Trading Salvation for Personal Gratification in Anna Karenina Essay

Trading Salvation for Personal Gratification in Anna Karenina Essay

Length: 1289 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Trading Salvation for Personal Gratification in Anna Karenina


The epigraph of Anna Karenina: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," implies that judgment is a theological entitlement  (Romans, 12:19).  Tolstoy uses both social and moral issues to illustrate his characters' attitudes towards religion.  For Oblonsky, Vronsky, and Karenin, religious values are secondary.  Their lives are devoted to establishing a social position and monetary gain.  Levin finds salvation and happiness because they learn to live for something beyond themselves and devote their lives to spreading the goodness of the Lord.  Like Levin, Anna responds to her emotional instincts, but she is hindered by society's judgment.  Anna distances herself from salvation by seeking only personal gratification in her love affair.

            Oblonsky values his indulgent social life and his occupation above all else.  He lies in direct contrast to Levin, who focuses not on the relentless pursuit of pleasure, but takes joy in his work and devotes himself to his loved ones. Stiva finds meaning in life only from his personal interactions, although he often ignores commitments to his wife and children.  Religion is just another social institution, and he has no relationship with God: "Oblonsky could not bear standing through even a short church service without his feet hurting, and could not understand the point of all those terrible, highfalutin words about the other world when it would be very gay to live in this one too"  (7). 

Likewise, Vronsky is totally dedicated to his military career and his status as a high society player.  He pursues Kitty with no intention of marrying her; he deserts her the moment he lays eyes on Anna.  Vronsky seems ...


... middle of paper ...


...piness with the man she loves.  She refuses to get a divorce because she does not want to compromise her son's future.

Her character deteriorates when her only goal in life is to keep Vronsky in love with her.  Levin is saved when he learns to live for something beyond himself; Anna moves away from God when she focuses only on keeping the interest of her lover.  She tells Dolly that she has no plans for more children because she fears that her pregnancy will make Vronsky disenchanted with her.  Anna's self-assertion leads her to abandon "faith in God, in goodness as the sole purpose of mankind" and death is the only way for her to escape the world that she sees as full of hate  (849).  Her last words are, "Lord, forgive me for everything!"  (816).     

Works Cited:

Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina, trans. Constance Garnett (New York: The Modern Library, 1993).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Characters of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina Essay

- The Characters of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina       By examining the character list, one immediately notices the value Tolstoy places on character.  With one hundred and forty named characters and several other unnamed characters,  Tolstoy places his central focus in Anna Karenina on the characters. He uses their actions and behavior to develop the plot and exemplify the major themes of the novel.  Tolstoy wishes to examine life as it really is.  Tolstoy gives us a lifelike representation in Anna Karenina by creating  characters, both major and minor, that contribute to the sense of realism....   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Essays]

Strong Essays
1685 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

- Tolstoy's Anna Karenina By examining the character list, one immediately notices the value Tolstoy places on character. With one hundred and forty named characters and several other unnamed characters, Tolstoy places his central focus in Anna Karenina on the characters. He uses their actions and behavior to develop the plot and exemplify the major themes of the novel. In contrast to Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Tolstoy wishes to examine life as it really is. Both novels have relationships and adultery as a central theme....   [tags: Anna Karenina Tolstoy]

Free Essays
1653 words (4.7 pages)

Judgment in Anna Karenina Essay

- The question of judgment and sympathies in Anna Karenina is one that seems to become more complicated each time I read the novel. The basic problem with locating the voice of judgment is that throughout the novel, there are places where we feel less than comfortable with the seemingly straightforward, at times even didactic presentation of Anna and Vronsky's fall into sin alongside Levin's constant moral struggle. As Anna's story unfolds in its episodic manner within the context of the rest of the novel, Tolstoy seems to be trying to make the fact of her guilt more and more clear to us; at the same time though, we have more and more difficulty in tracing out the specific locus of th...   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Essays]

Strong Essays
1793 words (5.1 pages)

Regaining Control in Anna Karenina Essay

- Regaining Control in Anna Karenina Anna Karenina features significant clusters of scenes, all of which describe notable moments in the development of the novel's major figures. One of the most important clusters is when Anna travels to see Vronsky. On her way her perceptions change; she throws her "searchlight" upon herself. Arriving at the next station she sees the rails and knows what must be done. Anna has had control over her own life taken away from her, due to the societal limitations on her choices as a woman....   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Essays]

Strong Essays
2239 words (6.4 pages)

Foreshadowing in Anna Karenina Essay

- Foreshadowing in Anna Karenina Throughout life there are situations which arise that seem to have been hinted earlier. You might not have noticed the hint when it first appeared, but suddenly at one point it finally dawns on you. The same goes for the literary aspect of foreshadowing. The novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy has many instances where the situations are similar to the one described above. The following paragraphs will present the foreshadowing that is included in this novel....   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Essays]

Free Essays
478 words (1.4 pages)

Themes of Life and Death in Anna Karenina Essay

- Themes of Life and Death in Anna Karenina The novel, Anna Karenina, parallels its heroine's, Anna Karenina, moral and social conflicts with Constantin Levin's internal struggle to find the meaning of life. There are many other underlying themes which links the novel as a whole, yet many critics at the time only looked upon its critical view of Russian life. Henry James called Tolstoy's novels as "loose and baggy monsters' of stylessness, but Tolstoy stated of Anna Karenina ".....I am very proud of its architecture--its vaults are joined so that one cannot even notice where the keystone is." That is absolutely correct, because within Anna Karenina, there exists many themes that are all lin...   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Essays]

Strong Essays
1344 words (3.8 pages)

Essay about Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

- 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....   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Russian Literature]

Free Essays
1560 words (4.5 pages)

Less Could be More in Anna Karenina Essay

- Less Could be More in Anna Karenina Anna Karenina was well-written, with a good plot, and valuable themes. But it fell short in each of these categories, because Tolstoy simply tried to do too much. The language was beautiful but, at times, far too descriptive. The plot was also well written, but tedious and hard to follow in many parts of the book. And the Themes were great and important, but they were many, and at times, not appropriate for this book. The book was great, but it could have said much more, and been better, if Tolstoy had said a little less....   [tags: Tolstoy Anna Karenina Essays]

Free Essays
827 words (2.4 pages)

Tolstoy's Anna Karenina Essay

- Tolstoy's Anna Karenina The world of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is a world ruled by chance. From the very opening chapters, where a watchman is accidentally run over by a train at Moscow's Petersburg station, to the final, climactic scenes of arbitrary destruction when Levin searches for Kitty in a forest beset by lightning, characters are brought together and forced into action against their will by coincidence and, sometimes, misfortune. That Anna and Vronsky ever meet and begin the fateful affair that becomes the centerpiece of the novel is itself a consequence of a long chain of unrelated events: culminating Anna's sharing a berth with Vronsky's mother on her way to reconcile D...   [tags: Tolstoy's Anna Karenina]

Strong Essays
3028 words (8.7 pages)

Simulation And Trading Essay

- Simulation and Trading Traders forecast future prices using some combinations of fundamentals, indicators, patterns, and behavior from the past. They hope that recent history will forecast the future helping them to make some profit. The problem, however, is that nothing that has happened in the past is any guarantee for the favorable results in the future. Basically, profitability of each trade has elements of some randomness and uncertainty. Here is the problem that many people are not equipped with enough knowledge and tools to manage uncertainty, thus mastering the psychology of trading....   [tags: Trading Investment]

Free Essays
1703 words (4.9 pages)