Anna Karenina Part 6, Chapter 23 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 6, Chapter 23 Summary

Anna Karenina comes to Dolly’s room. Several times throughout the day, Anna Karenina started to speak about important things but had stopped, saying they will talk later; however, now that the time is here she does not know what to talk about. Finally she begins by asking if Kitty is angry with her.

Dolly assures Anna Karenina that Kitty feels no anger toward her, though she may not have forgiven her. The conversation wanders a bit, and it is clear that Anna Karenina does not want to talk about anything too serious. Dolly finally begins, and Anna Karenina interrupts to ask what Dolly thinks of her and this life. Before Dolly can make a complete answer, Anna Karenina reminds her that she is seeing them at their best. It is summer, and they have many people around them; however, she and Vronsky arrived in the country during the spring and they were quite alone. They will be quite alone again. She asks Dolly to imagine her living here alone without Vronsky, as he is away from home half the time.

Anna Karenina insists she will not ask him to stay home, for when his horses are running he will go. Dolly finally has a chance to speak and does not quite know how to broach the subject of divorce. She hints that Anna Karenina can improve her position by getting married, and Anna Karenina is the first to say the word divorce. She tells Dolly about Princess Betsy, a woman much accepted in society despite the fact that she had an affair; ironically, she would not be seen with Anna Karenina,

Dolly finally articulates Vronsky’s wishes to legitimize his daughter and make Anna Karenina his wife. Dolly applauds Vronsky’s wish to give his children a name. Anna Karenina half-closes her eyes and asks “what children?” Dolly answers that he means baby Anna and those to come, but Anna Karenina assures Dolly there will be no more children because she does not wish it. Seeing the wonder and horror on her friend’s face, she explains that the doctor told her so after her illness.

Dolly is stunned at the news, knowing it is the kind of thing which...

(The entire section is 557 words.)