Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina


Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina: Part 8, Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Levin feels as though his conversation with the peasant has sparked his soul: when the peasant told him that one must should live for God, Levin realizes that he has known this all along. He had been looking for a miracle when the miracle had been around him the whole time. Reason could never have led him to this conclusion, because good is outside the chain of cause and effect. He believes that he now understands clearly: his life was good, but his thinking had been bad; now, however, he realizes that all of his troubles had come through the swindling that is part of reason, and that he should live for God.
The peasant’s simple injunction—live for one’s soul and for God—acts like Newton’s fabled apple on the head for Levin. Tolstoy uses Levin’s miracle to remind readers that the answer to their existential dilemmas might be around them at all times, if they would simply open their eyes and ears and pay attention to the world around them. Tolstoy believes deeply in the power of the natural world and in true spiritual connection with humanity and one’s own physical existence.
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