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Stephan Oblonsky, or Stiva, is brother to the title character, Anna Karenina. We are introduced to him in a most unfavorable manner: he has been caught in an act of infidelity and his wife is in an unforgiving mood. Although there is little evidence of Stiva’s sincere repentance, he is clearly desperate to keep his wife within his household. Perhaps his comments in his diary should speak to his desperation, using diction that betrays his unrepentant disposition. His words could suggest a wish that Dolly, his wife, overlook his indiscretion and unburden him of the task of having to appease her. His remarks should reveal his shallow, self-centered, pleasure-seeking character.
Of course, his sister Anna would make satisfying subject matter for his diary. Her affair with Vronsky becomes a public spectacle. Stiva has little personal regard or sympathy for Alexei Karenin, his sister’s husband. Karenin is a rigidly cold man who offers little love and comfort to Anna. Stephan might write a diary entry in which he speculates that Anna’s affair with Vronsky was partly Karenin’s fault. Likewise, Stiva may enter comments that defend Vronsky as a man of the world who has captured Anna’s heart. Since Stiva is a philanderer who considers himself handsome and charming, he may feel solidarity with Vronsky.
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