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Part IV in less than 400 words

06 Nov

Let’s quickly hit the highlights from Anna Karenina Part IV.

Vronksy runs into Alexey in the Karenin home.  (Awkward!)

Already Anna’s demonstrating how jealous she can be.

She’s having troubling dreams that she will die in childbirth.

Alexey gets advice from a lawyer.

Levin decides to distract himself from thoughts of death with amusements in Moscow.

French and English are spoken.

Oblonsky throws a party where…

There are discussions of Classical vs Scientific Education and discussions of the role of women in society.
Dolly begs Alexey not to divorce Anna.
Levin and Kitty use chalk to talk.

The next day Levin and Kitty kiss!

The newly engaged have a heart-to-heart.  Tears are shed.

Anna’s dying. (maybe, maybe not)

Vronsky shoots himself to avoid humiliation (but only succeeds in wounding himself.  That’s not humiliating at all.)

Alexey forgives Anna when he thinks she’s dying, and he is surprisingly fond of his wife’s ( and her lover’s) baby.

Oblonsky tries to talk Alexey into a divorce.

Vronsky’s sister-in-law cares for him after his injury.

Vronsky and Anna travel abroad without the divorce.

My questions
1. In Part IV, chapter 16, Levin reveals two things to his future bride: first that he’s not a believer and second that he has not lived a chaste life .  The unbelief does not bother Kitty but the lack of abstinence does.  Anyone else find this a little strange?

2. In Part IV, chapter 23, Vronsky’s talking with his sister-in-law Varya.  I so enjoyed their conversation.

“I’m not delirious.  Please manage that there may be no talk of my having shot
myself on purpose.”
“No one does say so.  Only I hope you won’t shoot yourself by accident any more, ”
she said, with a questioning smile.

“Hope you won’t shoot yourself by accident any more”?!  What a fantastic line!  If we ever put on Anna Karenina as a play, can I please be Varya just so I can say that sentence?

More questions:
2a.  How surprised were you when Vronsky’s suicide attempt was a miserable failure?
2b. Like me, were you sure that Anna had to pull-through since there was still half of the novel left?
2c. So since Tolstoy couldn’t kill off two of his main characters half-way through his novel, what was his purpose with Anna’s illness and Vronsky’s unsuccessful suicide?

PS.  For a lovely summary of Part IV, visit Ruth at An Experiment with the Well-Educated Mind.

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3 Comments

Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Anna Karenina

 

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3 responses to “Part IV in less than 400 words

  1. Gina Monge

    November 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Excellent summary! The question that made me think the most was 2c–
    When Vronsky tried to kill himself, it just seemed like he didn’t really want to be successful…and I wouldn’t be surprised if Anna’s illness was partially brought on by the emotional turmoil in her life. It seems like in both Vronsky and Anna’s cases, they were trying to change things (whether consciously or not), and were not successful…maybe trying to add more drama? It seems to me that because Tolstoy couldn’t kill off two of his main characters, it’s also an indication that their relationship isn’t going to come off successfully either.

     
  2. Ruth Lopez

    November 6, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Maybe Kitty’s shock about his prior behavior reflects the time period. Today, it seems commonplace; although I must say I was SHOCKED when Levin revealed his lack of chastity. I was really disappointed. : ( Maybe I’m an old fashioned fuddy duddy!

    As for Anna’s illness, I was thinking it was necessary for the change that takes place with her husband, Alexey. It was an opportunity for him to forgive Anna and Vronsky since Dolly talked to him about forgiveness.

    Hey, thanks for the plug!

     

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