Anna Karenina Study Guide

Anna Karenina Study Guide

Original title:
Анна Каренина
October 16th 2012 by Vintage (first published April 1877)
ISBN 0345803922 (ISBN13: 9780345803924)

There’s an eternal battle over which of the Leo Tolstoy creations is more of a masterpiece: “Anna Karenina” or “War and Peace”. And while the latter will never loose its historic and political interest, “Anna Karenina” in its turn will live forever thanks to the glorifying concepts of female roles and family relationships of the late 1870s.

The book explored the same politics, but not from the war, crime, peace and punishment perspectives. “Anna Karenina” talks about Russian feudal system, religious life, innovative estate management, marriage and family relationships. It’s an encyclopedia of Russian social and moral standing of that time. The best writers of both Russian and world literature, among which Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, Faulkner, and others, have praised the novel’s writing style and realistic fiction genre execution.

The story begins with a great mess in the family caused by the doubtful relationships of Stiva Oblonsky. While trying to fix her brother’s family, Anna finds her own sin. Being a woman and thus an object for stereotypes, when Mrs. Karenina becomes engaged in an affair with Count Vronsky, she experienced much less tolerance and condonation toward herself. 

At the same time, Konstantin Levin is counting Anna’s friend, who is madly in love with Anna’s lover. After some time he manages to conquer the girl’s heart and the two learn to function together as a couple. 

Anna’s behavior might seem typical and boring at first. You will be surprised how each chapter unfolds. The novel is everything but predictable. There will be moments when you support the heroine and moments when you strongly disagree with her choices. But the author always protects the character’s right to act in a certain way and shows the reason behind it.

Do you still consider the aristocratic life of the late 19th century dull and unimaginative? Then start reading “Anna Karenina” now. It’s exciting, thrilling, fascinating and serious at the same time. 

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