Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina


Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina: Part 8, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

During a train stop, Koznyshev walks past Vronsky’s apartment and sees Vronsky’s mother, though not Vronsky. She tells him that after Anna’s death, for six weeks, Vronsky refused to speak to anyone and would only eat when his mother begged him to. They took away anything from him that he could have used to try and kill himself. Vronsky’s mother says that on the night Anna died, she learned that a woman had thrown herself under a train, and she knew immediately that it was Anna. Though she wanted to keep the news from Vronsky, he found out, galloped off to the station, and came back looking like a dead man. Karenin took custody of the daughter. Vronsky’s mother thinks that Anna is a terrible, irreligious woman and that Anna is entirely to blame for the whole situation. She also says that the Serbian war has essentially saved Vronsky’s life, and she asks Koznyshev to go and speak with Vronsky.
Vronsky’s mother’s description of Anna’s death is the first time that Tolstoy directly discusses events in the wake of Anna’s suicide. Vronsky has been utterly despondent after Anna’s death, sinking into a deep depression. Vronsky’s mother completely blames Anna for the tragedy––flagrantly flouting the maxim to never speak ill of the dead. Karenin’s adoption of Annie severs any ties that Vronsky might have had with Anna: now that she is dead and their daughter legally belongs to another man, Vronsky has no living bond left with Anna. Ironically, though Anna believed her death would be the only thing that would bond herself to Vronsky, after her death, no material manifestations of their relationship remain.
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Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
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