Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 28 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 3, Chapter 28 Summary

Levin is stirred by the idea that he is not alone in his dissatisfaction with the current system of managing the land. He determines that the problem can be solved and he must try to solve it. After promising his hostess to stay for another day, Levin goes to Sviazhsky’s study to gather some books on the labor question which his host offered him. As Levin is standing and reading one of the articles, Sviazhsky begins to talk to him about one of the points in the article. As Sviazhsky talks, however, Levin wonders why his friend is so interested in this particular issue and asks him a follow-up question. Sviazhsky has nothing more to offer; it is simply an interesting point to him and he has no interest at all in the why.

Levin wonders again why their national system of farming does not work. Sviazhsky is dismissive, saying peasants are at such a “low stage of rational and moral development” that they are bound to oppose anything new to them. Europe has been able to implement a more rational system of farming because its people are educated; what must happen, then, is simply that Russia’s peasants must be educated. Schools are the answer, he says; however, Levin points out that Sviazhsky believes the peasants are virtually incapable of learning and therefore education will be ineffectual. Sviazhsky says Levin is too much a pessimist and Europe now abounds with schools so education must be the difference.

Frustrated, Levin reminds his host that peasants are poor and ignorant, and education alone is unlikely to do anything but create a desire for things they cannot have because they are poor. It is obvious to him that what has to be cured is what makes the peasants poor. What is needed is an economic organization in which people will have more money and more leisure—then there will be schools. Sviazhsky repeats that schools are obligatory all over Europe before the look of alarm again shows in his eyes, and Levin can see...

(The entire section is 521 words.)