Anna Karenina by Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy Essay

Anna Karenina by Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy Essay

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One of literature’s most beloved works is Anna Karenina, written by the famous Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy in 1877. Leo Tolstoy was a Russian author who wrote many epic-length novels as well as short stories in the genre of realistic fiction. As a writer, Tolstoy tends to focus on the major and minor details of everyday Russian events, and in the space of a single page can enlighten the reader of a character’s entire past and lifestyle. He is a master of close-ups: short segments in a novel that describe something in great detail. Through analyzing two of Tolstoy’s close-ups from Anna Karenina, one can decipher much more information from a character’s background than what is read on the surface of the novel.
While observing Anna and Count Vronsky dance together at the ball, Kitty can’t help but become envious and saddened immediately upon seeing the excitement and happiness portrayed on Vronsky’s and Anna’s faces. She is heartbroken now, and many thoughts are swimming through her mind while she watches them dance around the large, illuminated ballroom. Kitty’s disposition in the novel ranges from sweet-natured to envious throughout. She has an extremely attachable personality, and is damaged easily when somebody leaves her behind.
Furthermore, Anna and Vronsky seem to be exhilarated about dancing with each other, as seen upon their facial expressions. As Anna steps back and forth lightly, a “joyous light flashed into her eyes, and the smile of happiness curved her red lips” (Tolstoy 96). Instead of focusing the passage only on Kitty’s behavior toward Anna and Vronsky, Tolstoy implements the poor, harassed man whom Kitty shuns while paying more attention to her friends’ happiness rather than to the person she is dancing with...


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...s during which Tolstoy describes her death as a candle, “and the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, lighted up for her all that had been in darkness, flickered, began to grow dim, and was quenched forever” (Tolstoy 918). It is a powerful way to represent the life in Anna, and gives a prominent image of how quickly one’s life can be taken away from them. Just like a candle’s flame, Anna instantly has disappeared forever.
Tolstoy’s description of the two close-ups brings out the essence to his style of writing. It is short, yet it brings out the detail of each character’s story and each event taking place. Through analyzing two close-ups from Anna Karenina, one can decipher much more information from a character’s background than what is read on the surface of the novel.

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