Anna Karenina Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The source of Tolstoy’s next great novel, Anna Karenina, lies in an idea that he conveyed to his wife in 1870. He wanted to write a story about a married woman who is disgraced by a sexual scandal. He would depict her “not as culpable, but as uniquely worthy of pity.” This story he knew from his own family: his only sister, Marya, had recently left her husband for an adulterous liaison with a Swedish viscount. Two years later, he saw firsthand the potential disastrous results of such a passion. One of his neighbors cast off his mistress, Anna Stepanovna Pirogova, who then threw herself under a train. Tolstoy viewed her remains afterward. Within the year, he began writing Anna Karenina. He was stimulated further by his reading of Alexander Pushkin’s Povesti Belkina (1831; Russian Romance, 1875), which he admired. He was struck by the phrase, “The guests were arriving at the country house,” and began to write his story around it.

Anna Karenina begins with the oft-quoted line, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In this novel, Tolstoy portrays both a happy and an unhappy family. The happy Constantine Levin and his wife, Kitty, resemble Pierre and Natasha Bezukhov in War and Peace because of their positive attitudes in the face of adversity and their compassion toward other people. Levin and Kitty’s rapport is such that Levin exclaims that he does “not know where she ended and he began.”

The marriage of Alexey and Anna Karenin, on the other hand, is a loveless match held in place by the dictates of society. When Anna meets a dashing officer of the guards, Alexey Vronsky, she readily abandons her husband and son for the sake of illicit passion. Far from being an ennobling force, Anna and Vronsky’s love leads to chaos, ruin, and, eventually, Anna’s death under the wheels of an oncoming train.

Throughout the novel, the characters of Anna and Levin are compared and contrasted. Distantly related through marriage (Anna’s brother is married to Kitty’s sister), they make life choices that are diametrically opposed to each other. Anna is a young, beautiful, intelligent, vital woman who...

(The entire section is 916 words.)

Anna Karenina Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Anna Karenina, the sister of Stepan Oblonsky, comes to Moscow in an attempt to patch up a quarrel between her brother and his wife, Dolly. There she meets the handsome young Count Vronsky, who is rumored to be in love with Dolly’s younger sister, Kitty. Konstantine Levin, of an old Muscovite family, is also in love with Kitty, and his visit to Moscow coincides with Anna’s. Kitty refuses Levin, but to her chagrin she receives no proposal from the count. Indeed, Vronsky has no intention of proposing to Kitty. His heart goes out to Anna the first time he lays eyes on her, and when Anna returns to her home in St. Petersburg, he follows her.

Soon they begin to be seen together at soirées and at the theater, apparently unaware of gossip that circulates about them. Karenin, Anna’s husband, becomes concerned. A coldly ambitious and dispassionate man, he believes that his social position is at stake. One night, he discusses these rumors with Anna and points out the danger of her flirtation, as he calls it. He forbids her to entertain Vronsky at home and cautions her to be more careful. He is not jealous of his wife, only worried over the social consequences of her behavior. He reminds her of her duty to her young son, Seryozha. Anna says she will obey him, and there the matter rests.

Anna, however, is unable to conceal her true feelings when Vronsky is injured in a racetrack accident. Karenin upbraids her for her indiscreet behavior in public. He considers a duel, separation, and divorce but rejects all these courses. When he finally decides to keep Anna under his roof, he reflects that he is acting in accordance with the laws of religion. Anna continues to meet Vronsky in secret.

Levin returns to his country estate after Kitty refuses him, and he busies himself there in problems of agriculture and peasant labor. One day, he goes into the fields and works with a scythe along with the serfs. He believes that he is beginning to understand the old primitive philosophy of their lives. He plans new developments, among them a cooperative enterprise system. When he hears that Kitty is not married after all and that she was ill but will soon be returning to Moscow, he resolves to seek her hand in marriage once more. Secretly, he knows she loves him. His pride, as well as hers, keeps them apart. Accordingly, Levin makes the journey to Moscow with new hope that soon Kitty will be his wife.

Against her husband’s orders, Anna sends for Vronsky and tells him that she is pregnant. Aware of...

(The entire section is 1031 words.)

Anna Karenina Chapter Summaries

Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” At the Oblonsky house, everything is in confusion. Three days ago the wife discovered that her husband is having an affair with their former French governess, and she told him she cannot go on living in the same house with him. Now everyone in the family is conscious of the chasm and acts like strangers. The wife has not left her room and the husband is gone; the children have taken over the house; the English governess is looking for a new job after fighting with the housekeeper; the chef left yesterday just before dinner, and two other servants have given their notice.

On the third morning out of the house, Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (“Stiva,” to the society world) wakes up at his usual 8:00 a.m. on the leather sofa in his study. He turns his “stout, well-cared-for” body over as if he will fall asleep again, but then he suddenly sits up and remembers the delightful dream he had been having. It was a dream of fine dining, opera music, and fashionable people—including women.

He puts on his slippers, the fine gold-colored Moroccan slippers his wife made him, and reaches for his dressing gown as he has for the past nine years. Then he remembers that he is not sleeping in his wife’s room. When he remembers why, the smile vanishes from his face. He recalls every detail of the argument, feels again the hopelessness of his situation, and knows it is all his fault. He moans in despair at the pain he is feeling because of this quarrel.

The most unpleasant memory for him is the moment he arrived home in such a good mood after the theater, a huge pear in his hand, to discover his wife sitting in her bedroom with the revelatory letter in her hand. He was used to seeing Darya Alexandrovna (“Dolly”) fuss with the details of the house, but then she looked at him with a expression of “horror, despair, and indignation.” She asked him about the letter, and he did what so many people do when they have been caught in a disgrace.

Instead of trying to defend himself or beg for forgiveness—or even feign indifference—Stepan Arkadyevitch simply gave her an idiotic smile. Darya Alexandrovna was infuriated at that smirk and berated him cruelly; she has refused to see him ever since. Stepan Arkadyevitch regrets that smile more than anything and blames it for his problems. Again he despairs and wonders what can be done to remedy his situation.

Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch is incapable of deceiving himself into thinking he has repented of his unacceptable behavior. He knows he is a thirty-four-year-old man who is not in love with his wife and the mother of his seven children, two dead and five living. He also knows the only thing he feels remorse about is getting caught in the affair and should have anticipated his wife’s reaction. Stepan Arkadyevitch had assumed that his wife understood that he no longer found her attractive, that she was a washed-up, tired-looking, middle-aged, uninteresting woman, though she was only a year younger than him. He had assumed that she knew he was unfaithful and had simply chosen to ignore it. In fact, he believed it was only fair that she be indulgent out of fairness for his intolerable position. Instead, she had been appalled and angry.

