Anna’s main goal in Petersburg is to see Seryozha, but she realizes that her position as an outcast in society will make this extremely difficult to do. Anna, learning that Lydia and Karenin are close, writes Lydia the letter, but Lydia sends no reply, which hurts Anna; the eventual reply makes her angry. Anna resolves that on her son’s birthday, she will go to the house and bribe the servants so that she can see him; she buys a great quantity of toys for him. The porter lets her in. Anna is amazed at how much her son has changed, as she had imagined him as a four-year-old boy still. Seryozha is thrilled, saying that he knew she would come for his birthday.
Though Anna recognizes that society has shunned her, her desire to see her son overrides the awkward position and embarrassment that their meeting could create for him. Anna still wants to believe that her world has not changed, despite the fact that she knows she’s been shunned from her previous life. In her vision of the life she still clings to in her memory and fantasy, she still thinks of Seryozha as a little boy. She and Karenin both have idealized versions of their son.