Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 14 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 5, Chapter 14 Summary

After three months, Levin’s life is not as he had expected it to be. He finds his former dreams disappointed while experiencing new and unexpected surprises of happiness. Levin is happy, but family life is not what he expected it to be. It is as if he had been admiring a little boat floating on a lake and now he is in the boat, discovering that there are things he must do to maintain balance, account for the fluidity of water, steer a safe course, and deal with sore hands. Looking at it was easy; actually doing it is quite delightful but quite difficult.

He always though the petty squabbles and quarrels he had seen in other marriages were for others, and he had smiled contemptuously, knowing his married life would be different. His idealistic view of marriage was that he would do the work and find his rest in the happiness of his love, and his wife would be beloved of him and nothing more. Levin, like most men, did not account for a woman’s equal desire to work.

From their first days of marriage, Levin is surprised that Kitty is so consumed by every detail of keeping their house. He loves her, but he does not understand Kitty’s need to involve herself in every detail of running their home. It is a new experience for Kitty to be able to order anything she likes in whatever quantities she wishes without having to answer to anyone. Kitty is delighted at the thought of her sister Dolly and all of her children coming to visit them, imagining herself ordering all of their favorite foods and making them feel comfortable in her home. It is evident that Kitty senses the coming of spring and potentially rough weather and is making haste to build her nest as she is learning how to build it.

At first this is one of the unpleasant surprises Levin is disappointed to discover about his wife; however, it is now one of the happiest surprises. Another example of a disappointment-turned-surprise is their quarreling. Their first spat arose from Levin’s...

(The entire section is 552 words.)