Part Five Summary
Levin and Kitty tie the knot
In preparation for the wedding, Stephan, of all people, reminds Levin that he must go to confession, in which Levin tells the priest that he has doubts about God. And later, his bachelor brother and friend ask Levin if he is prepared to relinquish all of his freedoms? Our good man Levin contemplates that he is glad at the loss of his freedom to be married forever to Kitty.
But, oh, no! Levin is having doubts about Kitty’s love for him, as he cannot believe that SHE would want to spend the rest of her life with him. He goes to see her for reassurance and provides her an opportunity to confess anything on her heart. But there is nothing to reveal.
The wedding goes off with hitches, poor Levin! But once he is there, and the ceremonies begin, Levin is deep in thought and speechless about what is actually happening. Meanwhile, the male and female guests have different views about marriage: the men make jokes; and the women want to protect Kitty from the double standards. After the wedding, the newlyweds head to the country house.
Vronsky and Anna bored in Italy
Vronsky and Anna have been in Italy for three months. It works for Anna because she is not burdened by her dishonor; but Vronsky is bored. Since Vronsky has taken up painting, they visit a local Russian artist, Mihailov, who paints Anna’s portrait. Mihailov’s paintings of Russia call them back to their home country.
Nikolay is dying
Ah, the newlyweds, Levin and Kitty, experience typical marital impediments, and Levin is concerned that married life has caused him to become idle. Then one day he receives a letter that Nikoly is on his deathbed. Levin wants to go alone to see him, but Kitty is insistent upon accompanying him. Levin finds Kitty to be a hindrance, and he does not want his innocent Kitty to meet his ill brother.
And yet, while Levin is uneasy, loathing, and paralyzed, Kitty is proactive and pities Nikolay. Kitty is motivated to change Nikolay’s environment and alleviate some of his suffering to make him comfortable. Kitty does not think of herself; she demonstrats her care for others. Levin should be impressed. Finally, Nikolay passes away and Kitty learns that she is pregnant.
Alexey is gloomy. His career is over, and he has no friends to confide in, except Countess Lidia Ivanovna, who loves him. She entreats him to trust in Jesus. Anna has returned to St. Petersburg and wants to see her son, but Lidia spitefully convinces Alexey not to allow Anna to see him.
Anna rebells against high society
In St. Petersburg, Anna visits her son anyway, and they are overjoyed to be reunited. Before leaving, she unexpectedly confronts Alexey. Meanwhile, Anna is miserable because friends and Vronsky’s family members reject her. The world cannot accept her because she is not divorced from Alexey or married to Vronsky.
Nonetheless, Anna goes to the opera that evening, against Vronsky’s warnings that her behavior is rebellion toward the standards of high society. And sure enough, she is affronted and made to look like a fool. It is evident they must leave St. Petersburg.