Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 31 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 5, Chapter 31 Summary

Though she had prepared for it, Anna Karenina is stunned at how deeply seeing her son has affected her. She is too distracted to dress or eat, and only when the Italian nurse brings baby Anna to her does she exhibit some life. While she touches her happy and well fed little girl in all the affectionate and appropriate ways, Anna Karenina realizes more than ever that the feeling she has for this child cannot be called love when compared with what she feels for her son.

Everything about this baby girl is charming, but that is as far as it goes with Anna Karenina. The circumstances surrounding baby Anna’s birth had been painful, and for this little girl everything is still in the future. Though Seryozha had been born to an unloved father, his mother had concentrated all her love on him and he now has a personality with which she can connect. There is a sense of conflict in him: he loves her unconditionally but cannot be with her, and it is impossible for him to set things right.

Anna Karenina gets out all her pictures of Seryozha, and as she gathers them she sees a photograph of Vronsky. A rush of love washes over her and she realizes she has not thought about him all morning; now she wonders where he is and why he has left her alone in her misery. Quickly she reproaches herself for the thought, remembering that she had not told him everything concerning her son. She immediately sends a message to Vronsky’s room, asking him to come see her.

The messenger returns with the request from Vronsky that his guest, Prince Yashvin, come with him. Anna Karenina is upset that she has not seen her lover since dinner the night before and now, when she wants to tell him everything, he is coming with someone else. All at once she begins to think that perhaps Vronsky has stopped loving her.

As she reviews the events of the past few days, Anna Karenina imagines that everything confirms this terrible...

(The entire section is 530 words.)