Before this rift, they had been content. She was happy to raise the children and run the household with absolutely no interference from him, and he was happy with Mademoiselle Roland, the governess. Stepan Arkadyevitch is proud of the fact that he had enough self-control not to dally with her in their home. And the woman is now gone, after all. If he cannot go back to his dream, he must move forward with his day.

He puts on his dressing gown, lined with blue silk, and takes a deep breath before opening the blinds of his study and ringing the bell loudly. Matvey, his long-time valet and friend, arrives immediately with his clothes, his boots, and a telegram. After him comes the barber with shaving equipment. Stepan Arkadyevitch asks for any office paperwork, and with a sly grin Matvey says there are papers from the carriage-jobbers, but he told them to come on Sunday and not to trouble Stepan Arkadyevitch before then.

The telegram is from Stepan Arkadyevitch’s sister and it makes him smile. Anna Arkadyevna, his sister, is coming for a visit and will be here tomorrow. Matvey is also pleased. Both men...

(The entire section is 555 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch dresses himself meticulously, feeling good about his physical condition even though he is unhappy on the inside. He reads some business letters while he drinks his coffee, and then he reads the paper. It is a liberal newspaper that reflects the views of the majority, which is always the view he takes. If the views of the majority change, his views change as well because he did not choose them to begin with. He has no interest in science, art, or politics; however, he believes whatever the majority believes about each of them. In his social circles, it is important to have views on such things. Though he could have chosen either liberal or conservative views and still been accepted in those social circles, he...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary

Darya Alexandrovna is a worn-out woman doing her best to take her children and leave her husband, but she is too much in the habit of loving him to do so. She knows she is ineffectual with her children even in ideal circumstances, and she knows things would be worse if she left. Still, when she hears her husband walk into her room, she assumes the pretense of packing to leave, though her face betrays her “bewilderment and suffering.” He calls her Dolly and tries to look humble and pitiful, but she can see that he is robust and healthy and she hates his good nature.

Stepan Arkadyevitch tells her his sister is coming, but his wife begins shrieking at him to go away. Stepan Arkadyevitch can usually be calm and pursue...

(The entire section is 526 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary

Though Stepan Arkadyevitch learned easily in school, he was one of the lowest in his class because he was lazy and mischievous. He was fortunate that his sister’s husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin, got him an honorable position as president of a government board, and thankfully it paid well because his financial situation was embarrassing, despite his wife’s considerable property.

Half of the citizens in Moscow and Petersburg are related to Stepan Arkadyevitch, who was born among people of great power, and they took care of him as one of their own. People like him for his good nature as well as his “unquestionable honesty,” and he is met with delight nearly everywhere he goes no matter how often people see...

(The entire section is 508 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary

Konstantin Levin recalls blushing when Stepan Arkadyevitch asked him why he came to town, and that was because he could not tell him the truth: he had come to town to make Kitty Shtcherbatsky an offer. The Levins and the Shtcherbatskys are old, noble Moscow families, and the young people of both families grew up together. Levin prepared for and entered university with Prince Shtcherbatsky, the brother of Dolly and Kitty. In those days, Levin was often in their home and was much in love with the entire family. His mother and father had died and his only sister was much older, so it was in this household that Levin learned what an “old, noble, cultivated, and honorable” family was.

Because of that, Levin has always...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary

After Levin arrived in Moscow by train this morning, he came to his half-brother’s house. After changing clothes and refreshing himself, Levin entered Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev’s study and intended to talk with him about his plans and ask his advice, but his brother was not alone. He was engaged in a discussion with a professor of philosophy who is writing a series of articles against materialists. After the most recent article, Koznishev wrote the professor a letter stating his objections to the professor’s positions and now the man is here to debate the issue in person.

After greeting Levin with the chilly smile he gives everyone and introducing him to the professor, Koznishev resumes his conversation and both...

(The entire section is 385 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary

Once the professor leaves, Koznishev expresses his delight at seeing his brother and asks if Levin is here for a long visit and how the farming is going. Levin knows his brother has no interest in farming, so he only relates a few details connected to money. Until now, Levin had intended to tell his brother about his plan to marry and get his advice on the matter; now, however, he is reluctant to do so. The discussion with the professor along with his brother’s patronizing manner when he asked about the farm (which belongs to them equally though Levin manages both their shares) have created doubt.

What is important to Koznishev are the local boards and politics in the country, but when he asks about them, Levin does...

(The entire section is 433 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary

Levin arrives at the Zoological Gardens at four o’clock and walks the path to the skating area. The more he tries to compose himself, the more breathless he gets. An acquaintance calls his name but Levin does not even recognize him as he moves closer to the ice rink. As soon as he sees the skaters he recognizes the one he came to see because he feels his heart constrict.

Kitty is talking to another lady and there is nothing about her which particularly distinguishes her from anyone else in the crowd; for Levin, though, she is as striking and noticeable as a rose among thorns. Where she stands is holy ground to Levin, and he wonders if he dares to approach her. In fact, for a moment he considers retreating, but he...

(The entire section is 528 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch works the restaurant as he would a social gathering, making himself at home and others at ease. Levin refrains from having any vodka and is glowing with happiness. The two men are treated like royalty by the staff and Levin allows the other man to order for them both, as he knows his more rustic tastes will be ridiculed here. Though he knows exactly what he wants, Stepan Arkadyevitch refuses to call the dishes by their proper French names.

As they eat, Stepan Arkadyevitch can see that Levin is a bit ill at ease. When he asks about it, Levin explains that life in the city, including the rich foods and fancy manners surrounding them here, makes him uncomfortable. He prefers to be a savage if this is...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

As they finish their meal, Stepan Arkadyevitch orders another bottle of champagne and tells Levin he should know that he has a rival for Kitty’s love, a man named Vronsky. Suddenly Levin’s hopefulness turns to anger and it shows in his unpleasant expression.

Vronsky is the son of a count and is one of the most commendable men among the “gilded youth” of St. Petersburg. Stepan Arkadyevitch met Vronsky once, a young man of great wealth, exceptional good looks, and powerful connections; in addition, the young man is personable, cultivated, and intelligent. Vronsky is a man who will “make his mark.” Levin scowls and says nothing as Stepan Arkadyevitch recalls that Vronsky came around shortly after Levin left and...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary

Princess Kitty Shtcherbatsky is eighteen years old, and nearly every man in society is in love with her after her first winter among them. Two suitors have expressed serious interest in her. The first to do so was Levin, but immediately after Levin left abruptly for the country, Vronsky made his intentions known. Even though he left, Levin’s attentions caused Kitty’s parents to have their first serious discussion about their daughter’s future.

Kitty’s father prefers Levin, but Kitty’s mother does not understand Levin and thinks her daughter can do much better. She does not understand how Levin could have spent six weeks in constant attendance on Kitty without offering for her hand, as most men would have done....

