparison between the two women. Good insight Christine.

    Jeannette, since you mentioned it (not to put any pressure, I know how life can be), I have been missing your posts! 🙂

    • Christine

      October 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      Oooo good insight. Yes, I can see Vronsky become bitter towards Anna (even though he’s also a guilty party).

  4. Jeannette

    September 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Awww….thanks, Adriana! I have about 100 ideas, but between computer/internet problems and trying to organize my life, this has been falling by the wayside. 😦

  5. Jerry

    October 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I have been watching Mad Men lately. Vronsky might actually end up worse than Donald Draper, but I’m realitvely sure the writers of Mad Men read this book. Haven’t I mentioned I don’t like Vronsky. Let’s talk about Levin instead. If it weren’t for the chapters about Levin, I might have thrown my Kindle out the window.


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