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 Part VII - Pages 671-768

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Minimoosey

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PostSubject: Part VII - Pages 671-768   Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:14 pm

Discussion Questions for Part Seven, Pages 671768

1. What did you think when you learned Levin was a writer? Discuss the similarities between his character and what you know of Tolstoy.

2. When Levin and Anna finally meet, what did you think of their interaction? Is it as you expected it might be, or different? How do you feel about the fact that Levin pities Anna?

3. Talk about the way that Levin's life seems to lose purpose when he goes to Moscow. How does this relate to his happiness at other times? What messages does the author seem to be sending about city life?

4. Discuss Levin's fascination with Kitty's process of childbirth. Does this seem like a normal reaction to you?

5. Stiva's financial circumstances worsen as the novel progresses. How do you feel his choices with money mirror his other choices or his morality?

6. What do you think about the fact that Seryozha has grown to consider his memories of his mother "shameful?" What impact do you expect this has on Karenin and Anna?

7. At the beginning of Chapter XXIII, Tolstoy writes: "In order to undertake anything in family life, it is necessary that there be either complete discord between the spouses or loving harmony." (p. 739) Do you agree?

8. Talk about Anna's extreme jealousy. Do you feel it is founded, or is it a reflection of other things going on in her life?

9. Discuss, with as much candor as possible, your feelings about Anna's death. Talk about her reasons for doing it, her choices surrounding it, and what you expect the reaction to her death to be.

10. Think about the way Tolstoy framed Anna's death, and the actual passage in which she dies. What strikes you about them?




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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part VII - Pages 671-768   Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:47 am

Section 7: Chapters 1-16:

In this section we glimpse into Levin's 'daily life' as he idly waits for the birth of his child. We are allowed to contrast the mundane activities of his day in the city with the intenisity and emotion of the arrival of his son.

We also see Levin and Anna meet. I didn't realize that through out the novel, with so many ties between them, they had never had any interaction.

While Levin and his family are looking forward with happiness, Anna is self destructing.

I would have never put together the correlation of King Lear and the story line, again...Thank goodness for SparkNotes.
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part VII - Pages 671-768   Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:24 am

Section 7: Chapters 17-33:

Karenin and Lydia, who claim to be extremely religious and base all of their lives on religion, are caught up with a psychic who makes their decisions for them.

Anna's unraveling and eventual death directly parallel the earlier part of section 7, with the labor and birth. We watch as Anna has more and more difficulty controling herself, even when she understands that she is inappropriate. From there she becomes even more irrational believing the worst of Kitty and Dolly, and then to the point that she can't stand the sight of people. Her death and the end of her relationship at the trainstation also parallels the meeting and beginning of her relationship with Vronsky. (They met at the train station, Anna riding with his mother, and the two women caring for each other, ending at the train station, and the women despise each other.)
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Part VII - Pages 671-768   Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:40 am