(The entire section is 508 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 13 Summary

After dinner, Kitty’s heart is pounding with the intensity of a young man’s before going into battle as she waits to see Levin this evening, an evening she believes will be the turning point in her life. As she thinks about her past, Kitty has nothing but fond memories of her relations with Levin. She feels certain of his love and finds it flattering and delightful; in contrast, there has always been an element of awkwardness in her exchanges with Vronsky.

The flaw is not in him, for he has never been anything but simple and nice to her; however, there is always a “false note” when she is with Vronsky. On the other hand, when she looks into the future, Kitty sees a life of “brilliant happiness” with Vronsky;...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 14 Summary

The princess arrives just at that awkward moment, horrified at seeing them alone and then, after seeing their faces, thankful to see that Kitty has refused Levin. She sits and begins questioning Levin about life in the country while he hopes fervently for more visitors so he can slip out unnoticed. Five minutes later Countess Nordston, a friend of Kitty’s, arrives. She wants her friend to marry Vronsky and has never liked Levin.

Levin and Nordston despise each other to such a degree that they do not take anything the other says seriously and are not offended by the other. They spar just a bit before a woman enters the room followed by an officer. Levin can see from the look on Kitty’s face that this is Vronsky and...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 15 Summary

Once the guests leave, Kitty tells her mother about the conversation with Levin and is thrilled at the thought of having received an offer despite her pity for Levin. Though she has no doubts about her decision, she has difficulty sleeping as she can still see the hurt in his kind eyes. She feels so sorry for him that tears come to her eyes until she thinks about the man for whom she let Levin go. Once again she feels gladness, thinking about her love for Vronsky and his love for her. She falls asleep to the inner turmoil of guilt, happiness, and doubts.

In the library below, Kitty’s parents are having a typical disagreement concerning their youngest daughter. The prince is outraged that his wife is disgracing herself...

(The entire section is 473 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 16 Summary

Vronsky has never really had a home life. His mother was a young, scintillating socialite who, even once she was married, was notorious in the fashionable world for her many love affairs. His father was only a dim memory to him, and Vronsky had been educated among the Corps of Pages.

He left school as a brilliant young officer and had at once been absorbed into St. Petersburg’s society of wealthy army men, though most of his love affairs have been conducted outside of that circle. It was a rather coarse and luxurious life. After coming to Moscow, he for the first time felt the charm and innocence of a girl in his own social standing who cared for him. It never occurred to him that there could be any harm in enjoying...

(The entire section is 451 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 17 Summary

The next morning, Vronsky sees Oblonsky at the St. Petersburg rail station. Vronsky is there to meet his mother, and Oblonsky is there to meet his sister, Anna Karenina. Oblonsky asks the younger man where he went after his visit to the Shtcherbatskys’, and Vronsky tells him the truth: that he felt so good after the visit that he was uninterested in going anywhere else. Oblonsky teases him about being in love. Vronsky smiles without comment and changes the subject.

Vronsky remembers something “stiff and tedious” associated with the name Karenina, but he does know her husband, Alexey Alexandrovitch, by reputation and by sight. The celebrated man is known to be a learned and somewhat religious man, something with...

(The entire section is 503 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 18 Summary

On his way to his mother’s compartment, Vronsky passes a woman striking enough to make him look at her again once he passes her. She is obviously a woman of the best society but is not particularly beautiful; however, there is a light in her eyes which, when she looks back at him and then promptly away again, displays a “suppressed eagerness” which also shows in her faint smile. It as if she tries to shroud the brilliance in her eyes but it shows nonetheless.

When Vronsky steps into the carriage, his “dried-up” old mother smiles at him tightly and squints at him with her black eyes. He asks about her journey, but he is listening to a voice outside of the carriage which he knows must belong to the woman he just...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 19 Summary

When Anna Karenina arrives in Darya Alexandrovna’s room, her sister-in-law is dealing with her youngest son and nervously knitting a coverlet. She has prepared for Anna Karenina’s arrival, despite her depressed state, because she has no reason to blame her for her brother’s behavior and she has never been anything but kind and gracious to her—despite her impression that there was something artificial in Anna Karenina’s family life. Darya Alexandrovna is torn between the need to talk to someone about her problems and sharing her humiliation with her husband’s sister.

Anna Karenina’s greeting is warm, but she is in no hurry to have a private discussion just yet; instead she meets all the children and...

(The entire section is 504 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 20 Summary

During her first day in Moscow, Anna Karenina receives no visitors, though several of her friends call on her; instead she spends the day with Darya Alexandrovna and her children. At dinner, the entire family gathers, and she calls her husband “Stiva” as she once used to do. Right after dinner Kitty arrives, feeling some trepidation about meeting such a fashionable St. Petersburg woman about whom everyone speaks so highly. In no time at all, however, Anna Karenina wins Kitty over by her charm and youthful eagerness more befitting a woman of twenty than a mother of an eight-year-old. In fact, Kitty adores her, feeling as if there is much to be learned from such a woman.

After dinner Darya Alexandrovna retires to her...

(The entire section is 439 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 21 Summary

At teatime, Darya Alexandrovna appears but her husband does not; she worries about Anna Karenina’s comfort and plans to move her so she will be warmer. From her tone, Anna Karenina cannot determine whether a reconciliation has happened, but once Stepan Arkadyevitch enters the room both she and Kitty can tell that the couple has made their peace.

During the entire evening, Darya Alexandrovitch’s tone is slightly mocking and her husband is happy and cheerful (mindful that he has been forgiven but his offense has not been forgotten).  At nine-thirty, this simple, peaceful family gathering is interrupted by an apparently simple incident which nevertheless seems strange to them all.

As the group discusses...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 22 Summary

Kitty and her mother arrive just as the ball is beginning, and the young girl is a stunningly beautiful tonight. She is elaborately coiffured and dressed, though it appears none of her preparations cost her any time or preparation, that it was all done with ease. It is one of Kitty’s best days, and she feels as if everything must be nice and graceful and in place. Everything from her hair to her slippers is perfect in her eyes on this most important night. Both outside and in, she is scintillating.

She is swept into her first dance, a waltz, with one of the most important men at the ball and he flatters her—as he does every partner with whom he dances—that she is exquisite precision on the dance floor. Kitty...

(The entire section is 445 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 23 Summary

Vronsky and Kitty waltz around the room several times and Kitty barely has time to visit with friends before he is back for their quadrille. Their conversation is inconsequential and rather stilted, but Kitty is not dismayed and has put all her hopes on the mazurka, assuming they will dance together as always and turning down five other young men in anticipation of Vronsky’s invitation. During this dance, she imagines everything will be decided.

