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(CN: robbers, murderers)
When the coronavirus lockdowns started last spring, I found books I hadn’t read, including Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and its 2012 film adaptation. The story – Anna, her husband Alexei Karenin is a politician 20 years his senior, and his main work with Count Vronksy – is familiar to most of the readers. While I was thinking about when I would be able to go out in public again, I thought about how the story of Anna and Vronsky blurs the line between public and private life. . Some people may consider the darkness of private and public aspects of life to be quite new, but this story shows that these boundaries can be porous in 19th century Russia – at least in the middle of the aristocracy.
Anna and Vronsky are related to the public. They first met at the train station, and when the relationship turned sexual, they often met at the theater or at the horse race. In the 2012 movie, the two had sex outside in a public place. Although the films from the 2010s are more accurate about sexuality than the novels of the 19th century, this film does not deny the public of their case.
Trains are also common places for Anna and Count Vronsky. In 19th century novels, trains often symbolized the new era. Before railroads were invented, each city kept its own time. After the railroads were built, countries standardized their time. For Tolstoy’s characters, the train was a new thing that changed their lives and connected them to western Europe. Most of the aristocrats in the novel speak French as a second language and watch plays and dramas from western Europe.
Of course, trains are also part of the book’s theme. Anna dies in mass murder, by throwing herself under the train. Perhaps he did this because he felt that he was humiliated in front of the crowd.
As a prince, Alexei Vronsky lives in a liminal space between public and private life. In more recent history, the site has generally done this, but it still happens, especially among the upper class. Vronsky believes that monogamy is only for the poor, “the class of old and ridiculous people. But there is another class of people, the real people. They all belong to this class, and the most important in beauty, grace, brilliancy, manliness, abandoning himself without shame to every passion, and laughing at others. He has contempt for what he think it is right or true.
When the villagers see Vronsky and Anna at the theater, Vronsky can tell that he is “getting the thoughts of the man in the tree.” Publicly sanctioned drugs subject people to scrutiny and public humiliation. Poor people convicted of crimes before the 19th century were often punished with stocks. Anna is not only humiliated but feels socially humiliated.
After they leave the theater, Anna says to Vronsky, leaving, “If you had loved me… Vronsky doesn’t care about public insults and wants Anna to leave Karenin to marry him. . Karenin, Vronsky, and Anna have different opinions and decisions about marriage and infidelity. As a government official, Karenin cares about external appearances above personal happiness .He sees Anna’s actions as humiliation rather than self-belief.
During one of his horse races, Vronsky is thrown from his horse. Anna cries when she falls, then expresses relief when she’s unhurt – showing the audience how deeply she truly feels for him. This is a turning point in the story and his marriage to Karenin.
People have always had other love, but the politics in Anna Karenina are as timeless as the case. At the end of 2012 at The Atlantic, Rich Bellis compared the aristocrats’ overeating in the 2012 film to many of America’s presidential campaigns. Vronsky’s friend Levin, a prince, prefers to work on his farm instead of attending Vronsky’s big events. Levin’s chosen life is the 19th century equivalent of living outside the grid. It was also a way for the shy Levin to escape the public eye.
Today, people with internet experience can aspire to a famous position. People share gossip about celebrity relationships and breakups. Living our lives in public and polluting our public and private lives may seem like a new phenomenon. In past eras, looking and thinking was different and was almost exclusively for aristocrats. Anna Karenina shows the degradation of private lives. Although the details have changed, it is a part of Tolstoy’s story that is as timeless and relevant.
Meaning of Anna KareninaThe First Line
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