Friday, 21 June 2013

Anna's weaknesses

- Too honest- can't have an affair behind her husband's back and can't lie about it
- Sensitive, acutely aware of people's attitudes but once in a while still challenges people (eg. by appearing at the theatre before everybody)
- Thinks too much
- Torments herself (and Vronsky)
- Seemingly strong and determined but weak, unstable and insecure 
- High expectations and demands in love
- Full of fears and doubts and worries and contradictions
- Sometimes refuses to face reality
- Doesn't find the way out for herself- divorce, because of her son Serezha, and thus lets herself be disgraced and trapped in that situation
- Isolates herself from people in society but at the same time can't live in a foreign country
- Makes herself have nobody but Vronsky and therefore loses her independence and becomes heavily dependent on him and his love
- Insecure and thus jealous, unreasonably jealous 
- Irritable and moody
- Makes Vronsky feel suffocated and tortured
- Sometimes selfish, not considering how people feel (Karenin, Vronsky)
- Passionate, emotional to the point of being sentimental, irrational and self-destructive now and then 

As slow as a snail, I've now come to part 6 chapter 25. Though here I make a list of Anna's weaknesses and faults, I like her and feel sorry for her and sympathise with her, not condemn her. Tolstoy brilliantly lets us enter her head, think like her, feel like her, stand in her position and look upon life from her perspective (which he also does with all other characters, skilfully and effectively). Reading this novel I change the opinions formed by the film adaptations I've seen- on 1 hand I start to understand Karenin's personality and suffering, especially his stoicism or his incapability of identifying and articulating his own feelings, and thus, though I still don't like him, I no longer hate him; on the other hand, the hypocrisy of the aristocrats disgusts me nevertheless or even more than before, I know Anna's tragedy is also partly caused by her own self. 
"Anna Karenina" is a masterpiece, and Lev Tolstoy's a genius. Because of his wonderful writing style, vivid and detailed descriptions, deep understanding of human nature and people's personalities/ characters and emotions, his ability to create very real and convincing characters and then to enter their minds and to allows us to see things from their points of view, his social criticism and the strong impression he has created on me, I place Tolstoy above my favourite writers so far such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, George Orwell, J. D. Salinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Milan Kundera, etc. I feel like this masterpiece has changed me forever, making me look at everything in a new light- life and people and human nature and myself and literature and the books I've read and the way I'll perceive books in the future. I haven't written in my diary for weeks and decided not to, for a while, and instead, I've been and will continue spending time reading and watching films and enjoying the sun and living and experiencing and looking around me and observing and feeling and contemplating life, relationships and all other things. 
This book is a masterpiece. [At some point, if possible, I may also write about Constantine Levin].

To PT: 
I don't think you can read these lines, but if you can, I miss you. I find myself in Anna and, while writing this analysis, think of you. I still think of you sometimes. 


Updated on 23/6: From John Bayley's introduction: 

"... When Tolstoy commented that whatever line he took in his plan for the novel, and whatever solutions he tried, Anna always ended up under the wheels of the train, he was in an important sense confessing his own horror at the growing sense of where life's journey ended, and how impossible it was to do anything about it. Tolstoy would never have said 'Anna Karenine, c'est moi", as Flaubert had said "Madame Bovary, c'est moi", but in his contemplation of Anna's destiny there is an unmistakable degree of identification. Anna had broken free; and as Tolstoy increasingly longed to break free, from the entanglement of wife and family and his aristocratic position. He longed for the simple life of a saint or hermit. But in his moments of deepest gloom he realised that it would all be the same in the end, and that pride and will would drive him on to the same fate in any circumstances, as it would drive Father Sergius in his later story of a military aristocrat who abandoned his career to become a wandering beggar and starets..." 

"...Tolstoy frequently shows that 'love', in the sense in which lovers think of it, is not what is really needed or wanted. Insisted upon, as Anna, who feels she has nothing else, insists on it, it becomes the 'dismal burden' of which Vronsky will become daily conscious. In a happy relation, as that between the married lovers at the end of 'War and peace', or between Kitty and Levin when they settle down, love is not the point. They find they have become happy to be together, and this happiness cannot be found by Vronsky and Anna. When they are most joyfully conscious of their love they are never together: Vronsky is happiest on his own when he is going to see Anna, not when he is with her; and she, alone, isolated and pregnant, has the desolating knowledge that he is thinking in quite a different way, 'and that her last hopes had been deceived. This was not what she had expected..."

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