Literature Study GuidesAnna KareninaPart 6 Chapters 27 32 Summary

Anna Karenina | Study Guide

Leo Tolstoy

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Anna Karenina | Part 6, Chapters 27–32 | Summary



Provincial elections are held the next day, in Chapter 27. The progressives (which include Sviyazhsky, Stiva, Koznyshev, and Vronsky) are now maneuvering to get their candidate elected. When the vote comes up in Chapter 28, Levin cannot remember for whom he is supposed to vote, but the progressive party prevails in the first part of its strategy to oust the current provincial leader. In Chapter 29, Levin runs into one of the landowners he met previously at Sviyazhsky's house, and they discuss how they both do not make much money at farming. Levin is brought over to meet Vronsky in Chapter 30, whom he can no longer avoid. Their meeting is somewhat awkward, and Levin and Vronsky discuss the local courts, which Levin says are idiotic. Stiva interrupts the conversation because they are calling for a vote, and Levin's brother scolds him for his lack of political tact. The progressives win the day, as their candidate for provincial marshal is elected.

Vronsky is enjoying his new role as a political man, and in Chapter 31 hosts a dinner for the victors. At the end of the dinner, Vronsky gets a letter from Anna. Vronsky has promised to return Friday, but it is now Saturday, so he is not surprised that Anna reproaches him. She also says the baby is sick. Vronsky is struck by the contrast between the "innocent merriment" of the election celebration and the "gloomy, oppressive love" he has to return to, but he takes the first train home. Upon arriving in Chapter 32, he discovers that their baby is not so sick and Anna is in a petulant mood. He reassures her again and tells her he cannot live without her, although she sees in his eyes "the cold and angry look of a persecuted and embittered man." Anna agrees to write to Karenin for a divorce, and she moves with Vronsky to Moscow.


Levin has tagged along with his brother mostly because he is bored with his dull life in Moscow; he also has some business in the area on behalf of his sister. His total disinterest in the proceedings is somewhat comical, and at one point he embarrasses his brother when he cannot remember for whom he is supposed to vote. When he meets Vronsky, he feels awkward and unintentionally insults him by saying he thinks the local courts are idiotic; Vronsky himself is a justice of the peace.

Anna has accepted that Vronsky needs to spend a few days away from her, and he is having a good and wholesome time participating in the elections and then hosting a dinner for a new circle of friends, but she cannot let him enjoy himself. She sends him a nagging letter and even says that the baby is sick to give him more incentive to run home. Vronsky is finding his relationship with Anna more and more oppressive, and her clinginess and jealousy are having the opposite effect: they are driving him away emotionally. Still, he remains committed to her, but she finally sees the necessity of asking Karenin for a divorce.

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