2. When Levin and Anna finally meet, what did you think of their interaction? Is it as you expected it might be, or different? How do you feel about the fact that Levin pities Anna?
Their interaction almost seems irrelevant to the story. It emphasizes Levin's desire to do right by his wife and the difficulty he is having in the city, Kitty's worry about her husband spending so much time with the men of the city, and Anna's loss of control and bizarre grasps at controlling the people around her.
3. Talk about the way that Levin's life seems to lose purpose when he goes to Moscow. How does this relate to his happiness at other times? What messages does the author seem to be sending about city life?
Levin is happy working hard, living for his family, and not feeling the influence of the 'city man's life'. In Moscow and in waiting for his wife, he has no purpose, no work, and no ability to help his wife; he becomes frustrated and feels stagnant. If Levin had a job in the city we may see a different situation. Otherwise, I believe the author is shedding light on the practices and beleifs held by the city men, and what they can 'get away with.'
4. Discuss Levin's fascination with Kitty's process of childbirth. Does this seem like a normal reaction to you?
Absolutely, Levin is learning so much about women and had a very different view of life and his future. Childbirth is a huge transition for every couple, at anytime in history.
5. Stiva's financial circumstances worsen as the novel progresses. How do you feel his choices with money mirror his other choices or his morality?
Through out the novel, Stiva has lived extravagantly, and never paid attention to other people or the 'real' issues, but smoothed everything over with his 'almond butter smile'. Now reality is setting in and he is in a situation where he will be forced to look at the root of the problem, himself.
6. What do you think about the fact that Seryozha has grown to consider his memories of his mother "shameful?" What impact do you expect this has on Karenin and Anna?
I think that is probably a common reaction, in both growing up, divorced families, and children's way to protect themselves from feelings of abandonment. Some of these issues, that are common in the present day, seem to be very forward thinking and insightful for the times of the novel.
7. At the beginning of Chapter XXIII, Tolstoy writes: "In order to undertake anything in family life, it is necessary that there be either complete discord between the spouses or loving harmony." (p. 739) Do you agree?
No, I don't agree with this statement. Often times more is accomplished when there is some discord to bring up reason for change, and some harmony so the approach can be agreed upon.
8. Talk about Anna's extreme jealousy. Do you feel it is founded, or is it a reflection of other things going on in her life?
I think that the jealousy that Anna is feeling is maybe related to a little guilt. She couldn't be trusted and now she can't trust Vronsky. We also see that the jealousy and outburst get stronger and more frequent as she is unraveling personally.
9. Discuss, with as much candor as possible, your feelings about Anna's death. Talk about her reasons for doing it, her choices surrounding it, and what you expect the reaction to her death to be.
I think that Anna's death was two pronged. There was a part of Anna that wanted to punish Vronsky, and make him feel some of the sacrifice and pain that she felt since they solidified their relationship. I also think that there was a part of Anna that realized that she wasn't going to be able to find happiness no matter which way things turned. She tried to escape not only for herself, but to free others from the stigma and misery she was carrying with her.
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Minimoosey

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PostSubject: Re: Part VII - Pages 671-768   Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:32 am

1. What did you think when you learned Levin was a writer? Discuss the similarities between his character and what you know of Tolstoy.

Well from the beginning of the Intro of the book we learn that Lev Tolstoy has changed his name to Leo Tolstoy. They are both writers. Levin is a character after Leo. I was surprised that Levin's book was about agriculture. I wonder if Tolstoy had an inner desire to be in the country and have a simple life like Levin. I'm sure of it. Tolstoy was not a real happy man. I guess that is why he wrote of Levin. Self reflective, etc.

2. When Levin and Anna finally meet, what did you think of their interaction? Is it as you expected it might be, or different? How do you feel about the fact that Levin pities Anna?

I think that they actually liked each other after all the horrible things that were passed between the two people. I think that it was inevitable that they met and enjoyed each others company. Everyone pities Anna, why should Levin be any different.

3. Talk about the way that Levin's life seems to lose purpose when he goes to Moscow. How does this relate to his happiness at other times? What messages does the author seem to be sending about city life?

Levin is not a city boy. I think that Tolstoy is expressing his inner feelings through Levin. Tolstoy/Levin feel that the city life is a waste of their happiness. Remember Levin loved the back breaking work of cutting hay.

4. Discuss Levin's fascination with Kitty's process of childbirth. Does this seem like a normal reaction to you?

NO, I actually think that the dramatic response of the author tells us that Tolstoy is scared of childbirth too. Even Kitty was calm and comfortable with the labor. She is normally dramatic, but she handled it well. Tolstoy is bringing his insecurities out through Levin's behavior, which is a little overboard on the dramatic side.

5. Stiva's financial circumstances worsen as the novel progresses. How do you feel his choices with money mirror his other choices or his morality?

Well we know his morality is questionable. He loves the "gentlemans clubs" and his choices with money have apparently brought down his standard of living, so I would say that they mirror themselves.

6. What do you think about the fact that Seryozha has grown to consider his memories of his mother "shameful?" What impact do you expect this has on Karenin and Anna?

I think that Karenin has brainwashed his son out of survival for himself and for Seryozha. I don't think it is right, but Karenin chooses to ignore the horrible things in life so it is within character to extend this to his son.

7. At the beginning of Chapter XXIII, Tolstoy writes: "In order to undertake anything in family life, it is necessary that there be either complete discord between the spouses or loving harmony." (p. 739) Do you agree?

I like what Kelley stated. With some disagreement a healthy change can take place.

