Anna Karenina RAL - Final Thoughts


Wowzers.  Anna Karenina ran me through the ringer.  Seriously.  There are not many books where I can feel AWFUL for a character whilst still DESPISING her.  And in case you were wondering, I'm looking right at you Anna.

Also, what's up with these last two sections being so easy peasy?  Like, 100 pages each? Where was that when I was trudging through Section 5?

But, let's just talk about the obvious here (and if you're dense, I'm dropping spoilers like their hawt).  Anna and her jump on the train tracks?  *cringe* What a way to go.  I mean, yeah, Tolstoy does tell us that her face is unharmed, but still...a mangled wreck of a death if there ever was one.  

The events leading up to her death?  Brilliant.  Truly.  I loved how her downward spiral picked up speed and her thoughts became even more irrational.  Because really that's what happened.  I considered her jealousy and lashing out to Vronsky and how in my previous post it just plain ANNOYED me.   But I think it annoyed me so much because I had to deal with icky feelings of whether or not I would have reacted the same way.  I mean, think about it.  Here you are risking your reputation - which, is pretty much all women had back then - for true love.  And you take that leap, but then six months later, when you try to go back into society you're pegged with a big implied A (oh okay, so I'm mixing literature here...but you get it right?) And now you're life exist in a house that you never leave and you never interact with anyone all the while your lover is off gallivanting around, drinking and gambling, making business deals, and over all not changed.  I UNDERSTAND why she would get all bent out of shape.  

I did some brief research on Tolstoy and wrote about it here.  But I also found out some tidbits about the novel Anna Karenina as well. 

Initially Anna was written to be VERY unattractive: "She is unattractive, with a narrow, low forehead, short, turned-up nose - rather large, if it were any bigger, she would be deformed...But, in spite of her homely face, there was something in the kindly smile of hers that made her likable."

And Karenin?  He was created to be a very sympathetic and emotionally available (how different is that?).  In fact, when he finds out about Anna and Vronsky he evidently cries to his sister: "I feel like sobbing, I want sympathy, I want to be told what to do."

The whole point was that Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina because he was against the free-thinkers and wanted old-fashioned ideals to remain (i.e. the sanctity of marriage) By making Karenin and Vronsky such appealing characters, it only caused Anna's character to look more witch-like.  Except, I guess, somewhere along the lines he started feeling sympathy for Anna that he changed it.  (All of this is taken from PBS)

By the end of the novel I really was done with Levin and his moral dilemmas.  Maybe because they were soooo weighty?  Don't get me wrong, I dug how he struggled with his belief in god and the universe but it was just terrible weighty right after Anna's suicide and Vronsky's might-as-well-be-a-suicide mission to fight.  Yeah, it was just a bit long-winded.  Not like that was any different from any other Levin moments (let's not even go back to the farming) but by the end I was D.O.N.E.

I am SO glad I read Anna Karenina  this summer.  It truly was a brilliant experience.  I don't know how I'm feeling about the film.  I have a feeling that it's going to focus so much on the romance that it'll be over the top in the Titanic way.  We shall see.


  1. That whole section leading up to where Anna does the big jump? That was like the most amaaaazing writing ever, I don't think I breathed once through the whole thing! INSANELY good.

    And I liked the end! Mainly because I love Levin SO much, and I was like 'happy endingggg!' but also I feel his spiritual dilemma pains! LEVIN FOREVS!

  2. I've been all "lalalalalala" every time you post on Anna K, since I keep telling myself I really am going to read this. Someday.

    But not in September! Evidently I'm going to be too busy cowering in a corner and living in fear of clowns.

  3. the events leading to Anna's tragic end were written brilliantly! i could not help but feel bad and sorry for her about how things went though. there is just something about death - illness, suicide, etc. - that's humbling.
    thank you for sharing your thoughts throughout the read along.
    congratulations. you have D.O.N.E. it and it was certainly worth the experience for me as well.

  4. I really don't think I'd be able to commit suicide - I'm too much of a coward. And for the same reason, I'd probably not commit adultery in the first place!

    Sounds like you had a terrific time reading AK so congrats on finishing too :D

  5. I would much rather read IT than AK. I just cannot get into Tolstoy. I have tried and tried and these posts just make me feel guilty about it. Send in the clowns!


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