Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anna Karenina: Conclusion

This post wraps up my thoughts on Anna Karenina. It could be a major spoiler for the book so if you want to find out what happens for yourself stop right here!

The contrast between Anna and Levin is clear throughout the book. While a sense of dirtiness and disgust cover Anna and Vronsky as their desires are fulfilled, the sense of joy and happiness at the ultimate success of Levin's pursuit of Kitty stands in marked contrast. Both Levin and Anna end up with the person whom they desire, Anna in an illegitimate relationship, Levin in a legitimate one. Both Anna and Levin entertain the desire to end their own lives at various points throughout the book. But there the similarities end. Anna is destroyed by what she thought would make her happy and bring her fulfillment. Levin grows as a man and ultimately finds faith in God. This is the story and point of Anna Karenina; the stark contrast between the two ways of living. 

Perhaps Jesus said it best, "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to
destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14). Anna and Vronsky entered (and were summarily destroyed) through the broad road of pursuing their desires while Levin through the narrow gate of faith in Christ. Tolstoy's great novel stands as a sentinel to us today urging us to choose the narrow, though often more difficult, way of following Jesus.

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