Part 6, Chapter 24 Summary
Dolly says she must legalize her position, but Anna Karenina does not want to talk about anything concerning her husband. When Dolly tells her she should not always take a gloomy view of things, Anna Karenina insists she is always cheerful—and she even has an admirer in Veslovsky. Dolly says she is not impressed with the man’s tone, but Anna Karenina insists he is just a boy and she has him quite under control. Suddenly the conversation turns again, and she tells Dolly that there is not one moment when she does not think about marrying Vronsky and it is likely to drive her mad. She often has to take morphine to sleep.
They finally talk about divorce. Anna Karenina says she has thought about it a thousand times and knows that Alexey Alexandrovitch will not give her a divorce because he is now under the influence of Countess Lidia Ivanovna. If she does write, she will humiliate herself; but even if he consents, she will lose her son. Seryozha will grow up to despise her just like his father, whom she abandoned. She loves Seryozha and Vronsky equally and she loves them both more than herself. By this time, Anna Karenina is shaking with emotion
It is clear to her that she cannot have both people she loves with her together, for having one excludes the other. It is the only thing she wants, and since she cannot have that she cares about nothing else. This is why she cannot and does not talk about it; she asks Dolly not to judge or blame her because she cannot understand everything she is suffering. Then she sits quietly down next to Dolly. She asks what Dolly is thinking and begs her not to despise her then turns away and bursts into tears.
Left alone, Dolly says her prayers and goes to bed. While she had felt for Anna Karenina with all her heart while she was speaking to her, now she cannot even force herself to think of her. She dreams of her home and her children, things that now seem so sweet and precious that she does not want to spend another moment...
(The entire section is 552 words.)