Starting at 864 pages, Tolstoy Anna Karenina difficult to summarize in a 750-word essay. That said, in short, Tolstoy’s longest novel—considered the best of all time by many—tells the story of two romantic relationships. There’s Anna and Vronksy, who’s caught in a lie and finally implodes, and there’s Kitty and Levin, who struggle at the beginning but grow into a beautiful and sweet marriage. And on top of that, the book’s two female leads, Anna and Kitty, couldn’t be more different.
Famous beauty Anna, a confident, cunning, ambitious woman; free-spirited and thoughtful, but deceitful and cruel when it suits him. She uses her beauty and charm with skill—and she’s happy. Kitty seems to be more humble and innocent, blinded and angered by the deceit and violence that is spreading in the high society. It’s tempting to compare Kitty to sweet and light and Anna, of course, just not.
But Anna and Kitty share some common traits. And I believe that it is in their similarities that one of the most profound messages of the book can be found: heroines are not born, they are made; Benefits are not real, they are won through perseverance and hard work.
Jealousy, one could argue, was the cause of Anna’s downfall. What starts with a few words of jealousy grows into a great trust. In the end, there is “nothing for his jealousy,” Anna is “watching over him,” and “little by little he shifts his jealousy from one object to another.” So, with a jealous and revengeful heart he met his death. But the truth is, jealousy is as big a problem for Kitty (and Levin, for that matter) as it is for Anna. As newlyweds, Kitty and Levin are both jealous and dysfunctional. For example, their first fight as a married couple is when Levin comes home and is met with “a torrent of insults, of foolish jealousy” because he is no more than before “leaving half an hour long.”
One of Anna’s most unique characteristics is that—unlike many other beautiful women in literature—she is acutely aware of her beauty and the effect it has on men and women. Almost immediately, without any solid evidence and even though he is married, Anna can sense Vronsky’s interest in her. And Vronsky wasn’t the only one. When she meets the artist Mihailov, “Anna knows from his eyes that he wants to look at her.” Similarly, she can see that her sister-in-law Dolly thinks she is “better,” because her “eyes tell her.” He goes out of his way to impress Levin when he meets him and can tell when he is successful.
Kitty doesn’t use her beauty as much as Anna (or even close), but she definitely knows it, and it’s fun to watch it happen. After she had dressed to go to the ball, we are told that Kitty’s eyes sparkled, and her red lips could not keep from smiling at the sight of her own beauty. Later, when a young gay man reveals his indiscretions, Kitty cannot hide “the mild pleasure which the young man’s great admiration gives her.”
These similarities might be important, but I don’t think so. When reading stories about beautiful women, I often find myself wondering what separates them from the rest of the story. Most of the time, it is not the over-commitment to the right action that leads them because it is a natural behavior that makes the wrongdoing unappealing. These heroines can’t avoid things like being lazy and stupid simply because they don’t have the weaknesses that would have attracted them to such behavior in the first place. They do not fall into the trap of vanity or self-restraint because they are really separated from their beauty, especially the lack of awareness and its effect on people. other. They are independent, self-reliant women, as they should be, driven out by evil.
What makes it different
But what about those of us who aren’t the beacons of integrity and self-confidence we’d like to be? Those who avoid being lazy and lazy (when we work avoid it) by simply resisting temptation vigorously? Who struggles to ignore our views and what others think of us? Can we be the heroine of our own story?
This is what makes the cultural statement of Anna Karenina very special. Kitty is successful, not because of the natural goodness that protects her from the temptations of things like jealousy and vanity, but because of the strength of will and the will not to fail his passions. Anna destroys herself not only because of jealousy and vanity, but because she allows these and other things to control her. In other words, it was not a tragic accident that Anna ended up with, but a mistake. This concludes a beautiful statement about the nature of a good woman: the main thing is not the lack of temptation, but the desire and desire to avoid it.