Friday, November 2, 2012

Anna Karenina: Part Eight Conclusion


Yay!  I have finished Anna Karenina.  Here is my final summary:

A little blurb about Anna

Sergey Ivanovitch is traveling with his friend Katavosov to visit Levin, and on the train they observe volunteers headed to Serbia to fight the Turks. 

At the station, Sergey speaks with Vronsky’s mother, who is traveling with Vronsky, also headed to Serbia and leading his own group of volunteers.  She tells Sergey how Vronsky has suffered after Anna’s suicide, and she adds, “…hers was the fitting end for such a woman.  Even the death she chose was low and vulgar.”

When Vronsky emerges from his car, he tells Sergey that as a man, he is a wreck.  As a man, he is useless.  All his memories with Anna have been poisoned forever.  His daughter was taken from him to be raised by Anna’s husband, Alexey.  Nothing is worth living for now.

Sergey and Katavosov continue on to Levin’s estate. 

It's all about Levin's search for answers to life's questions

Kitty has pondered Levin’s unbelief.  He has searched for answers to life’s questions in philosophical and scientific books but they were dead ends because 1.) religion still exists and 2.) these books did not answer his essential questions about life. 
He was miserably divided against himself, and strained all his spiritual forces to the utmost to escape from this condition.
He must escape from this power.  And the means of escape every man had in his own hands.  He had but to cut short this dependence on evil.  And there was one means—death. 
And Levin, a happy father and husband, in perfect health, was several times so near suicide…
But Levin did not shoot himself, and did not hang himself; he went on living.
So is this the answer?

And he continues pondering what it’s all for.  In the words of his worker, Fyodor, a righteous man, man must live for his soul in truth and in God’s way.  Suddenly, Levin discovers the meaning of his life: 
To live for God, for [his] soul. 
He considers that he has known all along, as all mankind does because it has been given to him already, the existence of God and the purpose to living rightly, but that man is childlike and chooses to ignore what he knows in his heart is right, and instead lives for his own selfish wants.  Levin has figured out his faith.

When Levin is with Sergey and Katavasov, they have a debate about the war, but he realizes that he cannot convince them of his own view because of pride.  (His or theirs?  Don't know.)  He did not want to argue with them, and though he may not always control all of his actions, he is sure of the completeness of his heart.

He has not changed, but life is no longer meaningless; and life is full of goodness, of which he has the ability to contribute to.

But now I have few questions:

#1.  When Levin begins to question revelation of righteousness and its availability to other religions, such as Muslims, Buddhists, etc, why does he conclude that he has no right to decide and no possibility to decide?  Why does he say this?

#2.  Why did Tolstoy miss the part about man’s separation from God and how we are redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice?  Is it just enough that Levin know God and live for God and His purpose?  What about His Son's sacrifice for man's sins?  It just leaves me wondering.

#3.  Why does everyone, including Stepan, refer to Stepan as "honest," "truthful," and "always telling the truth?"  He's the biggest, walking deception on the earth.  Must be Tolstoy's sarcasm.  

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