Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Natural World Symbol Icon
The characters’ relationship with the natural world is symbolic throughout the novel: the more that characters are in touch with nature, the happier they are, but characters who are hypocritical are less connected to the natural world. When Vronsky is riding with Frou-Frou in the race, he grows over-confident. As in Greek mythology, when Icarus flies too close to the sun and falls, when Vronsky does not pay attention to the natural rhythms of his horse and his connection with the animal, Frou-Frou falls and must be killed. Frou-Frou is symbolic of Vronsky and Anna’s relationship: although Vronsky believes he can ride past everyone and succeed in both the horserace and his affair, he does not quite situate himself correctly, and both horse and affair ultimately collapse. Vronsky and Anna are out of touch with the natural rhythm of things: although they surround themselves with luxuries, they do not have an emotional bond with their child, and their own relationship only fractures and weakens instead of taking root and growing stronger. Levin is the main character who is the most in touch with nature throughout the novel. He is deeply attuned to the signals of the natural world, feeling happy when he sees sticky little leaves and buds on the trees. Tolstoy also even provides a few scenes from the perspective of Laska, Levin’s hunting dog, as a counterpoint against the hypocrisy of many of the humans in the novel. The weather often mirrors characters’ moods. For example, at the end of the novel, when Koznyshev gets into an argument on Levin’s estate, storm clouds gather and darken; the storm clouds at this point also signify potential danger for Kitty and Mitya in the forest, but when Levin finds his wife and son safe and sound, the rain clears.

Natural World Quotes in Anna Karenina

The Anna Karenina quotes below all refer to the symbol of Natural World. 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 and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Viking edition of Anna Karenina published in 2000.
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

The old grass and the sprouting needles of new grass greened, the buds on the guelder-rose, the currants and the sticky, spirituous birches swelled, and on the willow, all sprinkled with golden catkins, the flitting, newly hatched bee buzzed.

Related Characters: Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin (speaker)
Related Symbols: Natural World
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 25 Quotes

She flew over the ditch as if without noticing it; she flew over like a bird; but just then Vronsky felt to his horror that, having failed to keep up with the horse’s movement, he, not knowing how himself, had made a wrong, an unforgivable movement as he lowered himself into the saddle. ... The awkward movement Vronsky had made had broken her back. But he understood that much later.

Related Characters: Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky (speaker), Frou-Frou
Related Symbols: Natural World
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 4 Quotes

He thought of nothing, desired nothing, except not to lag behind and to do the best job be could. He heard only the clang of scythes and ahead of him saw Titus’s erect figure moving on, the curved semicircle of this mowed space, grass and flower-heads bending down slowly and wavily about the blade of his scythe, and ahead of him the end of the swath, where rest would come.

Related Characters: Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin
Related Symbols: Natural World
Page Number: 250
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 4, Chapter 15 Quotes

All that night and morning Levin had lived completely unconsciously and had felt himself completely removed from the conditions of material life. He had not eaten for a whole day, had not slept for two nights, had spent several hours undressed in the freezing cold, yet felt not only fresh and healthy as never before but completely independent of his body.

Related Characters: Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin
Related Symbols: Natural World
Page Number: 402
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 5, Chapter 20 Quotes

The sight of his brother and the proximity of death renewed in Levin’s soul that feeling of horror at the inscrutability and, with that, the nearness and inevitability of death, which had seized him on that autumn evening when his brother had come for a visit. The feeling was now stronger than before; he felt even less capable than before of understanding the meaning of death, and its inevitability appeared still more horrible to him; but now, thanks to his wife’s nearness, the feeling did not drive him to despair: in spite of death, he felt the necessity to live and to love. He felt that love saved him from despair and that under the threat of despair this love was becoming still stronger and purer.

