As a rest from his intellectual life, Koznyshev, Levin’s half-brother, decides to visit Levin in the country. Levin feels awkward in the country with Koznyshev, because Koznyshev sees the country as a respite and haven from work, whereas Levin views it as the exact opposite. Also, Koznyshev idolizes the peasants as a pure but separate class, whereas Levin does not draw delineations between himself and the peasants: he sees everyone in the country is united toward the same common goal. Levin finds himself unable to say whether or not he loves the peasants: they’re simply people, not a group to love or hate.
Though Levin loves Koznyshev, he feels uncomfortable because his half-brother’s perspective on country life does not match his own. Koznyshev sees the country as an idyllic haven from the city and the peasants as simple, pure folk, whereas Levin sees the country as a place of labor and the peasants as humans, neither good nor bad as a class but complex and all involved in the same work.
Koznyshev sees Levin as good-hearted, but too prone to contradictions; Levin sees Koznyshev as an intellectual who lacks life force and heart. Koznyshev likes to idle and relax, but all Levin can think about is going back to work in the fields.
Though Koznyshev and Levin like each other, each looks down on the other as lacking in the essence of what makes a man most successful in life.