Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina


Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina: Part 8, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Levin immerses himself in the classics of continental philosophy: Plato, Spinoza, Hegel, etc. While he’s reading, Levin understands them, but as soon as he thinks about real life, the artificial edifice of philosophy collapses. Levin is briefly excited by the Church, but after reading two books that champion the Church while completely contradicting each other, he is disappointed. Levin thinks that without knowing what he is and why he is here, it is impossible to live, and because he cannot know these things, he cannot live. He is close to suicide and thinks he might shoot or hang himself, but he does not.
Many philosophies sound wonderful in theory, but as soon as Levin puts them into practice, they crumble, and Levin, unlike several of his friends, is not the kind of person who can ever feel comfortable saying one thing and doing another. Like Anna, Levin reaches the conclusion that the only logical conclusion to his existential dilemma is suicide; unlike Anna, Levin does not follow through, because while suicide sounds appealing in theory, in practice, he realizes how complicated it would be, how terrible for those he loves and who love him.
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