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 Part III - 237-352

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Minimoosey

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PostSubject: Part III - 237-352   Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:12 pm

Discussion Questions for Part Three, Pages 237–352

1. Spend some time thinking about and talking about Levin's brothers, Nikolai and Sergei. How do they come together to form a family? In what ways to they challenge each other to make good choices and live good lives…and in what ways to they seem to hinder this process for each other?

2. What do you like about Levin's nurse and housekeeper Agafya?

3. How do you feel about the fact that Levin has taken on the work of a laborer, mowing right along with the muzhiks? How does this endear him to you as a character?

4. Levin's brother Sergei comes to visit him in the country. What do you think about their interactions? Do you get the feeling that one or the other of them is a stronger or more "noble" man? What specifically gives you that impression?

5. On Page 277, Levin and Kitty see each other for the first time after the debacle of his initial proposal. Tolstoy writes, "There were no other eyes in the world like those. There was no other being in the world capable of concentrating for him all the light and meaning of life." What do you think of this passage, and Levin's feelings towards Kitty despite all that has passed between them?

6. What do you think about the fact that Karenin considers and rejects the possibility of a duel with Vronsky for Anna? Do you think the fact that he initially decides on divorce instead is reasonable?

7. Trace the ways Anna has thought of her affair with Vronsky up to this point. Discuss what Anna says makes her happy and unhappy about her situation. Do you think she is being realistic or naive?

8. Do you feel Anna's relationship with her brother and his wife Dolly is a good one? Discuss this dynamic and how you think it may play out as the book progresses.

9. On Page 302, Vronsky is described as a man who "hated disorder." If this is the case, why do you think he allows such a disorderly situation as his affair with Anna comes to fruition? Think about the dichotomies set up by the author with regard to their passionate infidelity.

10. Both Stiva and Karenin are pillars of Russian society, and shown to be very adept at their jobs and in working with people. Is this interesting to you—and if so in what ways? What do you learn about the Russian business/diplomatic world from Karenin and Stiva?


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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:51 am

Section 3: Chapters 1-18:

Thank Goodness for SparkNotes. As I read these chapters, I noticed a gradual shift in the pace of the novel, and realized the changes in the character's personalities and approaches to their situations. I didn't notice the parallel's of some of the characters, until after I read the notes. I also didn't notice my shift in impression of Alexei until after I had read the analysis, or notice the way that Tolstoy subtuly makes fun of him.

I did think that the story started to drag here. I had a very easy time with the first two sections, but am starting to struggle a bit.
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:33 am

Section 3: Chapters 19-32:

I believe that we are starting to see the fall of Vronsky and Anna. Now that the secret is out, they are starting to have differing views of what is to come.

Levin focus heavily on his farming and business plans. Through the entire section he holds fast to the fact that his plans are purely self motivated, and will increase his own profits. At the end of the section, Nikolai comes into play, deathly ill, and we see Levin reevaluate his sense of mortality.
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:59 am

