Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

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Anna Karenina Part 5, Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Nikolai is given the last rites, he feels much better for a moment, but the illusion does not last long; indeed, Nikolai confesses that the apparent recovery was a ruse for Kitty’s sake. That evening, Marya tells them that Nikolai is dying, and Levin and Kitty rush over. Levin stays by his brother’s side all night; however, Nikolai does not die that night, nor the next, nor the next, but his suffering increases.
Nikolai cannot die a clean, pure, painless death; instead, he lingers even after the priest has given the last rites, hovering in the horrible state between life and death. Nikolai’s entire life has sunk into a miserable, wretched, disgraceful state, and his death is no different.
Themes
Marriage and Family Life  Theme Icon
Society and Class  Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Ten days after Levin and Kitty have rushed over, Kitty become sick and vomits. That night, she visits Nikolai. Marya predicts that this is the night he will die, and so he does. After this mystery of death, the doctor confirms that Kitty is pregnant.
The night after Kitty has her first morning sickness, Nikolai finally does die. Kitty is pregnant. Tolstoy’s parallel construction emphasizes that life and death work very closely together, are part of the same cycle, one always following the other.
Themes
Marriage and Family Life  Theme Icon
Society and Class  Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon