Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Some of Our August Tweets

More Thoughts from Our Final Round of Discussions

Just a few more notes from last week's Anna Karenina roundup:

  • the words ironical and unnatural appear frequently - is there a message in this?
  • Regarding the film, every scene was gilded
  • One reader "much preferred Middlemarch, because Middlemarch had better women characters"
  • "I felt compelled to read the novel"
  • "This was a better book than War and Peace, although I feel a stronger connection to War and Peace.  Anna Karenina is so much deeper; Tolstoy is a better writer here."
  • "I could have done without the chapters on Kitty's lying-in and the hunting expeditions, and the club.  Did those scenes illuminate the characters?"  One reader responded that those scenes, particularly the club, showed the kind of social and family life from which Anna is now excluded.
  • Many readers loved the scene when Levin asked Vasenka to leave his house for flirting with Kitty.
  • Oblonsky is a funny creature, especially when he is with Karenin and Lydia and the fainting Frenchman and has no idea what is going on.
  • Anna is a cautionary tale about being alone.
  • "It wasn't clear to me that Anna's state was due to external reality, but more from opium."
  • The meeting between Levin and Anna is beautifully written.
  • The portrait of Anna is representative of the difference between appearance and reality.
  • Her suicide is a way of getting power back.
  • The chapter of Varenka and Sergey in their almost-but-not-quite coming together, was excellent.  In the words unsaid and the missed opportunity, do we have a reference to the possibility of Anna and Vronsky not connecting?

A few final thoughts from one of our participants

Stalwart Big Book reader Edmund wanted to pass along a few final thoughts/musings on Anna Karenina:

  • Even before the famous first sentence, we read an epigraph: "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." Which of the characters seek vengeance on one another, and do any of them actually achieve it? How and why is vengeance important to Tolstoy's message?
  • Tolstoy presents several contrasting concepts to develop his message and characters, including death and living, family life and adultery, freedom and rules/hopelessness, love and hate, despair and dreams, god and self. How does this affect his message?
  • Many of the stressed characters seek refuge in various places (St. Petersburg, the farm, Moscow), actions (adultery, death, travel) and concepts (religion, war, money). Were any of them adequate to resolve their problems?
Let us know your thoughts on these musings in the comments, and keep the conversation going!