As Kitty watches Anna Karenina, she sees an intoxication which she recognizes from her own experience, a euphoria and deliberate precision which is feeding on admiration. What she does not know is if it is the admiration of the crowd or of one in particular, and as the evening...

(The entire section is 525 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 24 Summary

As he leaves the Shtcherbatskys’ and walks toward his brother’s house, Levin thinks there is something hateful and repulsive in him since he does not get along well with other people. It is clear he has no pride; if he did, he would not have subjected himself to a humiliation such as he suffered earlier this evening. He berates himself, believing no one would ever choose him over a man like Vronsky, and is angry at himself for ignoring his brother tonight just so he could make this social call. Levin calls for a sledge and gives the driver Nikolay’s address.

On the way to his brother’s house, Levin remembers Nikolay as he was in college, living like a monk and renouncing all forms of pleasure, despite the...

(The entire section is 473 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 25 Summary

Nikolay has trouble stringing several thoughts together, but Levin is not really listening anyway. He is looking at his brother and feeling sorrier for him as Nikolay talks about a new venture which is clearly nothing more than a diversion to save himself from self-contempt. Nikolay finishes his speech with a diatribe against the social system which treats workers as beasts and gives all profits to the merchants and landowners. Levin simply nods in agreement when Nikolay stops for breath.

The three of them are founding a locksmith association in a village where all profits and productions will be shared in common. Levin sighs, which exasperates Nikolay into a tirade against both Levin’s and Sergey Ivanovitch’s...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 26 Summary

Levin leaves Moscow the next morning and reaches home in the evening. On the journey he talks with others and is still consumed by shame and confused by new ideas, along with feeling a general sense of dissatisfaction. When he gets off the train, Levin is met by his old driver Ignat, and begins to hear the news about all the minor things which happened when he was gone. Levin feels the confusion and shame begin to dissipate. He feels himself once again and is content; he has no desire to be anyone else. Now all he wants is to be better than he was before, and he begins by resolving never to expect such an extraordinary happiness as marriage and will therefore appreciate what he has.

He will never again let his passions...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 27 Summary

The morning after the ball, Anna Karenina sends her husband a telegram saying she will be leaving Moscow today. Her sister-in-law pleads with her to stay, but she claims she has so many things to do she cannot even number them all. Stepan Arkadyevitch is out but has promised to come see his sister off at seven o’clock. Kitty has sent a note saying she is ill, so Darya Alexandrovitch and Anna Karenina dine with the children and the governess. The children, for whatever reason, are no longer enamored of their aunt and are indifferent at the thought of her leaving.

Anna Karenina spends the morning preparing for her departure, writing notes to her acquaintances in Moscow, getting her accounts in order, and packing her...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 28 Summary

After she has said her last good-bye and is on the train, Anna Karenina is relieved that the connection to Vronsky is over and tomorrow she will be home with her son and husband. Life will continue as it always has, nice and usual.

She settles into her compartment along with other ladies and knows she is not likely to find much entertainment among the group. Instead she gets out an English novel and tries to read. Unfortunately, she is finding it difficult to concentrate. There is the fuss and movement of an entire train getting settled in, and outside the wet snow is pelting against the train window. A muffled guard walks the aisle and people are fretting about the snowstorm outside.

There is shaking and...

(The entire section is 411 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 29 Summary

As Anna Karenina stands under the carriage stand at the train station, the snow and wind whip around her in a tempest. There is much activity around her, men banging doors closed and muffled, snow-covered people bustling on the platform. Just as she withdraws her hand from her muff to reach for the door so she can re-board the train, a nearby man in a military overcoat steps into the light between her and the lamp post. As she looks toward him, Anna Karenina recognizes Vronsky’s face.

Vronsky puts his hand on the peak of his cap and asks if there is anything he can do for her. For a long time she simply stands and looks at him. Even in the shadows, she can see (or imagines she can see) the same look of “reverential...

(The entire section is 540 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 30-31 Summary

Vronsky does not even try to sleep that night on the train. Anyone who thought he was haughty and overly composed before would have seen an even greater example of his air of unhesitating control this night. He sees no one or nothing around him, seeing himself as a king not because he believes he has made an impression on her but because of the impression she has made on him, filling his heart with happiness and pride.

What will happen after this he does not know or even think about; he only knows that his energies before now have been wasted. All his energy is now focused on one blissful goal, and this makes him very happy. Vronsky told Anna Karenina the truth, that he had to follow her for she is the only source of happiness...

(The entire section is 520 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 32 Summary

The first person who meets Anna Karenina at home is her son, Seryozha. He races down the stairs and shrieks at her in his joy at seeing her again before attaching himself to her neck. When she sees her son, Anna Karenina is struck with the same disappointment she felt when she saw her husband; she imagined him better than he is in reality. Though he is a charming child, she must lower herself back to reality before she is able to enjoy him.

Anna Karenina has not had time to drink her coffee before she is visited by the Countess Lidia Ivanovna, a statuesque woman with defects Anna Karenina sees for the first time today. The visitor asks about the reconciliation but, as is typical, is not particularly interested in the...

(The entire section is 452 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 33 Summary

Alexey Alexandrovitch arrives home at four o’clock but, as usual, he does not have time to see his wife until dinner, as he must see the petitioners who have come to see him once he arrives home. He comes to dinner in his evening attire, as he will be going out after dinner. His motto is “unhasting and unresting,” and every moment of every day is filled.

There are always guests at the couple’s dinner table, and as he sits down Alexey Alexandrovitch remarks that his solitude is over and he no longer has to be uncomfortable dining alone. During the meal he talks a bit with his wife about matters in Moscow but does so with sarcasm, as usual.

After dinner, Alexey Alexandrovitch leaves but Anna Karenina...

(The entire section is 489 words.)

Part 1, Chapter 34 Summary

When Vronsky left St. Petersburg for Moscow, he left his large apartment for one of his favorite friends, Petritsky. He is a young lieutenant and he is not well connected or rich; in fact, he is nearly always in great debt. Most evenings Petritsky ends up drunk, and he has often been locked up after ridiculous and sometimes disgraceful scandals. Despite all this, he is a favorite of both his peers and his superiors.

Vronsky arrives at his rooms at noon and sees a familiar carriage outside the building. As he rings the bell, he hears voices inside and tells his servant not to announce him. He sneaks into the room and sees Petritsky and another officer sitting on either side of Baroness Shilton, resplendent in her finery,...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary

At the end of winter, a conference is held by the Shtcherbatskys about what to do concerning Kitty’s failing health. Several doctors have tried common cures, but nothing has worked. Next they call in a celebrated doctor. He insists that female modesty is no longer necessary, and he must examine the patient without her clothing. Despite disagreements among themselves and some claims that he is a bad doctor, Kitty’s family decides he has some kind of special knowledge; they believe he is the only one who can save Kitty.

