Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 27 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 5, Chapter 27 Summary

After the lesson with his tutor, Seryozha daydreams before his Bible history lesson with his father. One of the boy’s favorite things to do is to search for his mother during his walks. He does not particularly believe in death, and his recent experiences help confirm that belief: Lidia Ivanovna told him his mother was dead, his father confirmed it, he accidentally learned Anna Karenina is still alive, and the countess then explained that his mother is only dead to him because she is wicked.

Seryozha cannot believe his mother is evil, so he continues to look for her. Every woman who has Anna Karenina’s figure and dark hair is his mother, and every time he sees such a woman he is moved with tenderness. In his imagination, the woman approaches him, lifts her veil, smiles, and hugs him; he revels in her fragrance, feel the softness of her arms, and cries with happiness. That day there had been such a woman in a lilac veil, and his anticipation was as great as ever as she approached; however, she had just kept walking.

Now, as he waits for his father, Seryozha longs for his mother and daydreams about her. When Alexey Alexandrovitch arrives, his son greets him and congratulates him for the honor he received earlier in the day. When he asks his father if he is glad to have received it, he gets one of his father’s typical lectures on the benefits and rewards of hard work. As always in these moments, Seryozha’s spirit of happiness turns to dull compliance. Alexey Alexandrovitch always talks to his son as if he were some other boy, a boy quite unlike himself; and Seryozha always tries to act like the boy his father has created.

When Seryozha recites his Bible verses to his father, he gets distracted by his father’s bony forehead and transposes two verses, irritating Alexey Alexandrovitch. In response, he delivers a speech of instruction to his son which the boy hears but does not listen to, becoming scared at the end that his father will ask him to repeat something back to...

(The entire section is 549 words.)