Leo Tolstoy

Start Free Trial

What are some stories by Tolstoy about happy relationships?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the few such relationships in Tolstoy's body of work is the marriage of Levin and Kitty in Anna Karenina. This is in spite of the occasional, troubled episodes between them we are shown. When Levin speaks to Anna almost by chance near the close of the story, Kitty senses that "that woman has bewitched you!" She recalls that it was Anna who had "taken" Vronsky away from her after she, Kitty, had first rejected Levin in anticipation of a proposal from Vronsky which, of course, never came. It was a long time, Tolstoy tells us, before either Kitty or Levin was able to get to sleep that night because of this one seemingly harmless incident.

The key point may be that every relationship, even a happy one, is bound to be filled with arguments and dissatisfaction. In the midst of a stable marriage, Levin even contemplates killing himself. Tolstoy throughout his oeuvre makes the point over and over again that long-term marital happiness is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

In War and Peace, the two marriages that occur at the end of the immense story are those of Pierre and Natalie, and Nicholas and Princess Maria. We're led to believe these marriages are working out, though the odd thing is that these are about the most unexpected pairings one could have imagined. Pierre's first marriage to Helene (whom he had decided was a "depraved" woman) had been a disaster. The betrothal of Natalie to Bolkonsky (Princess Maria's brother) had been broken up by Helene's brother, who had almost succeeded in getting Natalie to elope with him. Nevertheless the unexpected resolution is a domestic counterpart to the happiness of Europe, finally at peace after so many years of bloodshed.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team