Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 33 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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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 either woman about outward expressions of faith.

Despite this, Kitty is often confused by some of Madame Stahl’s ways. She speaks of her family with contempt, for example, and that is certainly not a particularly Christian thing to do. Varenka, however, makes Kitty realize that one must forget about oneself and love others to find nobility and happiness—and these are things she longs to do.

Now that she sees her goal more clearly, Kitty immediately throws herself wholeheartedly into making the necessary changes in her life to achieve it. After watching Varenka, she constructs her own plan to seek out those who need help and offer it to them. These are secret dreams, though, and she does not reveal them to anyone.

She does not have to wait until she gets back to Moscow to begin, as there are hurting people to help where she is. At first, Kitty’s mother just notices her daughter is emulating Varenka’s mannerisms, but soon she notices a kind of spiritual change in Kitty. She does good things like read her Bible and help people in need, such as aiding the family of a sick painter named Petrov. But princess Shtcherbatsky is concerned that Kitty is rushing to extremism.

Kitty does not know how it is possible to exaggerate Christianity and refuses to...

(The entire section is 545 words.)