Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

1560 Words7 Pages
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is a novel about love and marriage among the Russian aristocracy in the 1870s. Anna is young, beautiful woman married to a powerful government minister, Karenin. She falls in love with the elegant Count Vronsky and after becoming pregnant by him, leaves her husband Karenin and her son Seryozha to live with her lover. Despite the intervention of friends such as her brother Oblonsky, an adulterer himself, she is unable to obtain a divorce, and lives isolated from the society that once glorified her. As a man, Vronsky enjoys relative social freedom, which causes Anna to have increasingly intense fits of jealousy. Because of her constant suspicion, she thinks that Vronsky’s love for her is dwindling. Their story is ended by an exciting finale that moves the reader. Interwoven with the story of Anna, is the tale of Levin, a thoughtful, passionate young man who seeks to marry the Princess Catherine Shcherbatskaya, known as Kitty. Kitty rejects his first proposal because she believes that Vronsky, who flirted with her before he met Anna, intends to marry her. Levin is devastated and withdraws to his country estate and works on a book about agriculture. But the couple reunites through another appearance of Oblonsky, Kitty’s brother in law, and they discover that they are deeply in love. Kitty joyfully accepts Levin’s second proposal. Once married, they live happily in the country, host their families and guests during the summers, and have a son. Levin's philosophical doubt and religious skepticism trouble him despite his domestic happiness, but, after a spiritual enlightenment, he finally recognizes that the capacity for goodness is innate. He devotes himself to living for his loved ones, and to giving his life meaning by advancing the will of God. Anna Karenina is a timeless classic and has been acclaimed by many literary critics as the best or one of the best novels of all time. One critic tells us that “the character development throughout is what makes this novel a classic,” and goes on to say, “This is one of the best books I have ever read.” The character development is a very intriguing part of the story and keeps the reader turning the page to see what each person goes through next. There are so many characters that a reader might lose track if they are not paying close enough attention, but each one has their own captivating story to tell.
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