What makes a book a classic? Is it a book that stands the test of time or is it some book that represents the period it was written in. Is it a book that has universal appeal or the one that touches our core and basic our emotions? Is it a book that merges themes under stood by a wide range of people or simply a book that is old? Whatever you think is a classic; everything is included in the renowned Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina is a story of the beautiful but unhappily married Anna and her tragic affair with the dashing Count Vronsky.
In the Imperial Russia, Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The gut-wrenching tragedy of Anna’s story contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround her, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together. If you think simply an old and still famous book is a classic then Anna Karenina is definitely a classic being an old book that has survived through 137 years and still is rated 4 stars in goodreads.
The novel was originally written in Russian and published in 1877 but has been translated to English 11 times and been adapted into 14 films, countless opera’s, 2 television series, ballets and radio drama, which is quite a list! Anna Karenina in the first glance is obviously a love story, which we all can relate to but the book goes a lot deeper with themes like Jeolausy, Faith, hypocrisy, society which we all can relate to even after a century.
Jealousy, a thing each and every single person in this room has felt countless times, either if it for your sibling getting the better present or your crush dating someone else. Jealousy is another major themes in the novel, which is depicted through the three couples in the book: Dolly and Oblonsky, Kitty and Levin, and Anna and Vronsky. The book gives the reader a message that traveled through time and is still valid: the less the jealousy, the more success. Dolly is jealous when Oblonsky is unfaithful but she represses this feeling for the good of their children and their home, and they stay together as a result.
Levin and Kitty are jealous of each other at first, but as they grow into themselves and their relationship, their jealousy fades and their bond strengthens. Finally, Anna's relationship with Vronsky is destroyed by her all-consuming jealousy. Faith is also another theme in Anna Karenina that still relates to the people in the society today. Whether you believe in God or not, still there is that one time where you think about your beliefs and faiths and question, whether you find your answer or not, but you still think about it.
Even I, being a believer of God sometimes question myself that how can I trust something that I doesn’t exist scientifically. These inner turmoil periods that everybody passes through is represented in Anna Karenina by Levin. His words such as, “Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life’s impossible; and that I can’t know, and so I can’t live” show some of the innermost thoughts of people and their battle between different faiths and different beliefs. Hypocrisy, as defined in dictiory. om as a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude, is a major theme in the books Anna Karenina with various quotes such as “It’s God to judge them, not for us” (2940). This indicates to the reader that us, being imperfect are not allowed to judge someone else however the hypocrisy in the imperial Russia is symbolized by everybody else judging Anna after she elopes with Vronsky. Princess Betsy is a great example of hypocrisy in the novel. Hypocrisy is also a theme that we can relate to because if we stand up to it or not, we all have been a hypocrite about something.
Society similar to hypocrisy is a thing that we can all relate to because we live in multiple societies, whether the JIS society or your friends outside school, we all want to belong somewhere and we will do some crazy things to belong. Same theme applies in Anna Karenina when Russian High Society comes in for a beating in Anna. The hypocrisies and petty, small-minded beliefs of Society are painstakingly documented from their condemnation of Anna to their crusade to 'save' the Slavs at the end of the book.
But Tolstoy also offers an amazing portrayal of Society's rules and rituals: dinners, balls, parties, horse-riding and croquet games. And social interaction is vital to the health of a relationship: one of the major reasons why Anna is so jealous of Vronsky is because he has the freedom to move in society, whereas she has been cast out from society. And many people who have been cast out by the society can relate to this therefore Anna Karenina is a classic which has travelled through times endlessly and will still be relatable to us with topics like Jealousy, Society, Hypocrisy and Faith which can never die.