Children Are NOT…

17 Oct

…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?”


Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Anna Karenina


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4 responses to “Children Are NOT…

  1. jeanlp

    October 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I think you’re quite right. It’s not that children themselves are particularly perfect–but they are innocent. They don’t quite know right and wrong yet and we know that we should be showing them what’s right, and that modeling wrong for them will hurt them.

    Serezha would be Se-rezh-a, with the zh pronounced as a soft buzzing J. It looks like Se-rez-ha to English eyes! I’m not sure whether the emphases should be on the first or second syllable, but I’m inclined to say the first.

  2. Christina Joy

    October 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Very interesting, I didn’t notice the “compass” part when I read it, I assumed that the son was a burr in Vronsky’s side mostly because he made it impossible to deny the existence of Karenin. The boy’s very presence would be like having the man whom he was betraying also in the room, and couldn’t help but to remind him of his sin.

    Therefore, I also assumed that Karenin’s discomfort with his son was based on the same criteria. When he sees Serezha, he sees Anna. He is reminded that the bond between them has been violated.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s too much conjecture on my part, and I’m not sticking closely enough to the text.

  3. Jeannette

    October 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Thank you, Jean! I just couldn’t even pronounce this in my head, so now I’m going to practice it at least 10 times.

    Christina, that is a valid point as well. We never like things that remind us of betrayal. Perhaps it’s a little of both.

    • Christine

      October 18, 2012 at 6:49 am

      To complicate things… my version spells the child’s name Seryozha


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