1. Spend some time thinking about and talking about Levin's brothers, Nikolai and Sergei. How do they come together to form a family? In what ways to they challenge each other to make good choices and live good lives…and in what ways to they seem to hinder this process for each other?
I feel like the Levin brothers are a realistic representation of how siblings often are. Often times siblings have very distinctively different personalities. I think that is often developed in childhood to decrease competition and increase a sense of individuality and success. The Levin brothers are a good example of this. Thier persanities and views play off of each other, yet they always maintian a certain respect for each other.
2. What do you like about Levin's nurse and housekeeper Agafya?
I like that he confides in her so openly and that she responds frankly. She has a good understanding of his business and his heart. He is respectful of her views and her position in his household.
3. How do you feel about the fact that Levin has taken on the work of a laborer, mowing right along with the muzhiks? How does this endear him to you as a character?
I feel like not only does it show his character that he is working along side of the mushiks, but it also shows an understanding of good management (which I think we see more of as the section progresses). I also think that it shows that he doesn't feel like he is better than the muzhiks, but recognizes that there is a job to be done, and that all should pitch in.
4. Levin's brother Sergei comes to visit him in the country. What do you think about their interactions? Do you get the feeling that one or the other of them is a stronger or more "noble" man? What specifically gives you that impression?
I didn't feel like one of the brothers is stronger, just that they value and view things very differently. What they enjoy (fishing v. mowing), what the country represents to them (work and livelihood v. vacation and relaxation). Levin gives into his brothers needs, but I think that this is more a role of younger brother, host, and of course personality, not weakness.
5. On Page 277, Levin and Kitty see each other for the first time after the debacle of his initial proposal. Tolstoy writes, "There were no other eyes in the world like those. There was no other being in the world capable of concentrating for him all the light and meaning of life." What do you think of this passage, and Levin's feelings towards Kitty despite all that has passed between them?
I think it is interesting that he has such a singular view of his love. She is the only one, the only eyes, the meaning of life, yet she was his third choice. It is interesting that he is so a)hurt by her choosing Vronsky over him initially and b) being so sure that she is the only one for him now. It is romantic for the story line, but not very realistic in my opinion.
6. What do you think about the fact that Karenin considers and rejects the possibility of a duel with Vronsky for Anna? Do you think the fact that he initially decides on divorce instead is reasonable?
I think that Karenin's decisions very much reflect his personality and character. He is a weenie, that values society's view of him more than his own happiness. His vengeful nature is hardly shocking, as he seems to view his marriage as a managable asset, like one of his cases at work.
7. Trace the ways Anna has thought of her affair with Vronsky up to this point. Discuss what Anna says makes her happy and unhappy about her situation. Do you think she is being realistic or naive?
Anna has gone through feeling astonished with herself, excited by the newness, guilty about her family, frustrated with her husband, worried about the children, apathetic with her husband, dejected by Vronsky, and scared of humiliation. I don't think that she will be happy with either choice, as her morals and her duty her son will always keep her from being happy with Vronsky (as well as the fact that I believe she was more likely in love with having some one care for her, than with the man himself.)
8. Do you feel Anna's relationship with her brother and his wife Dolly is a good one? Discuss this dynamic and how you think it may play out as the book progresses.
We haven't seen much interaction with Anna, Stiva, and Dolly at this point. Which is interesting considering how intimately involved they were regarding Stiva's affair and the potential fall out, neither Stiva or Dolly have come to assist Anna. Which may reflect their own feelings regarding adultry, or they may be too self absorbed in their own lives to see Anna's need for counsel.
9. On Page 302, Vronsky is described as a man who "hated disorder." If this is the case, why do you think he allows such a disorderly situation as his affair with Anna comes to fruition? Think about the dichotomies set up by the author with regard to their passionate infidelity.
I think that Vronsky had very different intentions for his relationship with Anna. I think as things have become more complicated or disorderly, we have seen Vronsky pull away from Anna.
10. Both Stiva and Karenin are pillars of Russian society, and shown to be very adept at their jobs and in working with people. Is this interesting to you—and if so in what ways? What do you learn about the Russian business/diplomatic world from Karenin and Stiva?
More than anything these two characters give me the impression that the world of business/politics is based solely on appearances and associations. Ha Ha...should we take a step back and look at our current culture, most positions of power and politics is based on appearances and associations.
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Minimoosey

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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:40 am

1. Spend some time thinking about and talking about Levin's brothers, Nikolai and Sergei. How do they come together to form a family? In what ways to they challenge each other to make good choices and live good lives…and in what ways to they seem to hinder this process for each other?

Nikolai has a very weak personality and the siblings enable him to a point. He is pathetic in his choices. Sergi is more of an intellect and a "white collar" man. Levin is a "blue collar" worker and it is very strange they all are from the same family.


2. What do you like about Levin's nurse and housekeeper Agafya?

Don't really know her that well. There is no opinion about her. I'm going to read your comments Kelley and I will probably say good point Kelley.

3. How do you feel about the fact that Levin has taken on the work of a laborer, mowing right along with the muzhiks? How does this endear him to you as a character?

Levin is my kind of man in this part of the story. He enjoys the feeling of a good days work. He forgets his troubles for a while and makes some friends. He even contemplates crossing the line and becoming a working peasant.

4. Levin's brother Sergei comes to visit him in the country. What do you think about their interactions? Do you get the feeling that one or the other of them is a stronger or more "noble" man? What specifically gives you that impression?

I admire both of the men. They are both well spoken, and Levin shocks me in a way. He really is against education the way that Sergei is for it. As brothers, they can come to an agreement to disagree and continue their wonderful relationship.

5. On Page 277, Levin and Kitty see each other for the first time after the debacle of his initial proposal. Tolstoy writes, "There were no other eyes in the world like those. There was no other being in the world capable of concentrating for him all the light and meaning of life." What do you think of this passage, and Levin's feelings towards Kitty despite all that has passed between them?

I really have no thought on this passage, but I think that it is really ironic that both of them have a change of heart for each other. Kitty is understandably changing her mind, but Levin was jilted and he can forget all that. I know they apologized, but that goes deep sometimes.

6. What do you think about the fact that Karenin considers and rejects the possibility of a duel with Vronsky for Anna? Do you think the fact that he initially decides on divorce instead is reasonable?

I think that he is a "white collar" man and would really stink at the duel. Like he said, if he wins, he has killed someone, and if he looses he dies and he is the innocent party. I think it was very reasonable.

I think this day and time a divorce would be appropriate, but back in those days, the woman gets the raw end of the deal.

7. Trace the ways Anna has thought of her affair with Vronsky up to this point. Discuss what Anna says makes her happy and unhappy about her situation. Do you think she is being realistic or naive?

Anna is very complex. First of all she falls in love with Vronksy from across the room. After she has the relationship with him she feels a bit guilty and then severs emotional ties with Karenin. I don't know how someone could be so heartless. Does she not think that this won't happen to her and Vronsky at some point. Foreshadowing maybe.

