Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 1 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 5, Chapter 1 Summary

The wedding will take place before Lent. Though only half of Kitty’s trousseau will be finished, she has an aunt who is near death, and if the wedding does not happen soon, it will have to be further postponed by a period of family mourning. Kitty is content, knowing she will not need fancy clothing to live in the country; Levin is happy to leave all the planning to others and is guided by his brother, Stepan Arkadyevitch, and the princess. He agrees to everything they suggest, content in his state of bliss.

Kitty does not want to go abroad after the wedding, knowing how important the country is to Levin and eager to begin her new life in her new home; though Levin finds her insistence on this a bit surprising, he asks Stepan Arkadyevitch to go and make all the necessary preparations for bringing his bride to his country home.

Levin is reminded that he must have a certificate of having been at confession before he can get married, and it is a distasteful thing for him to have to be either a liar or a scoffer since he is not a religious man. There are only four days until the wedding, and it is a requirement that Levin must meet; so he consents. It is an uncomfortable rite for him, and at first he tries to view it as nothing but an empty custom in which he must participate.

Soon Levin realizes he can neither believe in the significance of confession nor regard it as a religious formality, so as he prepares for the sacrament, he feels uncomfortable and ashamed because he does not understand it, and it is therefore false and wrong. He attends every service of the church for an entire day before arriving for his confession at eight o’clock in the morning.

As the confession progresses, Levin turns his thoughts to other (more pleasant) things as the exhortation is celebrated. After Levin unobtrusively slips the deacon a three-rouble note as a gift to the church, he is beckoned to the altar and met by an old priest who asks him if he believes in...

(The entire section is 548 words.)