Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

The ruling society of St. Petersburg is one social set comprising several distinct social circles. Anna Karenina moves within three of them. She knows her husband’s government colleagues well, but their masculine, political world does not interest her. She avoids this group whenever she can.

Anna Karenina had been more interested in the social circle that helped make her husband’s career possible: older women—benevolent, ugly, godly, and elderly—and ambitious, clever, educated men. At the center is Countess Lidia Ivanovna. Alexey Alexandrovitch esteems these people most highly. Anna Karenina has also made friends in this circle; however, since her return from Moscow, it seems she and they are all quite insincere, and she has begun to avoid them, particularly the countess.

The third social circle with whom Anna Karenina associates is the world of the fashionable. These people cling tightly to the crown and the court to avoid falling into a lower social sphere. Her connection to this world is her cousin’s wife, Princess Betsy Tverskaya, who enjoys an outrageously large yearly income. At first Anna Karenina avoided the princess because associating with her required spending money Anna did not have and because she preferred the first group; however, since her return from Moscow, she most prefers the fashionable circle.

Now she avoids her serious-minded friends and spends her time with members of the fashionable group because Vronsky is Tverskaya’s cousin. Anytime Vronsky has a chance to see Anna Karenina, he attends the event and takes the opportunity to speak to her of his love. Although she never encourages him, she is aware of her delight in his presence, a feeling she is unable to hide.

At first, Anna Karenina really believed she was unhappy with Vronsky for following her to St. Petersburg; however,...

(The entire section is 470 words.)