…little angels (all the time). Nor are they sinless. Boy have I learned this from experience. I will not regale you with example upon example (although I could), as this post is about Anna Karenina, not my children.
Remember that revulsion I talked about earlier? I find it interesting that Vronsky feels this same feeling whenever Anna’s son Serezha is around. (See Part 2, Chapter 22) Somehow the presence of the child jolted his conscience into high gear. Here’s another quote from Chapter 22: “This child, with his naive outlook on life was the compass which showed them their degree of divergence from what they knew, but would not recognize, as the right course.” Children as a moral compass? I don’t think I would want to use mine as my guide to right and wrong, but I do think Tolstoy captures something common to human nature. I think most people will modify their (bad) behavior in the presence of children, for example, not swearing or cutting off inappropriate conversations when children enter a room. I think most of us (myself included) want to model what we know is right, deep down. In a society concerned with moral relativity and tolerance for everything, I think that this behavior is very telling. Truly God has written his Law on our hearts, and it’s often children that make us realize it.
Wonder if Vronsky realizes this is the root of his feelings of revulsion?
P.S. How DO you pronounce “Serezha?”