Related Characters: Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin, Princess Katerina (Kitty) Alexandrovna Shcherbatsky, Nikolai Dmitrich Levin
Related Symbols: Natural World
Page Number: 504
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 6, Chapter 10 Quotes

But it was an unlucky day; he missed, and when he went to look for the one he had shot, he could not find it either. He searched everywhere in the sedge, but Laska did not believe he had shot it, and when he sent her to search, she did not really search but only pretended.

Related Characters: Konstantin (Kostya) Dmitrich Levin, Laska
Related Symbols: Natural World
Page Number: 584
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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Natural World Symbol Timeline in Anna Karenina

The timeline below shows where the symbol Natural World appears in Anna Karenina. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 26
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
As soon as Levin returns to the country, he feels like himself again. His dog, Laska, runs to greet him, and his servants are happy to see him home. Levin... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 29
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Anna is relieved to be on the train leaving Moscow. She begins to read an English novel, but she cannot concentrate. Rather than... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 30
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
As Anna stands on the train platform in the snowstorm, Vronsky suddenly appears. He has followed her from Moscow. The news... (full context)
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
The first face Anna sees when the train pulls into Petersburg is her husband’s, and the first thing she notices are his unsightly... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
Meanwhile, spring has returned to the farm, with sticky new buds on the birches and baby animals.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 14
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...to see him. Oblonsky has arrived to do some shooting, see Levin, and sell a forest. Levin tells Oblonsky about his book on farming and deliberately tries not to ask about... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 15
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
Laska, the dog, sees a snipe and thinks that the men will miss it because of their talk,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 16
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...him off, saying he has no right to know. He changes the subject to the forest that Oblonsky is selling. Levin knows that Oblonsky is getting a bad deal and is... (full context)
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...dealer tries to bargain down the price, but when Levin says that he’ll buy the forest himself, the dealer sticks with the original deal. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...and relax, but all Levin can think about is going back to work in the fields. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...Levin to take him fishing, and though Koznyshev wants to linger all day in the fields, Levin is eager to get back home to make plans for mowing and harvesting. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...from the local district affairs, but Levin is more concerned with the ploughing of his fields than the welfare of the peasants. Levin admits that he doesn’t care about the “common... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
After breakfast in the house, Levin returns to the fields to mow. The longer he mows, the more natural he feels. The only parts that... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 17
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Adultery and Jealousy Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
...to the party. Betsy writes a note to give to Vronsky’s footman, and when she leaves the room for a moment, Anna adds at the bottom that she needs to see... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 24
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
After his night on the haystack, Levin now loathes the farming he once loved: by spending time as one of the... (full context)
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...To distract himself, he goes to visit his friend Sviyazhsky to go snipe-shooting in the countryside. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 15
At dawn, Levin walks to Kitty’s house, feeling wonderful. He and Kitty kiss. Upon hearing the news,... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 9
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
They come to a small marsh and Levin wants to continue, but the other men insist on shooting there; Levin waits... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 10
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
Veslovsky drives the horses too fast, and they arrive at the big marsh while it’s still too hot to shoot. Both Levin and Oblonsky plot separately how they... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 12
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...so he goes out hunting by himself. Levin and Laska search for snipe through the marsh; they are in perfect sync as they hunt, and Levin is able to snag several... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 14
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...house, he sees Koznyshev, Katavasov, and Dolly; Kitty has taken Mitya, the baby, to the forest because of the heat in the house, despite the fact that Levin doesn’t like it... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 16
Society and Class Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
...argue, Koznyshev and Katavasov aren’t going to change their minds. He points out that the rain clouds are gathering and that they should go home. (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 17
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Physical Activity and Movement Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
They all make it home just in time: the rain starts as soon as they step on the porch. Levin asks Agafya where Kitty and... (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 18
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Farming and Rural Life Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Mitya still smiles for his parents, not for the maid. Levin says that during the storm, he realized how much he loved Mitya. (full context)
Part 8, Chapter 19
Marriage and Family Life Theme Icon
Compassion and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Levin watches the storm as it fades into the distance: at each bolt of lightning, the Milky Way appears... (full context)