You guys! I have not forgotten about the petulant Anna K or her merry family EVEN THOUGH I’m a week and two days late for TWO updates. I blame vacay brain. I finished my needed sections (3&4) prior to bounding toward the beach but we stayed two days later and well - there went the my second update. THEN not being privy to Anna’s world for a week, it was quite troublesome finding the momentum to finish sections 5 & 6. But alas, I prevailed. Aaand, there’s been a turn of events. There’s a large part of me that wishes I could transport myself into Anna K and throttle the her bourgeois neck. I cannot believe how quickly my emotions could turn topsy turvy and must find that article that raved about her as a feminist character. I need to see their points of view because right now, even though she has stuck to her guns and followed her heart, she is wretched.
As always with all readalongs: SPOILER ALERT
In a nutshell - Anna believes that Vronsky is losing interest in her already; Karenin tells her that he will ignore the relationship she has with Vronsky providing she manages to keep up the appearance of propriety. In fact, he actually tells her that she doesn’t have to take part in any wifely duties. Poor Dolly’s life is miserable and she realizes that when she isn’t too thrilled with her children. Levin is confronted by death as his brother’s illness grows worse and he is reacquainted with him. And Kitty goes abroad, meets this amazing girl, helps the sick, and finds inner strength. In fact, even though Kitty is surrounded by death, her experience is the only positive one in this section.
Check out Levin’s headspace:
“Death, the inevitable end of everything, confronted him for the first time with irresistble force. And this particular death, there in his beloved brother, who half-asleep kept groaning and out of habit calling indiscriminately first on God then on the devil, was not at all so far away as it had used to seem to him. It was in himself too - he felt it. If not today, then tomorrow; if not tomorrow, then in thirty years - wasn’t it all the same? As to just what this inevitable death was, not only did he not know, not only had he never even thought about it,but he could not and dared not thing about it.” (373)
Anna, Karenin, and Vronsky oh my!
First, childbirth must have been some seriously scary stuff back in the day. And maybe because I have only just finished Wuthering Heights but geez, Dolly must be as strong as a horse having birthed six healthy kids. Also, Anna, Karenin, and Vronsky could easily be characters in a present day soap opera. First, Karenin is all I’m going to divorce her and put all blame on her, damn her character and then I forgive you because you’re on your death bed and after all I did once love you while a fidgeting Vronsky gets kicked to the curb and in is despair of not being able to live without Anna decides to shoot himself which definitely gets HER attention. And then, yay because Karenin says I’ll get a divorce, just be happy and instead of Anna being overjoyed, THAT irritates her and she tells Vronsky she can’t because it just makes her look like a wretched beyotch.
Oh and poor Dolly did she get a raw deal in that hubs of hers or what? Yeah, my opinion of him has completely changed. I mean, sure, he’s still staying true to himself but then quite doing the deed with your wife because you can’t afford all of those rugrats to begin with. Your finances are to hell and back.
Redeeming aspect of Section Four? Kitty and Levin of course. (Especially since there wasn’t any farm talk. Yay.)
“There,” he said, and wrote down the initial letters: w, y, g, m, t, a, I, I, n, p, d, y, m, I, w, n, b, p, o, t, I, w, p, t these letters stood for, “When you gave me the answer, ‘It is not possible’, did you mean it would never be possible, or that it wasn’t possible then?”
Tell me that the proposal between Kitty and Levin was not one of the sweetest things in the history of literature? I seriously had an inner swoon moment and wished that I could just run up to Tolstoy and give him a great big hug because OF COURSE he’s got to be quite the romantic in order to write something so sweet. And yay, Kitty and Levin are getting married!
Levin is all blissful and tralalalalala life is good cuz I’m gonna be m-a-r-r-i-e-d soon, happy dance and all. He doesn’t care about any of the details as along as he knows that Kitty loves him. And yeah, there’s a moment of does she really(?) at the alter but they get past that famously. And then we get something from Tolstoy that is amazing…there’s this moment between Levin and Kitty where they have to realize that they are married and that things ARE going to be different. Levin is taken aback realizing that what he perceived is different from what exists, but then acknowledges it’s only different not bad. Levin and Kitty have the most normal relationship and it only enhances the dysfunction that is A/K/V.
So, Karenin is depressed. I mean, why shouldn’t he be? His wife is hightailing it around the countries with another man AND he lost out on a great big promotion. So he has his son, who he has a terrible time connecting with because the tutor doesn’t think that he’s all that bright. Thankfully, Lydia, this very Christian woman comes along and sorta slaps him awake. Sure, she praises god left and right but secretly she’s in love with him. Could Karenin begin an affair of his own? Doubtful, Lydia seems to pure and Christian, but I’m sure it crossed his mind once or twice.
Also, I’m probably going to hell for this…but wasn’t Levin’s brother’s death THE LONGEST IN THE HISTORY OF DEATHS? Holy geez louise. I love that Levin and the streetwalker girlfriend were even exasperated at how long it was taking. That’s when you KNOW it’s bad. But the death definitely brought Levin and Kitty closer. It’s about time that Levin trusted Kitty to take charge. It’s like he’s got it into her head that she’s this fragile thing that he needs to protect, and although I get wanting to take care of someone you love, give the girl a chance first.
Finally, SERIOUSLY…what is up with Anna and her wretched self? I cannot believe that she just abandoned her son like that and then got all bent out of shape when Lydia and Karenin decided it was probably not in the son’s best interest to see her. She completely gets what she deserves when the snotty society ladyfolk want to bash her.
Oh what do you know…Annna is convinced that Levin must not truly love her anymore. I know. It’s a shocking story line. Oh,and she can’t seem to connect with her daughter, Annie. Obvs she won’t be getting the mom of the year award. These last two sections only reiterate how selfish Anna is as a person and although I want to give her accolades for staying true to her heart and following Vronsky, and I get that she’s nervous about the different standards that exist between the men and women in society (i.e. Vronsky is having no trouble entertaining or promoting his business while Anna is still quite shunned) her relationships with her children make her despicable. (I tried to come up with many excuses, oh maybe with Annie it’s like postpartum depression but that surely doesn’t excuse how quickly she can forget about her son, right? Yes, yes, I argue with myself, but it shows she loves her son and she realized she had to make a choice between her son and Vronsky and we can’t fault her for that, right? I suppose. I suppose I could overlook THAT if she just loved her damn girl. It’s the fact that she’s an awful mother to BOTH of the children that make her so darn wretched. - If you haven’t noticed this ramble is brought to you by the word wretched!)
But, once again we have some redemption in love lines through Kitty and Levin. Kitty’s about to become a mom! Yay. And so at her house she has it filled with Dolly and all of her gazillion kids, her mom, her friend from helping the sick, Levin’s OTHER brother, and a couple of other people to spruce it up. Seriously. The Kitty & Levin parts are a reprieve of the trainwreck that is named Anna.
Also, Dolly kicked some major arse. And it was unexpected, wasn’t it? Because in many ways Dolly is weak but she found some cajones somewhere and decided to go out and visit Anna even though she’s shunned from society. Go Dolly. Especially because she keeps reminding US that we are not here to judge Anna. (I’m judging though Dolly, man am I judging!) Not surprisingly, Anna doesn’t want to get a divorce and wants to pretend that there’s no ugliness in what’s going on even though poor Vronsky wants to marry her.
Thank god she figured out a way to not have any more kids though.
On another note entirely, I am never going to fall this far behind on a readalong. Writing this up and figuring out the previous sections has given me a head-woozy-ache. I feel the need to pay homage to the Russians and do a couple of vodka shots.