Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina
Go ahead. Google the titles together.
I’m not the only one thinking about how the two novels compare. There are papers, essays, articles, and message boards that consider the similarities and differences of these two classics.
What’s the tie? Adultery. Two women sadly, oh, so wrongly, thought that an extramarital affair would bring them happiness.
We could talk about the main characters: Emma and Anna.
We could talk about the husbands: Charles and Alexey.
We could talk about the lovers: Leon, Rodolphe, and Alexey.
We could talk about the children: Berthe, Seryozha, and Anna.
We could talk about social class: lower-middle class and upper class.
We could talk about the authors: Flaubert and Tolstoy.
The list could, and does, go on and on.
I’m sure literary experts have dissected the two books from cover to cover.
What I want to know is “Why am I enjoying reading Anna Karenina?”
I hated Madame Bovary. I gritted my teeth and plowed through the book. Sure, at times Flaubert’s carefully crafted prose was a pleasure to read and ponder. He painted delightful word pictures, but there were many days when I was thankful for the self-imposed reading time my children’s swim lessons gave me: time when I had no choice but to sit on a bleacher and listen to splashing while forcing myself through Emma Bovary’s shallow, self-centered, destructive tale.
I like reading Anna Karenina. Why? Anna’s looking for happiness where there can be none. Just like Emma Bovary! I have to say that I’m feeling a little guilty for my enjoyment of this title after feeling such dislike for Madame Bovary. I find myself caring for Anna when while reading about Emma, I just wanted the book to end.
Help me, literary friends. I have classic book guilt. Here are two books about adultery and I like one!
Anyone else enjoying Anna K after hating Emma B?