8. Do you feel Anna's relationship with her brother and his wife Dolly is a good one? Discuss this dynamic and how you think it may play out as the book progresses.

I do think her relationship with her brother is a good one. She is apparently falling under the same trail as her brother. I don't understand because her parents are still married and very happen and still love each other. I couldn't even guess how this would play out in the story.

9. On Page 302, Vronsky is described as a man who "hated disorder." If this is the case, why do you think he allows such a disorderly situation as his affair with Anna comes to fruition? Think about the dichotomies set up by the author with regard to their passionate infidelity.

I think people can be an orderly person in some areas and very disorderly in other areas. Vronsky can and is a man of honor, but on the other hand is in the middle of adultery, so he lives on both sides of the fence in many ways.

10. Both Stiva and Karenin are pillars of Russian society, and shown to be very adept at their jobs and in working with people. Is this interesting to you—and if so in what ways? What do you learn about the Russian business/diplomatic world from Karenin and Stiva?

I think that Vronsky should be in this group too. They all are outwardly proud of their posts and keep a lot under their hats for appearances. Most of Russian society in this book are that way. Everyone has a skeleton in their closet.
OI I
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:22 pm

I agree!! Great points Marti!
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Karen

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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:55 pm

Sorry guys~ I just finished section three! I began to have real empathy for Levin. I liked that he was interested and involved in his workers situatoin. I liked that he got out and worked side by side with them and felt elated about doing it. He seemedlike a likeable man who really has the best interset of evryone at heart. I felt disgusted by the lack of value Vronsky and Anna and Alexy had as Peers of the realm. They did nothing to better themselves or others around them. They are in debt to their ears but continue to lead a lavish lifestyle. The author barely touches on Anna's pregancy, and though she tells Vronsky she doesn't even mention it to her husband! Even though levins idea's are misguided to a certain degree, he was able to realize that something was lacking in his life and it wasn't just not being married to Anna. he needed to be busy and invloved with things around him. I enjoyred reading about the differing perspectives of his neighbors and serfdom and he use of labor, though it does take away rom the central part of the story. i felt that Alexy has stayed true to his character being cold and mostly interested in his position amongst his peers with regard to people knowing about Anna's affair. I thought it was interesting and appropriate & what we all do, that he bent his ideas around to fit what was comfortable to him, ie. what other well known gentlemen did when dealing with an unfaithful wife and his feelings for them at the time, versus how he now feels now that he is the cuckold. I began to dislike Anna. she seems shallow, now, and flittery, instead of a woman who knows her mind. Maybe that wil change. i guess she and Vronsky deserve one another. He owes people left and right, but decides who he can and should pay and rest can be damned.
I found it interesesting how the peasants allowed for the gentry to just drop in and spend the night expecting to be fed, their horses to be tended to etct for nothing.
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PostSubject: Re: Part III - 237-352   Fri Apr 27, 2007 6:11 pm

1. Spend some time thinking about and talking about Levin's brothers, Nikolai and Sergei. How do they come together to form a family? In what ways to they challenge each other to make good choices and live good lives…and in what ways to they seem to hinder this process for each other?
I think Brienne is right. It seemed realistic that the brothers would be so different and yet the brothers accept that this is so and love one another any way. they may feel initially distressed to have to deal with or communcate with one another but are glad that they do, in the end.
2. What do you like about Levin's nurse and housekeeper Agafya?
He is lucky to have her. We all need a non judging confidant who will bel bluntly honest..
3. How do you feel about the fact that Levin has taken on the work of a laborer, mowing right along with the muzhiks? How does this endear him to you as a character?
I loved it. I wish all people in power, ie. dept heads, company manangers, presidents of nations would get their hands dirty with the people who do the real work. Mutal respect is built that way.
4. Levin's brother Sergei comes to visit him in the country. What do you think about their interactions? Do you get the feeling that one or the other of them is a stronger or more "noble" man? What specifically gives you that impression?
I liked your point of view, Brienne. familial love is different than any othr kind and is unique in what it will bring out between two persons, especially as people mature. when death is introduced it brings it to the forefront.
5. On Page 277, Levin and Kitty see each other for the first time after the debacle of his initial proposal. Tolstoy writes, "There were no other eyes in the world like those. There was no other being in the world capable of concentrating for him all the light and meaning of life." What do you think of this passage, and Levin's feelings towards Kitty despite all that has passed between them?
Now I felt like i could relate to Levine, remembering deep attachments i had in my younger years. Until another person came along to supplant that deep affection , i would hang on to my attraction for that person indeffinately
. 6. What do you think about the fact that Karenin considers and rejects the possibility of a duel with Vronsky for Anna? Do you think the fact that he initially decides on divorce instead is reasonable?
I think that Karenin was a chicken. he knew he could very likely be injured or killed and Anna wasn't worth that to him.
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