SPOILER ALERT: I discuss the contents of Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. If you plan on reading the novel, do not read this. I would not want the novel to be spoiled, or taint your own reactions with my own.
I will give it to Tolstoy. For a novel that is almost 1000 pages long, he captured my attention for the entirety of Anna Karenina. This is something that more recent authors fail to do, like William S. Burroughs. The relationships between characters (between minor-minor, minor-major, and major-major characters) are thoroughly complicated, i.e. these relationships are three-dimensional. Not only are these relationships real, but the characters themselves are complex as well.
Because this novel was written so well, so many aspects of it infuriated me. Everyone who was around me during the reading of A.K. endured long rants about these ‘aspects.’ I have tried to keep a cool head because the novel is written by a man in the 1800s in Russia.. so there will be things that a female of the 21st century may disagree with. But there is only so much leniency given to anyone by someone..
Let’s discuss my biggest headache… the reason for this novel… Anna Karenina herself. Tolstoy paints this woman as charming and beautiful. This painting is SO well done, that I even start to fall in love with her. She’s a woman any man would be proud to be married to. But for some reason… her husband acts like he doesn’t want her around, except for her role in society as his wife. This can be trying for anyone. I feel for Anna, I really do. Then Vronsky comes into the picture.. This soldier; this egotistical, BALDING, well-to-do man. I really don’t understand, but Anna and Vronsky hit it off. Maybe I’m just jealous, but at this point I’m already in love with Anna and KNOW that I’d be a better match. Let me explain why I think this. First, Vronsky is leading poor little Kitty on to think he is in love with her and will propose to her. He crushes her, just so you know. Like the d*** he is. To do this, he starts chasing after Anna KNOWING that she’s married. I can’t blame him there, I was at the point of doing the same thing. However, the first time a girl tells me no, I back the hell off. Vronsky does not. Vronsky continues to pursue the briefly allusive Anna, and in the end completely ruins her life. Of course, Vronsky cannot be the only one to blame. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Anna is the one with the choice to completely avoid Vronsky’s social circle. She is also the one with the choice to NOT be unfaithful. She is the one who decides to NOT get divorced from her husband, and STILL goes abroad with her lover. Because of these decisions, she must sacrifice her son. Poor little Seryozha. What the hell did she think was going to happen? Even now, if a stay-at-home parent is unfaithful and goes off with his/her lover for months on end… COURTS WOULD NOT AWARD CUSTODY. This woman… the woman I held up on such a high pedestal because she seemed attentive and intelligent… this woman has shown herself to be attentive to only HER needs and ignorant to the consequences of fulfilling those needs. The consequence is losing her son.. the only person who truly loved her without an ulterior motive. Once Anna realizes what she has done, she isn’t happy with the life she is living. She becomes this possessive, highly insecure girlfriend. This vengeful woman. She clings to Vronsky so tight because he is the last thing she has left.. even though they have a daughter and Anna completely ignores her showing that Anna is just as selfish as Vronsky… maybe they are perfect together. We’ll never know. Because, out of desperation for attention, this dumb b**** takes a book out of Vronsky’s page and tries to kill herself. Except she’s successful. After reading almost the entire book, Anna JUMPS UNDER A TRAIN. WHAT THE EFF?! How do you name the book after a character who dies before the end… The only thought that Anna has before she jumps is that Vronsky will love her more now… Okay. I understand people actually do this in real life.. and I am not insensitive to these people’s pain. But this is a book.. I’m allowed to gawk at her stupidity, right? Please tell me I’m not a terrible person for thinking this…
*sighs* I guess this novel would have been less interesting if Anna and Vronsky ended up happily ever after.
I still think, though, that the story is brilliantly written, and obviously took some master craftsmanship on Tolstoy’s part. I wanted to give this novel justice. Find supporting quotes for my statements. Give an in-depth discussion of everything. Then I remembered there is 1000 pages, and I REALLY didn’t want to go through the book again. SO I decided to just share my own personal recap of this novel… how I will forever remember what A.K. is about.
Share if you disagree. Share if you agree.