8. Talk about Anna's extreme jealousy. Do you feel it is founded, or is it a reflection of other things going on in her life?

Once again I think Anna is mentally unstable and she is clinically "depressed." She is irrational and her inappropriate behavior shows it.

9. Discuss, with as much candor as possible, your feelings about Anna's death. Talk about her reasons for doing it, her choices surrounding it, and what you expect the reaction to her death to be.

Anna's dealth was not a shock. She was mentally unstable. With the times, the women of that time were very dramatic. Her character was emphasized in that sense and she was more dramatic and had the gumption to kill herself.

The reaction of her death to me was not too out of line. Anna didn't take the normal path of a society person anyway so there you have it.

10. Think about the way Tolstoy framed Anna's death, and the actual passage in which she dies. What strikes you about them?

I think that Tolstoy had some things happen in his life that brought the character of Anna to head in the direction it did.
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Karen

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PostSubject: Re: Part VII - Pages 671-768   Mon May 07, 2007 6:44 pm

1. What did you think when you learned Levin was a writer? Discuss the similarities between his character and what you know of Tolstoy.
It seemed out of character to me. he was a country man, involved in his estate. I guess having the subject matter be about the running of an estate and how peasantry influence it, brings it around. I know Levin is shaped around Tolstoy, but is it how Tolstoy was or how Tolstoy wished he could be?

2. When Levin and Anna finally meet, what did you think of their interaction? Is it as you expected it might be, or different? How do you feel about the fact that Levin pities Anna? I was with Brienne on this one. I did not realize that they had neve met and kind of went back over the book in my mind along with all the realationships wondering how that could be. Anna is Oblonskys sister, who is married to Kitty's sister...yes, well, it is complicated.
3. Talk about the way that Levin's life seems to lose purpose when he goes to Moscow. How does this relate to his happiness at other times? What messages does the author seem to be sending about city life? the message seems to be that living in the country is healthier for all involved. Every time we have seen him in the city, it has been with poor results.

4. Discuss Levin's fascination with Kitty's process of childbirth. Does this seem like a normal reaction to you? I thought it sounded true to form for most men. He was pretty arrogant with the doctor though, and I was glad the doctor kind of put him in his place by making him wait. the feeling of being 'responsible' for the wifes pain seems to happen to most husband when they witness just how painful the process truly is.

5. Stiva's financial circumstances worsen as the novel progresses. How do you feel his choices with money mirror his other choices or his morality? he is the proverbial grasshopper, happy to live for today with the attitude that tomorrow and the resulting 'aying the piper'will never come, whether it is with money or with relationships with women. It is reinforced by so many other men inthe story who do the same thing. They don't pay thier bills, only the most pressing ones, and move from rich friend to rich friend to stave off paying for their own house hold expenses.

6. What do you think about the fact that Seryozha has grown to consider his memories of his mother "shameful?" What impact do you expect this has on Karenin and Anna? Since karenin feels te same way, it is not surprising. anna thought all along that was what would happen. She said on his birthday she hoped he would grow up, live and come to understand his mothers position.

7. At the beginning of Chapter XXIII, Tolstoy writes: "In order to undertake anything in family life, it is necessary that there be either complete discord between the spouses or loving harmony." (p. 739) Do you agree? No. It can never work with complete discord but on the other hand it does not always call for loving harmony. sometimes a couple may agree to disagree, or give sometimes knowing the other will give on a another time.

8. Talk about Anna's extreme jealousy. Do you feel it is founded, or is it a reflection of other things going on in her life? her jealousy is unfouned. vronsky sacrificed a lot to be with her and put up with a lot when she did not press for the divorce right from the beginning I don't see it as a reflection on other things in her life though. She seemed well adjested at the beginning of the story, just got way off track when she became enamored with Vronsky.

9. Discuss, with as much candor as possible, your feelings about Anna's death. Talk about her reasons for doing it, her choices surrounding it, and what you expect the reaction to her death to be.
I saw it coming. she was very dramatic, ie. her premonition before the birth of her daughter. She wanted the attention and she wanted to be the talk o society. I oculd never get around the fact that she just didn't take the dang divrce when it was first offered. That made no sense to me. Was it better to live as a married woman to Vronsky? No! I really lost my affection for her early in the affair.
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