Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 2, Chapter 9 Summary

Anna Karenina comes up the stairs and her face is brilliant and glowing, though not out of brightness; instead it hints at a conflagration on a dark night. When she sees her husband still up, she smiles as though she has just woken up and tells him it is late and he should be in bed. Alexey Alexandrovitch tells her he must have a talk with her.

She speaks as if she is surprised and as she sits down, suggesting that he would be better off sleeping than talking. Anna Karenina is speaking without thinking and she is surprised at her own capacity for lying, at how simple and easy it is for her to mask the truth. Alexey Alexandrovitch begins his prepared lecture by telling her he must warn her about something.

The look his wife gives him appears so simple and bright that anyone else would not have noticed anything unnatural about it. To him, though, there is a terrible falseness. This is the wife who notes every nuance of his and has always communicated her every joy, pleasure, and pain; to see her now, neither noticing his state of mind nor speaking of her own feelings at all, means something is terribly wrong. The “inmost recesses of her soul,” always so open to him before, are now closed against him. Even more, it is as if she is telling him that he cannot reach her and she does not care that it is so now—and will continue to be so in the future.

He starts again, telling her that her animated private conversation with Vronsky that evening attracted too much attention. Anna Karenina deliberately deflects this warning by laughing and saying one time he scolds her for being dull and now for being too lively. Tonight she was not dull and wonders if that offended him. When he does not answer, she wonders what he wants from her. Alexey Alexandrovitch pauses and realizes his prepared warning speech has turned into his own agitation over matters which should be dealt with by her conscience. He...

(The entire section is 535 words.)