15 Nov

No, this has nothing to do with a certain Disney movie that my girls are big fans of.

I’m thinking instead of Levin’s spiritual quest in this novel.   It plays quite a large role, doesn’t it?   Even after the  whiplash we receive after reading Part VII, we still have the whole of Part VIII to read through, most of which is devoted to Levin and the results of his search for truth and for God.

One thing I noticed is that the defining moments of his quest in the novel seem to revolve around his family.  Family issues force him to confront his questions.   The two are completely tangled.   Go all the way back to Levin’s marriage.  Before this, we know that Levin avoids church and religion, but getting married forces him to meet with the good priest, and brings those questions back to the “front” of his mind.   The priest quietly reminds him that someday he may have children and will need to have an answer to their questions regarding eternal truths.  When Levin’s brother dies, he realizes that he is horrified with the thought of Death, yet his wife does not seem to be.   Kitty awakens in him a desire to explore this mystery.   Then we have the wonderfully real, touching and amusing chapters where Levin narrates the progression of Kitty’s labor and delivery of a healthy child.   He involuntarily cries out to God for help when things seem at their worst, then wonders why he has this reaction if he doesn’t really believe in a God.   His newborn son growing and changing does, in fact, just  as the priest suggested, force him to confront these same questions.

Or, perhaps it’s not really family, but love that leads Levin to the search:  love for Kitty, love for his brother, and love for his son.   Aren’t our loving relationships on earth just imperfect pictures of God’s love for us and His desire to be Our Father and for us to be His true children?   I like it – love is the force that points Levin toward Meaning and True Love.


Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Anna Karenina


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2 responses to “Tangled

  1. Christina Joy

    November 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I think this is genius.

    Also, at the end it made me sing ” . . .and that’s my new philosophy!”

  2. Christine

    November 16, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Nicely done, J. I did enjoy how Levin prayed continually during Kitty’s labor. I also thought it was interesting how Tolstoy didn’t have Kitty nagging Levin to faith. Her quiet example was enough.


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