Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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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 him. He has found great success in his post because of his ready willingness to overlook the flaws of others (because he is perfectly aware of his own shortcomings) and his liberalism in treating everyone in exactly the same manner, regardless of money or position. He also conducts his business with complete indifference and therefore never makes mistakes.

Now Stepan Arkadyevitch is at a board meeting when suddenly the glass doors of the board room open and someone enters the room. The doorkeeper immediately takes the intruder out of the room and closes the glass doors behind him. The meeting continues until the group breaks for lunch when Stepan Arkadyevitch discovers the intruder is an old friend of his, Levin.

Levin is a tall, broad-shouldered man with a curly beard. Levin owns a lot of land in the country, and Stepan Arkadyevitch is so happy to see his friend that he kisses him rather than shakes his hand. The visitor is shy and looks around angrily. Stepan Arkadyevitch knows his friend is terribly sensitive and shy, so he takes Levin into his office. The two men have known one another since they were young, and each of them secretly despises the path the other has chosen and the life the other...

(The entire section is 508 words.)