Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 13 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 4, Chapter 13 Summary

When the women left the dining room, Levin would have liked to have followed Kitty, but he was afraid she would have disliked such obvious attention from him. Instead he sits with the men but watches Kitty’s every movement in the drawing room. Levin keeps the promise he made her to think well of all men. The men’s conversation turns to the idea of a village commune, and the two scholars disagree, of course.

Thinking neither man is right, Levin tries to soften and reconcile their differences. None of the discussion matters to him; he wants only peace between them. All that is important to Levin is in the next room. Heading to the drawing room, he comes to a standstill as he sees Kitty in the doorway with her cousin, smiling at him. She has come to thank him for coming. She wonders aloud why men argue, as a man will never be convinced by another man's argument.

Long ago, Levin discovered that men such as his brother and Pestsov, intelligent people, spend enormous effort, mental energy, and endless words only to finally discover that what they have been struggling to prove to one another was already well known to both. Often when he has been involved in such discussions, he has found himself finally grasping what his opponent likes and then agreeing, only to have the discussion falter and eventually die. On the other hand, he has often formed his own arguments for something he likes and is prepared to defend, only to have his opponent agree with him, thus ending the exchange.

Levin expresses these thoughts poorly to Kitty, and she struggles to understand his thinking; however, as soon as he illustrates his point, she grasps his meaning and expresses his idea much more effectively than he had. Levin is aware of the transition from the scholars' confused, verbose argument to the clear, almost wordless communication of even a complex idea with the woman he loves.

After Kitty’s cousin leaves the room, she and Levin continue the earlier discussion of women’s rights. Levin agrees with...

(The entire section is 536 words.)