Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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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. When he left suddenly, she was vindicated in her belief that he is not the man for her daughter.

Vronsky, on the other hand, is everything Kitty’s mother wants for her and would be a brilliant match. Despite his consistent flirtation with Kitty, however, he has not made an official offer. Princess Shtcherbatsky had already been married three years at her daughter’s age, and the marriage was arranged by her parents. Things have changed since then, and she is slightly confused by it. She knows parents must protect their daughters’ reputations, but that was much easier to do with their older daughters. Girls today pursue interests in clubs and programs, mix freely with men in society, and often drive around unaccompanied.

Even worse, Kitty’s mother is no longer sure how marriages are made. The French way of parents’ arranging them is not acceptable, nor is the English way of girls’ marrying independently of their parents’ wishes. The Russian way of making matches through intermediates is “considered unseemly” and is ridiculed by the world. It is easy for those without daughters to say that girls should be able to choose their own husbands; those people do not realize the risks. In short, she is much...

(The entire section is 508 words.)