Chapter XXIII – XXXI Summary
Anna is behaving extremely paranoid and irrational. She has imagined that Vronsky no longer loves her and, in fact, loves another woman. She is fearful that Vronsky will leave her, but up until now has remained with her in duty, not love. She only sees him as cold and distant. She wishes to die.
Anna rejects all of Vronsky’s reasonable efforts to pacify her, and she realizes that she is being outrageous. When they seem to reconcile, she revisits her accusatory thoughts about him. Then she is sure it is over.
Anna learns that Alexey will not grant her the divorce, and she could care less anymore. She demands that she and Vronsky go to the country the next day, but Vronsky must finish business with his mother first, which is insulting to her because she sees his respect for his mother as more important than his love for her.
After he leaves for his mother’s, she becomes frantic about being alone and telegraphs for him to return immediately; but he replies that he cannot come before ten o’clock. She scrambles to Dolly’s to say goodbye. Kitty is there, and Anna imagines that Kitty hates her, when that is not the case at all. Kitty pities her, and still, Anna digs in her claws and brings up the subject of Levin “unmistakably with malicious intent.” See, I knew she was evil!
Unable to wait for Vronsky, Anna heads out to meet him via the train station. She is full of hatred and certain that everyone hates everyone else as well. She is burdened by her warped ideas of the world: that we exist simply to desire what is sweet but to have to settle for what is second best. She thinks once more of Vronsky
“without loving [her], from duty he’ll be good and kind to [her], without what [she] want[s], that’s a thousand times worse than unkindness! That’s—hell!”
In her suffering, she longs to punish Vronsky and to rid herself of everyone, including herself. She throws herself before one of the moving carriages of the train, and in the second before her death, she asks God for forgiveness, almost as if in regret; but it is too late. Anna is gone.