Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 7 Summary
by Leo Tolstoy

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Part 8, Chapter 7 Summary

Agafea Mihalovna leaves the nursery on tiptoe; the nurse lowers the blinds and sits down to wave a birch branch over Kitty and her son. Kitty rocks a little and tenderly squeezes Mitya’s plump little hand as it waves feebly. She wants desperately to kiss his hand, but he is wavering between sleeping and waking and she does not want to wake him. Finally Mitya’s hand is still and his eyes close. Occasionally he continues sucking and looks up at his mother with dark, wet eyes that look black in the twilight. The nurse is no longer fanning, as she, too, has fallen asleep.

Above her, Kitty hears her father’s voice and Katavasov’s chuckle. Though she is a bit vexed that Levin is still out while they have guests, she is thankful that he finds contentment in his work. Levin is much happier in every way than he was in the spring; then he was continually gloomy and worried and she felt quite frightened for him.

Kitty knows what is worrying her husband: his unbelief. If anyone had forced her to admit it, based on his unbelief, Kitty knows Levin would be damned if he died today; however, in general his unbelief does not cause her much unhappiness. She understands that there is no salvation for an unbeliever’s soul and she loves Levin’s soul “more than anything in the world,” so when she thinks of his unbelief she convinces herself he is being absurd.

Levin has been reading books on philosophy; he says he would like to believe and Kitty does not understand why he does not believe. Perhaps he is thinking too much, which probably comes from spending too much time alone. Perhaps he will be glad of these visitors. Perhaps Levin will revel in intellectual discussions, especially with the professor.

Her thoughts are disrupted for a moment, but she comes back to one thought: Levin is better off as a true unbeliever than someone who feigns belief. One recent instance of Levin’s goodness...

(The entire section is 513 words.)