After the embarrassing examination, the doctor goes to the drawing room to talk to the prince—the last person with whom he should be speaking. The prince does not have faith in physicians; moreover,...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary

Although Darya Alexandrovitch has recently given birth to a baby girl, she arrives at her parents’ home shortly after the doctor. She knows this is the day on which Kitty’s fate is to be decided. When she asks the doctor’s diagnosis, no one can give her much information. The only thing they all know is that Kitty is going abroad.

Her sister is going away, and Darya Alexandrovitch is sad at the thought because her life has been quite cheerless this winter. The reconciliation which Anna Karenina began has not gone well, and Darya Alexandrovitch’s relationship with her husband is falling apart again over the same issue: She continually suspects him of infidelities. Although nothing specific has been said about the...

(The entire section is 557 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

Kitty’s room is pink and pretty and happy—just as she had been only two months earlier. Darya Alexandrovitch is there to console her, but she does not have much hope for it when she sees Kitty sitting sullenly. Explaining that she may be quarantined soon, Darya Alexandrovitch wants to talk to her sister now about Kitty's "trouble."

Kitty denies having any trouble, but Darya Alexandrovitch assures her that "[w]e've all been through it"; Vronsky is not worth her sister's grief, she counsels. Kitty begs her not to talk about the subject. When Darya Alexandrovitch adds that she is certain Vronsky had once been in love with her sister, Kitty interrupts, shrieking that she hates sympathy most of all.

...

(The entire section is 538 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

The ruling society of St. Petersburg is one social set comprising several distinct social circles. Anna Karenina moves within three of them. She knows her husband’s government colleagues well, but their masculine, political world does not interest her. She avoids this group whenever she can.

Anna Karenina had been more interested in the social circle that helped make her husband’s career possible: older women—benevolent, ugly, godly, and elderly—and ambitious, clever, educated men. At the center is Countess Lidia Ivanovna. Alexey Alexandrovitch esteems these people most highly. Anna Karenina has also made friends in this circle; however, since her return from Moscow, it seems she and they are all quite...

(The entire section is 470 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary

Though it is rather indiscreet of him, Vronsky settles in to tell his cousin a story about two young soldiers, in "a festive state of mind," driving to dinner with a friend. A woman in a sledge catches up to them, nods, and laughs—or at least it appears so to them. They follow her at full gallop until she arrives at the very place where they are to dine. The woman goes to the top story of the building, and the young men go to their comrade’s farewell dinner where they drink more than they should.

At dinner, the men ask who lives in the upstairs apartment; the valet tells them there are many young women about the place. The two friends go to their comrade’s study and compose a letter, a declaration of love, and...

(The entire section is 517 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary

After the opera, Princess Betsy has just enough time to go home and refresh herself before her guests arrive at her huge, sumptuous house. Soon the guests have gathered into one of two circles, either around their hostess or at the other end of the room around an ambassador’s wife. Conversations are a bit disjointed as new guests arrive and are greeted.

As if she were holding court, Princess Myakaya sits between the two groups and contributes to both conversations. The small talk grows rather stale until the ambassador’s wife asks that anyone in the room share something amusing but not spiteful. Someone tries, but everyone knows that nothing is amusing if it is not spiteful, and everything clever is stale. Soon they...

(The entire section is 465 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary

Anna Karenina enters the room simply and beautifully and immediately greets her hostess. As she shakes Princess Betsy’s hand, Anna Karenina finds Vronsky, who makes a low bow and pushes a chair up for her. She acknowledges the gesture with a slight nod.

Anna Karenina was delayed because she was at the countess’s house listening to a missionary to India. Soon the room begins to gossip about marriage. The consensus is that marrying for love is an old-fashioned idea, a foolish notion; most marriages today are marriages of prudence in which both parties have already “sown their wild oats.”

The group agrees that people find love only after making mistakes and correcting them, even after marriage. When...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary

Though Alexey Alexandrovitch had seen nothing improper in his wife sitting with Vronsky and engaging in “eager conversation,” he knows others felt the impropriety and now he, too, feels the wrongness of it. He waits up for her so he can talk with her about it. After he has done his nightly reading and prepared himself for bed, he does not go to bed as usual but paces the floor with his hands clasped behind his back. He cannot sleep until he thinks the matter through thoroughly.

It was easy for him to decide to talk with his wife, but when he imagines the actual conversation, suddenly things seem complicated. He is not jealous because that implies a lack of confidence in his wife, and he has no experience in that...

(The entire section is 495 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary

Anna Karenina comes up the stairs and her face is brilliant and glowing, though not out of brightness; instead it hints at a conflagration on a dark night. When she sees her husband still up, she smiles as though she has just woken up and tells him it is late and he should be in bed. Alexey Alexandrovitch tells her he must have a talk with her.

She speaks as if she is surprised and as she sits down, suggesting that he would be better off sleeping than talking. Anna Karenina is speaking without thinking and she is surprised at her own capacity for lying, at how simple and easy it is for her to mask the truth. Alexey Alexandrovitch begins his prepared lecture by telling her he must warn her about something.

...

(The entire section is 535 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary

Ever since their discussion that night, things have been different between Alexey Alexandrovitch and Anna Karenina. On the surface, nothing has changed and nothing of any significance has happened. Anna Karenina is still actively attending her usual social gatherings, and she often ends up at her friend Princess Betsy’s home. Everywhere she goes, of course, she meets Vronsky.

Alexey Alexandrovitch sees all of it happening but feels he can do nothing to change it or repair it. Every effort he makes to draw his wife out, to have an open discussion of where things stand, is met with a barrier which Anna Karenina has erected and which he is unable to penetrate. This barrier is the pretense of amused perplexity, and he...

(The entire section is 405 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 11 Summary

A year after meeting, Anna Karenina and Vronsky have finally consummated their love. For him it was the culmination of everything he ever desired; for her it was an impossible, terrible, and blissful fulfillment of her desire. Now he stands before her, jaw quivering a bit, unsuccessfully trying to calm her but not really understanding what has upset her so badly.

Anna Karenina is filled with shame and bows her head as she sinks from the sofa to the floor at Vronsky’s feet. She keeps sobbing a prayer for God to forgive her. She feels so full of sin, so guilty, that she is compelled to humiliate herself and beg for forgiveness; since there is now no one in her life but Vronsky, it is to him she addresses her prayers for...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 12 Summary

In the first days after Levin returned to the country from Moscow, he would shudder and turn red when he thought about his humiliating rejection. Nevertheless, he always told himself it would soon be like many other embarrassing moments in his life which seemed mortifying at the time but have since diminished into minor incidents.

