Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 32 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 3, Chapter 32 Summary

Nikolay’s gentleness does not last long. The next morning he begins to show his irritability and find fault with his brother. Levin blames himself and does not know how to make things right between them. He feels as if they each need to speak honestly about what they are feeling and thinking—then Levin could acknowledge that his brother is dying and Nikolay could say he is afraid. Nothing more would have to be said for them to know what is in one another’s hearts. But that is not possible, so things continue miserably for both of them; the falseness of one is detected by the other until both are exasperated.

On the third day of his visit, Nikolay induces Levin to tell him again of his plan for agricultural revolution; when Levin explains it, Nikolay attacks it and intentionally “confounds” it with communism. He tells Levin he is simply borrowing an old idea and trying to claim it as his own, distorting it and trying to apply it where it is not applicable. Levin hotly refutes the claim by saying Russia denies the justice of property, capital, and inheritance while he sees the value of them. All he wants to do is regulate labor. Nikolay cites history and says there have always been slaves who eventually worked themselves into higher positions, but Levin says he wants only to find a way to work more productively for himself and for his laborers. His brother claims Levin simply wants to find a way to exploit the peasants while looking like he is not—like he has some grand idea that will justify his using them for his own profit.

At this Levin gets angry and tells Nikolay to leave him alone. Nikolay says he will do just that and prepares to leave. Levin attempts to make things right between them, but Nikolay will not be mollified and declares it is better if they part. It is clear to Levin that life has simply become unbearable to Nikolay. Finally Levin goes...

(The entire section is 523 words.)