Notes on Anna Karenina Themes

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Anna Karenina Topic Tracking: Balance

Book 1, Chapters 23-27

Balance 1: Levin is designated as Tolstoy's self-representation in this novel. He believes in the land, nature, faith and marriage. These are things that make him the single most balanced character in the book, the one that Tolstoy consistently supports. Levin's character represents a harmony unparalleled, the kind that befits a man chosen for a good life. As a character, he evolves into this harmonious state.

Book 2, Chapters 30-35

Balance 2: Kitty is introduced here as the most well-balanced female character. Her devotion to family and marriage make her genuine and worthy in Tolstoy's eyes. Her evolution as a balanced character supports Levin's evolution as well. They complement each other.

Book 3, Chapters 12-23

Balance 3: Vronsky is shown here to be entirely unbalanced. His superficial urban concerns are trivial compared with Levin's.

Book 7, Chapters 1-12

Balance 4: Anna here appears to be scrabbling for stability more than ever before. She is contrasted with both Kitty and Levin, the two most balanced and stable characters.

Book 7, Chapters 23-31

Balance 5: An unbalanced, toppling Anna falls to earth here. Her trivial, dishonest, insincere concerns in her life forced her to gradually decay and eventually fall.

Book 8, Chapters 6-19

Balance 6: This is the point where Levin finally finds the ultimate balance he's been seeking.

Balance 7: Levin finds ultimate spiritual strength through his family and his newborn son. He is whole.

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