Three months have passed and the humiliation is just as painful now as it was at the time it happened. He has no peace because he had dreamed so long about having a family and felt so ready for it and now he is even further from that goal than he ever was. Levin and everyone around him are aware that a man of his age should not be alone, that marriage is the expectation and the norm.

...

(The entire section is 473 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 13 Summary

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Levin puts on his boots and prepares to do something, though he hardly knows what undertaking he will attempt first. In any case, the work of the farm is important and exciting to him, and he begins his day admiring the cattle which have been let into their paddock. As they bask in the sunlight, Levin turns his attention to their calves. He knows each of these creatures well and he admires their appreciation for the freedom of spring.

All is not well on the farm, however; it appears that many of the farm repairs which he ordered to be done over the winter (and for which he hired three carpenters) have not been done. Observing these things is upsetting to Levin and he calls...

(The entire section is 480 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 14 Summary

As Levin rides up to the house, he hears a visitor and hopes it is his brother, but it is Stepan Arkadyevitch. Levin is genuinely delighted to see him because he can now find out for certain about Kitty. His visitor has come to do some hunting and to sell the forest at Ergushavo. The host shows his guest to his room and soon they are sitting and visiting.

Stepan Arkadyevitch loves the house, exclaiming that it is bright and cheery but forgetting that it is not always so. It is this lovely spring day which places the house at its best advantage. He is anxious to try to understand what Levin finds so intriguing about the country, and he shares all the news from Moscow, including the fact that Levin’s half-brother...

(The entire section is 430 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 15 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch and Levin arrive at the stand-shooting site, and the men and Laska the dog settle in to watch and wait. As Levin looks around, he notices each wet blade of grass and feels as if he can actually see and hear the grass growing all around him. They hear the sound of a cuckoo and an owl before they finally hear the shrill whistle in the distance for which they have all been waiting.

Stepan Arkadyevitch lights a cigarette and cocks his rifle and then they hear an odd whinnying sound, a prolonged cry as if a colt were frolicking nearby. Levin says it is the sound of the hare and hurriedly readies his own gun.

The next sound they hear is well known to an experienced hunter, a shrill whistle...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 16 Summary

On the way back from their hunting trip, Levin hears all the particulars of Kitty’s illness from Stepan Arkadyevitch, and though he should have been ashamed to admit it, he is somewhat glad at what he hears. Kitty is still available, but she has also experienced some of the same suffering she inflicted on him. When Stepan Arkadyevitch mentions Vronsky’s name as part of the cause for Kitty’s illness, Levin stops him.

The forest Stepan Arkadyevitch came to the country to sell has been sold at a price he is quite happy with, though Levin says it is worth almost five times what is to be paid for it. Stepan Arkadyevitch is dismissive of that claim, saying Levin has been too long in the country to know effective...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 17 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch is content in every way. He has money in his pockets from the sale of the forest land, and the day’s hunting had been quite successful. He now wants to dispel Levin’s ill humor so that he can end the day as pleasantly as he began it.

Levin is not mollified, however; his mood has only grown worse as the news of Kitty’s unexpected availability has “gradually begun to work on him.” It is true that Kitty is not married; however, she is ill because the man she loved instead of him slighted her. By extension, Levin now sees Vronsky as his enemy and he feels insulted by the man. That disgruntled feeling has now seeped into his dealings with Stepan Arkadyevitch and he is exasperated at the man’s...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 18 Summary

Although Vronsky’s personal life is consumed with his passion, his professional life is still taken up with his military career and, particularly, his regiment. It is an important part of his life, both because he genuinely likes his regiment but also because he is a favorite of the men of his regiment.

The men in his unit not only respect him and are proud of him, but they also truly like him. They are proud to say that this man of immense wealth, extraordinary education, superior abilities, and many levels of success and ambition disregarded all of his other opportunities so he could be one of them and have the regiment’s interests be the closest thing to his heart.  Vronsky is well aware of his comrades’...

(The entire section is 527 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 19 Summary

On the day of the horse races, Vronsky comes early to the regiment’s mess hall and eats carefully so he will not gain any weight. While he waits for his steak, he feigns reading a novel to avoid conversation with any of the others. He is thinking about Anna Karenina’s promise to see him after the races today. He has not seen her for three days, but her husband has just arrived home from abroad, so he is not sure she will be able to make it or how he can find out for certain.

Their last meeting had been at his cousin Betsy’s summer villa, and they have occasionally gone to the Karenins’ summer villa. Vronsky decides he will go to see Anna Karenina, claiming his cousin wants to know if she will be at the races; he...

(The entire section is 461 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary

Vronsky shares a Finnish hut with Petritsky, and he is asleep when Vronsky and Yashvin arrive. Petritsky is lying face down on his pillow, his hair is mussed, and Yashvin prods his shoulder and hollers for him to get up. A startled Petritsky raises himself suddenly and tells Vronsky that his brother woke him up and will return later for Vronsky; then he throws a blanket over himself and tries to go back to sleep.

Yashvin persists in tormenting the man in the bed, pulling the blanket off him and speaking with his booming voice. Finally Petritsky gets up, wraps the blanket around himself, and prepares to join Yashvin for a drink. As his friends tussle back and forth, Vronsky puts on his coat and prepares to leave.

...

(The entire section is 429 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 21 Summary

Vronsky arrives at the stables and wants to see his horse; she arrived yesterday and he has no idea what her condition is today. The English trainer advises him not to see her, as she has been muzzled and is rather fidgety, but Vronsky insists. As he walks past the stalls, he catches a glimpse of his chief competitor, Gladiator, a huge chestnut horse with white legs. It is poor etiquette to gawk at someone else’s horse, so Vronsky quickly averts his eyes and walks to his own horse’s stall.

Frou-Frou is nervous, and the trainer says he has faith that Vronsky will win because the steeple chase takes a rider with energy and courage. Vronsky is certain there is no rider in the competition who will have more of either...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 22 Summary

The rain does not last long, and Vronsky forgets all about the muddy racecourse as he approaches Anna Karenina’s house. As always, he gets out of the carriage before he crosses the bridge so he will not attract undue attention. He enters the courtyard and asks the gardener if his master is home. He is not, and Vronsky enters the house through the garden.

Anna Karenina is not expecting him, and he is filled with anticipation at seeing her. As he walks through the house, he has already forgotten the difficulties of their relationship until he remembers the greatest impediment to their freedom—her son. When her son is present, the two of them tacitly agree not to talk about anything referencing their illicit...

(The entire section is 499 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 23 Summary

Anna Karenina’s husband does not know she is pregnant. Vronsky has had little success getting her to face the reality of their situation in the past, but he is hopeful this will finally cause her to see the hopelessness of her current situation and precipitate a change. Instead, she asks Vronsky what he suggests they do now. She had been concerned that he would take her news too lightly, but now she is annoyed that he has so quickly deduced that some action must be taken. Vronsky does not hesitate: Anna Karenina must tell her husband everything and then leave him.

