Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anna Karenina: Part Two Summary

Part Two Summary

Kitty is heart broken.  Dolly perceives Kitty’s true misery is associated to her rejection of Levin’s proposal and Vronsky's deception.  Kitty goes away to Germany to recover.

Meanwhile, of Anna's social circles her favorite is “the fashionable world with balls and dinners,” led by the fun and entertaining Betsy Tverskaya, who is Vronsky’s cousin.

Anna admits her feelings for trouble

Anna only thinks Vronsky’s pursuit of herself bothers her, until one night she is disappointed about his no-show.  Now she seriously considers her feelings for him.

At Betsy's, several guests talk about Anna.  They say she has changed since she has returned from Moscow, and that she has brought back a “shadow” named Vronsky.

What is love?

When Anna arrives, the hot topic turns to love.  One guest remarks that the happiest marriages are those arranged.  Vronsky argues for passion.  Betsy says you can only love after correcting a mistake.  And everyone agrees with repentance in marriage.  What does Anna think?  She thinks there are many kinds of love.  What does that mean?

It means this is a great segue to tell Vronsky that Kitty is “ill,” and for him to leave her (Anna) alone; but she is not being honest, and Vronsky can see right through to her true feelings.

When Anna’s husband arrives, she remains with Vronsky, making her husband look like a fool.  Vronsky knows he’s making great strides for Anna’s affections.

Home alone, Alexey councils himself how to handle Anna.  He settles on three supporting evidences against her behavior.  When she arrives, he confronts her and only gets through the first point before she plays ignorant.  When he brings up love, she is sure he is only concerned for his own public image.  The conversation ends without resolution.  Anna is full of “guilty delight.”

Anna does what she wants and pays for it

Chapter ten is short and bitter: Anna is going to do what she wants to, and Alexey can do nothing about it.  Period.

Anna and Vronsky cross the line!  For her, it is a shameful sin; and Vronsky is a murderer! 

Stephan is still stealing "rolls"

One day Stephan Oblonsky visits with Levin, who still feels the sting of Kitty's rejection.  Stephan admits to having affairs, which he calls “new rolls when one has had one’s rations of bread—“ because Stephan doesn’t “count life as life without love.”  He calls  “that” love.  Levin does not agree.  Levin asks about Kitty, and learns of her fate, which upsets him. 

Vronsky's second passion

Vronsky has a second passion: horses, and he is scheduled to participate in the steeplechase.  Before the race, Vronsky finds an excuse to see Anna, and on the way he reads a letter from his mother concerned about his affair with Anna.  He is bothered by her opinion, but he knows she is right.  And he does not want the added burden of hiding the relationship.  He wants Anna and him to go public.

The consequence

Oh, great! Anna is pregnant; but Vronsky cannot feel the same way about such news the way Anna does.  He tells her that he wants her to leave her husband and live with him, but she cannot talk of such things.

Back to the race: the race is Vronsky’s until the very end when he makes a mistake and causes his horse to fall, which breaks her spine.  She must be put down.  It is a first great misfortune for Vronsky, and he carries this burden for a long time.

Anna lovingly tells Alexey about Vronsky

During the race, Anna concentrates on Vronsky, while she knows her husband is watching her; but she cannot bring herself to turn away.  Anna is upset about Vronsky’s fall, and her husband takes her home.  In the carriage, Anna tells Alexey that she is in love with Vronsky; is his mistress; and that she hates her husband.  Ouch!

Kitty learns a moral lesson

Kitty is in Germany recovering.  She pursues a friendship with a Russian woman named Varenka who cares for Madame Stahl.  Varenka is a selfless person, always helping others.   Kitty admires Varenka, especially since she has had a similar situation happen regarding a man she loved.  Kitty wants to know how she avoids her shame and instead projects peace and calm. 

Kitty notices how Varenka serves and pleases others, and she adopts Varenka’s ways hoping to feel and appear like a good person; but it back fires.

When Kitty’s father arrives to visit her, he teaches her that it is “better when one does good so that you may ask every one and no one knows.” 

Kitty realizes that all her good works were a sham just to look like a better person, but really she was being a liar.  Her charity did not come from the heart.  Now her eyes are open.  Kitty is cured; and back to Russia she goes.


  1. I'm not reading this post since I'm just finishing up part one (and need to get a blog post up about it!) but I just wanted to say,"Bravo!" I'm amazed at how quickly you get through these books! What's your secret?

  2. Thanks! I feel like I am not able to read as much as I want because I am only able to read about two or three chapters at night since the whole day I am home schooling, etc. And some days I cannot even read b/c we are out all day. Maybe on weekends I am able to read more. But I am so glad they are short chapters. I look forward to reading your blog post about AK.

  3. Excellent recap. I enjoy reading your summaries so much more than going over my own journal entries. I come here to review!

    1. Thanks, Christine. AK has been my favorite to write summaries for b/c I think Tolstoy is straightforward and comprehensible (at least on the grammar level).