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Literature Study GuidesAnna KareninaPart 5 Chapters 1 6 Summary

Anna Karenina | Study Guide

Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina | Part 5, Chapters 1–6 | Summary



In Chapter 1, Levin's and Kitty's families help them prepare for the wedding, and Levin, in a state of perpetual happiness, agrees to everything. Stiva reminds Levin he needs to go to confession so that he can be married in the church. Levin is an unbeliever, but at the same time not entirely convinced of his position. When he speaks to the priest, he confesses doubts, especially about the existence of God. After the priest admonishes him, he gives Levin absolution and blesses him.

In Chapter 2, Levin has his last bachelor dinner at the hotel with his brother Koznyshev and two friends, and they tease him about premarriage jitters. This leads him to wonder if Kitty really loves him. Thus, he visits her and says she can back out of the wedding, but Kitty reassures him. Chapters 3 through 6 cover the wedding, which is a two-part ceremony of a betrothal and a crowning (the wedding rite). In Chapter 5, Dolly remembers her own wedding and "first innocent love." Her mind then travels to all her female friends who, like Kitty "stood under the crown with love, hope and fear in their hearts, renouncing the past and entering into a mysterious future." She also remembers Anna and thinks about her current troubles. In Chapter 6, the matrimonial ceremony takes place, and after supper Levin and Kitty leave for his estate.


Anna Karenina is a love story, but it is one that is concerned with love's part in marriage. It is no accident that the destruction of Anna's marriage and the sad fulfillment of her affair are followed so quickly by Kitty and Levin's nuptials.

Levin has a tendency to doubt—himself, his betrothed, and even God. Here, his doubts are laid to rest. For Tolstoy, marriage is the greatest good in the secular world, and he firmly believes in the primacy of the family as the foundation of society. While marriage, like faith, is not without its problems or tragedies, belief and practice can keep both strong.

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