She knows how such a conversation with her husband will go. He will remind her that she was warned (by him) of such possibilities and will refuse to allow...

(The entire section is 413 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 24 Summary

Vronsky is so distracted after his meeting with Anna Karenina that he does not check the time until he is back in his carriage. When he finally does, he wonders if he can fulfill his obligation to Bryansky and still get to the races on time. If he does not go, he will arrive in time to see most of the races; if he goes, he will barely arrive in time for his own race. Vronsky is a man of his word, so he tells his coachman to go to Bryansky’s as quickly as the horses will go.

On the ride home he begins forget about his feelings of uncertainty about Anna Karenina and to anticipate the race instead. At his lodgings, Vronsky changes into his riding clothes and then goes to the stables. His mare is already saddled, and the...

(The entire section is 535 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 25 Summary

Seventeen officers are riding in the three-mile race. The race begins two hundred yards before the track, and the first of nine obstacles is a seven-foot-wide stream. After three false starts, the race finally begins.

To the spectators, the horses appear to have all started simultaneously, but the riders are acutely aware of the fractions of seconds between them. For the first moment, Vronsky is not in control of the mare, and they are racing in third behind Gladiator and a horse named Diana, whose rider is nearly paralyzed with fear. As he and Frou-Frou are jumping the first stream, he sees a floundering Diana and her rider on the ground below them; only with great agility is his horse able to avoid trampling them....

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 26 Summary

Nothing between the Karenins has changed, though Alexey Alexandrovitch is even busier than ever. He has not spoken one word of his suspicions or his jealousies since their initial conversation, though he speaks to her in his jeering tone and is a bit colder to her, as if he is vexed or annoyed. He acts as if he has vainly tried to extinguish a fire and now takes pleasure in watching her burn.

Though he is astute in his political dealings, Alexey Alexandrovitch is unaware of how senseless this attitude is with his wife because he has locked his heart and the things that matter to him the most (his wife and son) are sealed off from his real life. He used to be an attentive father, as well, but now he treats his son the...

(The entire section is 558 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 27 Summary

Anna Karenina is preparing for the races when she hears a carriage outside and sees that her husband has arrived. She is immediately afraid he intends to spend the night and rushes to greet him and his friend with a radiant smile, despite the deceitfulness in her heart, and asks if he is planning to spend the night. He tells her he will not interrupt her plans to attend the races with Betsy and will walk to the races.

Anna Karenina orders tea for all three of them and asks someone to tell Seryozha that his father is here. Though she speaks naturally, she is speaking too much and too fast and can see it on her visitor’s face. He goes to the terrace, and the Karenins speak privately for a few moments.

She...

(The entire section is 464 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 28 Summary

When Alexey Alexandrovitch arrives at the race pavilion, his wife is already settled among the high society circle. Anna Karenina is acutely aware of his presence, just as she is her lover’s. As she watches Alexey Alexandrovitch, she is repulsed by everything he does, for she knows it is all false and motivated by ambition. She can see that he is looking for her but cannot distinguish her from among the women. Finally Betsy calls to him and he comes to greet them until he spots an adjutant-general and engages him in conversation.

Between races, she hears her husband in a good-natured disagreement with the man, and every word Alexey Alexandrovitch says strikes her as painfully false. When the steeple-chase begins, she...

(The entire section is 526 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 29 Summary

The crowd is horrified when Vronsky and his horse fall to the ground, and Anna Karenina moans out loud. Soon, though, she “utterly loses her head.” She is desperate to leave and insists Betsy leave with her, but Betsy does not notice her or her agitated state. Alexey Alexandrovitch offers his arm to take her away, but she does not notice him. Without answering him, Anna Karenina looks desperately through her opera-glasses but cannot see anything because a crowd has gathered around Vronsky and his horse.

An officer gallops to make an announcement to the Tsar, but she cannot hear what he says. Anna Karenina calls for her brother, but he does not hear her. Once again Alexey Alexandrovitch courteously reaches toward her...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 30 Summary

The Shtcherbatskys have established their place in the little German town with special healing waters. Another visitor to the waters is a German princess, and Kitty’s mother is desperate to present Kitty to her. She does so the day after they arrive, and Kitty makes a low and graceful curtsy before the princess, wearing an elegant dress from Paris. The princess says she hopes Kitty will soon have more color in her cheeks, making her face even prettier.

The family also makes the acquaintance of an English lady, a German countess and her wounded war-hero son, a Swedish intellectual, and Monsieur Canut and his sister. Most of the time, though, the Shtcherbatskys are in the company of a lady from Moscow, Marya Yevgenyevna...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 31 Summary

It has been raining all day and the invalids are walking inside the boardwalk. Kitty is walking with her mother and the colonel, trying to avoid Levin who is walking on the other side. Varenka is walking with a blind Frenchwoman, and each time she and Kitty pass they exchange friendly glances. Finally she asks her mother for permission to speak to Mademoiselle Varenka, and the princess agrees to find out more about her and meet her first, though she is not sure what Kitty is attracted to in the girl.

Levin is coming towards them, speaking loudly and angrily to his German doctor. The princess and Kitty turn to go back when suddenly the conversation has turned to shouting. Levin has stopped and is shouting at the doctor,...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 32 Summary

Princess Shtcherbatsky learns more about Mademoiselle Varenka and her connection to Madame Stahl, a woman she does not much like. Madame Stahl is an unhappy woman who has always suffered poor health. After she separated from her husband, she had a child who had died almost immediately. Her family, fearing the news would kill her, substituted another child for her baby. This child was born in the same hospital on the same night, the daughter of the chief cook in the Imperial Household. That child was Varenka.

Later Madame Stahl learned the truth but continued to raise Varenka as her own daughter, and shortly after that all of Varenka’s relations had died. For the past ten years, Madame Stahl has been living more than...

(The entire section is 552 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 33 Summary

Kitty meets Madame Stahl as well as Mademoiselle Varenka, and they not only have a great influence on her life here but her relationship with them helps ease her mental distress as she is exposed to an entirely different world. This world has nothing in common with her past and offers her a vantage point from which she can examine her life’s journey calmly.

One thing Kitty learns is that there is a spiritual life in addition to the physical life which is all she has ever known. This religious aspect of life has little to do with buildings or litanies or priests; instead it is connected to noble thoughts and feelings which are inspiring. Most of this Kitty learns through observation, for little is said explicitly by...

