Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 29 Summary

Leo Tolstoy

Part 7, Chapter 29 Summary

In the carriage, Anna Karenina is in an even worse frame of mind than when she left home. To all her other torturous experiences is added the mortification of being an outcast, something she felt distinctly when she met Kitty. She imagines both women looking at her as something “dreadful, incomprehensible, and curious.”

Though Anna Karenina intended to confide in Dolly during her visit today, now she thinks it is a good thing she did not. Though she would have concealed it, she is sure Dolly would have felt delight that she is being punished for the happiness for which Dolly once envied her. Anna Karenina knows Dolly thinks she is an immoral woman, realizing that she could have made Stepan Arkadyevitch fall in love with her if she had wanted to. Kitty is the same; she both envies and hates Anna Karenina. They all hate each other.

Outside the carriage window, she sees something amusing and wants to remember to tell someone when she gets home—until she remembers she no longer has anyone to whom she can tell something amusing. Her next thought is that there is nothing amusing anymore; everything is hateful. Even the church exists only to hide the fact that everyone hates everyone else. These are the thoughts that consume Anna Karenina as she rides home, leaving her little time to reflect on her own situation. Only when the carriage pulls up to the house and she sees the porter coming to her does she remember that she had sent Vronsky a telegram and a note.

She asks the porter if there is an answer to her telegram, and he gives her the thin envelope. “I can’t come before ten o’clock. –Vronsky” Anna Karenina confirms that the messenger has not returned, and now she knows what she must do. Feeling a vague fury and craving revenge, she runs up the stairs and into the house. She will go to him and tell him everything before going away forever, for never has she hated anyone as she hates Vronsky at this moment. What she has not considered is that Vronsky may have only received one of her notes to him and has not responded to the second. All she can see is the image of Vronsky at his mother’s house, laughing with the young girl his mother wants him to marry.

Anna Karenina feels an aversion, even a repulsion, for everything she sees. She checks the train schedule and packs a bag for several days, for she knows she will never come back to this house. All the servants, even Annushka, are unhappy with her, but she is finally in the carriage and on her way to the railway station.