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 forgiveness. When she looks at him she feels a physical rush of humiliation, and there is nothing more to say.
Vronsky feels as if he is a murderer looking at a body he has stolen the life from; in this case, the body he killed was their love, or at least the first stage of their love. He is somewhat revolted at the awful memory of what he gained at the expense of this shame. It has crushed her and poisoned him. Despite that, he must find a way to “use what he has gained by this murder.”
As he holds Anna Karenina, Vronsky covers her face and shoulders with kisses; though she holds his hand, she does not move. He falls to his knees and tries to see her face, but she hides it and still says nothing. Finally, with a great effort, she gets up and pushes him away. Her face is even more pitiful because it is still so beautiful.
She tells Vronsky that everything is over and to remember she now has nothing but him; he tells her he could never forget that which is his entire life. When he begins to speak of his happiness, Anna Karenina interrupts with horror and asks him not to speak another word about happiness. She walks out on him with a look of despair which Vronsky finds incomprehensible.
(The entire section is 542 words.)