(The entire section is 545 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 34 Summary

Prince Shtcherbatsky has traveled while his wife and daughters stayed near the waters, and now he has returned. While his wife thinks everything about traveling abroad is delightful and she takes on the airs of a sophisticated European lady, the prince finds everything foreign to be detestable and keeps to his Russian habits and acts less European than he really is.

He is much thinner now, but he is in good spirits. When he sees that Kitty has completely recovered, his cheerfulness increases. He is concerned and somewhat jealous when his wife tells him of Kitty’s friendship with Madame Stahl and Mademoiselle Varenka and the resultant change in her, but he is in too positive a frame of mind to stay upset for long. The...

(The entire section is 551 words.)

Part 2, Chapter 35 Summary

After his walk with Kitty, the prince invites everyone in the building to join them for coffee. He remains in excessive good spirits and is lavish both with food and the gifts he purchased on his journey. His spirit is infectious, and Kitty has never seen Varenka helpless with laughter as she is at the prince’s jokes.

Kitty is glad for the good humor but struggles to be lighthearted. Her father has unintentionally caused her to question her views about her friends, and the situation with Petrov is distressing. She feels as she used to as a child when she was being punished in her room and heard her sisters laughing outside.

When Varenka prepares to leave Kitty follows her. Even her hero seems different to...

(The entire section is 547 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

In need of a vacation, Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev goes to visit his half-brother in the country, for he believes the best sort of life is the country life. Levin is glad to see him, especially since his brother Nikolay will not be visiting this summer. However, despite his respect and love for Sergey Ivanovitch, having him visit in the country makes Levin nervous.

The two men see the country and its inhabitants in completely different ways. To Sergey Ivanovitch, the country is a place where he can escape the “corrupt influences” of life in the city, as well as rest from the rigors of working. It is a particularly good place for him because he can do nothing and feel no pangs of conscience for his idleness. To...

(The entire section is 500 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 2 Summary

In early June, Levin's housekeeper, Agafea Mihalovna, slips while carrying some pickled mushrooms down to the cellar and needs a doctor. While the district doctor is at Levin’s house tending to the old woman, he is thrilled to have a chance to spend time in conversation with the renowned Sergey Ivanovitch Koznishev. The particularly talkative young medical student is eager to share his advanced views with the learned man.

The physician shares all the local gossip and scandal and complains about how poorly the district council has been performing. Sergey Ivanovitch listens attentively and offers bits of sage advice to the rapt young man. The physician leaves quite content with his visit. Sergey Ivanovitch now wants to...

(The entire section is 487 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 3 Summary

Sergey Ivanovitch scolds his brother for not being more involved in managing the affairs of the district, but Levin is distracted by the sight of his bailiff in the distance. When his brother asks why he no longer participates in the district council, Levin explains he was unable to accomplish anything when he was part of the council, and he is simply tired of trying.

As Sergey Ivanovitch tries to make him feel guilty for not taking a greater interest in the welfare of the peasants he so loves (something Levin has never claimed), Levin is further distracted by his bailiff, who seems to be letting the peasants leave their plowing. His brother continues his diatribe regarding the need for medical care and schools for the...

(The entire section is 495 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

While his brother philosophizes, Levin thinks about his long-held plan to mow the hay alongside his peasants. It is an activity he finds both calming and satisfying, but he is hesitant to tell Sergey Ivanovitch of his plan and to leave his brother alone for the long days of work. Finally he realizes he is in such a foul temper that he must do the physical work in order to regain his equilibrium.

That evening, Levin sends word that the mowing will begin tomorrow and asks that his scythe be ready, for he intends to work, too. At tea, Levin tells his brother he will be mowing all day tomorrow with the peasants. Sergey Ivanovitch is rather surprised, asking if Levin can do such intense physical labor and if the peasants...

(The entire section is 439 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary

In the afternoon, Levin mows between an old man and a young man. The old man makes the mowing seem as effortless as walking, and the young man smiles whenever anyone looks his way, never admitting how hard the job is for him. As he works between these two men, Levin revels in the sweat that eventually cools him and the sun that gives him the energy to continue. More often than before, he feels as if swinging the scythe is as natural and effortless to him as it is to the experienced mowers; the longer he mows, the more he experiences these unconscious moments. When he looks back, his rows are perfectly cut, and he feels positively blissful.

The most difficult task for Levin is mowing around obstacles in the field. The...

(The entire section is 491 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 6 Summary

The second field is mown. The happy workers begin walking home as Levin rides back to his manor, the sound of rough good humor, laughter, and clanking scythes still ringing in his ears. At the manor, Sergey Ivanovitch has already finished his dinner; when Levin arrives in all his enthusiasm, his brother reacts only to the filth and grime of a day spent in the fields.

Levin is in such good humor that even his brother’s grumbling about the dirt and the flies he is letting into the house cannot ruin his mood. Levin goes to wash and change, and then the two men meet in the dining room. Although Levin is not hungry, he sits down to eat because he does not want to offend his cook. He finds the food especially delicious and...

(The entire section is 514 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 7 Summary

Stepan Arkadyevitch has gone back to St. Petersburg to do what everyone in government service must do—remind the ministry that he exists. Having taken all the family’s available cash with him, he is now spending his days in the city quite enjoyably, being seen at the races and visiting summer villas. In the meantime, his wife and children are spending the summer in the country.

Ergushavo is Darya Alexandrovna’s family lodge, given as her dowry when she married. In her childhood, it had seemed a roomy and comfortable place, but that was twenty years ago; now it is rather old and dilapidated. When he was in the country to sell their forest land, Stepan Arkadyevitch was to have ordered any needed improvements before...

(The entire section is 548 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

Not until the end of May, after Darya Alexandrovna has gotten fairly settled at the lodge, does she receive a letter of apology from her husband for not making better preparations before she and the children arrived. He promises in his letter to come to her as soon as possible, but she should not expect him soon.

On the Sunday of St. Peter’s week, Darya Alexandrovna prepares her children for church so that they can take the sacrament. While she holds rather unorthodox views of religion, she believes in communion for her children; the fact that they have not received the sacrament in over a year troubles her. For several days, Darya Alexandrovna busily chooses her children’s clothing. Though several crises occur in...

(The entire section is 477 words.)

Part 3, Chapter 9 Summary

As they arrive home after bathing in the river, Darya Alexandrovna is delighted to see Levin waiting for them—and he is delighted to see her at this happy moment of contentment with her life. When he looks at her, Levin sees the epitome of a satisfying family life.

As they greet one another warmly, Levin gently scolds her for not letting him know she was in the country. Darya Alexandrovna is surprised that her husband cared enough to send Levin a letter asking him to come to see her. Levin begins to explain his offer to help her in any way but then stops, embarrassed, thinking she may be annoyed at an offer of help from him when it is her husband who should be helping her.

Levin is right. Darya...