Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy continued...
II. Logic Stage Inquiry
What do the central characters want?
Anna wants all of Vronsky’s love, affections, and attention and nothing less. She says,
without loving me, from duty he’ll be good and kind to me, without what I want, that’s a thousand times worse than unkindness! That’s—hell!
She is jealous of his ability to be mobile, while she is secluded from society because of her public status as a married woman, knowing that Vronsky can leave her whenever he likes because they are not married.
Early on, Levin wants marriage and family. He believes: women are for marriage, and marriage is for families. His whole happiness rests on this ideal. Later, after marriage and a new baby, Levin wants answers to life’s questions: what is the purpose to life? He says,
Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life’s impossible; and that I can’t know, and so I can’t live.
What is standing in their way?
Pride sustains Anna’s self-seeking, self-absorption, and vanity.
Pride prevents Levin from “thinking rightly” and keeps him “studiously ignoring” those spiritual truths that he is seeking.
What strategies do the characters use to overcome their difficulties?
Anna cannot overcome her fictitious rejection from Vronsky. Her selfish desire to be the object of worship by others has spiraled out of control and she could not live with the disappointment. She uses suicide to end her misery.
For Levin, “…he must either interpret life so that it would not present itself to him as the evil jest of some devil, or shoot himself.” Unlike Anna, he is resolute in finding a solution. He searches for truth until it finally makes sense that the knowledge and truth was in him all the while.