Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Dreams and Spiritualism Symbol Analysis

Dreams and Spiritualism Symbol Icon
True faith and religious belief are a serious theme throughout Anna Karenina, and Tolstoy takes questions of religion seriously. However, Tolstoy is much more skeptical about dreams and spiritualism. Dreams in particular are bad omens throughout the novel. Dreams and daydreams offer the appearance of escape for a fleeting moment, but this path of escape is always a fantasy, never a reality. Anna and Vronsky have the same recurring dream of a dirty peasant figure who speaks ominously in French. Unlike Levin and Kitty, who are in sync in their daily life and whose communication works best on a level deeper than words, Anna and Vronsky’s shared nightmare does not strengthen their bond for good, but rather intertwines them parasitically together. This recurring symbol of the peasant figure suggests that they are out of touch with the natural course of life. Rather than allowing their love to flourish honestly, or rather than cutting off their affair for the sake of their families, Anna and Vronsky try to put off consequences and live for themselves in the moment; however, this recurring dream figure, with his amorphous yet increasingly ominous threatening presence, suggests that they are ultimately doomed to fracture.

Dreams and Spiritualism Quotes in Anna Karenina

The Anna Karenina quotes below all refer to the symbol of Dreams and Spiritualism. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Viking edition of Anna Karenina published in 2000.
Part 4, Chapter 2 Quotes

“What was that? What? What was that terrible thing I saw in my dream? Yes, yes. The muzhik tracker, I think, small, dirty, with a disheveled beard, was bending down and doing something, and he suddenly said some strange words in French. Yes that’s all there was to the dream,” he said to himself. “But why was it so horrible?”

Related Characters: Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky (speaker)
Related Symbols: Written Language, Foreign Language, and Communication, Dreams and Spiritualism
Page Number: 355
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 4, Chapter 3 Quotes

“And this something turned, and I saw it was a muzhik with a disheveled beard, small and frightening. I wanted to run away, but he bent over a sack and rummaged in it with his hands...” And she showed how he rummaged in the sack. There was horror on her face. And Vronsky, recalling his dream, felt the same horror filling his soul.

Related Characters: Anna Arkadyevna Karenina (speaker), Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky
Related Symbols: Written Language, Foreign Language, and Communication, Dreams and Spiritualism
Page Number: 361
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 7, Chapter 14 Quotes

He knew and felt only that what was being accomplished was similar to what had been accomplished a year ago in a hotel in a provincial capital, on the deathbed of his brother Nikolai. But that had been grief and this was joy. But that grief and this joy were equally outside all ordinary circumstances of life, were like holes in this ordinary life, through which something higher showed. And just as painful, as tormenting in its coming, was what was now accomplished; and just as inconceivably, in contemplating this higher thing, the soul rose to such heights as it had never known before, where reason was no longer able to overtake it.

Related Characters: Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin (speaker), Princess Katerina (Kitty) Alexandrovna Shcherbatsky, Nikolai Dmitrich Levin
Related Symbols: Natural World, Dreams and Spiritualism
Page Number: 713
Explanation and Analysis:

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Dreams and Spiritualism Symbol Timeline in Anna Karenina

The timeline below shows where the symbol Dreams and Spiritualism appears in Anna Karenina. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...the quarrel, Oblonsky wakes up on his sofa in the study, having just had a dream about a wonderful dinner party. He remembers the moment when Dolly found out about the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 11
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Anna has a recurring dream in which she is married to both Karenin and Vronsky, and though the situation seems... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...home while Karenin is out. Before the rendezvous, Vronsky falls asleep and has an ominous dream about a peasant with a dirty beard who speaks in French. Because of the dream,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
...arrive soon, but she also says that she will die in childbirth. Anna describes a dream she had about a peasant with a dirty beard who speaks in French, just like... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 8
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
...recovered state, Anna feels joyful: the whole situation with her husband seems like a feverish dream. She has transferred her former love for her son onto her daughter, and she is... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 26
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
...merry: the next day is Seryozha’s birthday, and Karenin has just won an award. Seryozha daydreams about his father winning two awards even higher than the one he has won, and... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 27
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...gospels and the Old Testament. Although Seryozha knows the verses well, he gets lost in daydreams and can’t concentrate. Seryozha refuses to believe in death. That night, for his birthday, Seryozha... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 16
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...the peasant women she sees. She begins to be jealous of Anna as well. Dolly daydreams about having an affair with another society man. (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 22
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...not divorce Anna, likely because of something Landau had said in his sleep or fake dream-like trance. (full context)
Part 7, Chapter 26
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
...She looks at him tenderly as he sleeps in his study. Anna has her recurring nightmare with the peasant muttering French words. When Anna wakes up, she initially feels better, but... (full context)