As Anna travels to Dolly’s house, her rambling musings and thoughts are extremely disconnected and disjointed: the past mingles with the present, and she cannot keep track of time and space. She is reminded of Seryozha when she sees children playing on the street. She decides to leave Vronsky, even though leaving a second man will definitely mean that she is to blame and absolutely ruin her in society.
Anna’s incoherent internal monologue as she goes to visit Dolly contrasts Dolly’s rather well-ordered internal monologue when she had made the trip to visit Anna in the countryside. In her state of passionate emotion, the entire world seems to be mocking Anna, whereas she is actually the one tormenting herself.
Kitty is also visiting, but Dolly comes out alone to receive Anna. Anna asks to read the letter that Karenin sent Oblonsky refusing the divorce, but when she reads it, she says nothing. Dolly says that Kitty isn’t hiding from Anna, but at that moment, Kitty appears; though Kitty had been struggling between animosity and sympathy for Anna, when she sees Anna, her hostility immediately disappears. Anna, cruelly, sends her regards to Levin, and Kitty blushes, but remains calm and compassionate.
Anna is so wrapped in her spiral of delusional jealousy that hearing Kitty’s name makes her believe that Vronsky wanted to be with Kitty after all, not with her. Once Kitty sees Anna and recognizes the nadir to which she’s sunk, she can only feel pity for her, even despite Levin’s crush; the wound has gone away, and bitterness has melted into pathos.