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Anna Karenina | Part 8, Chapters 1–5 | Summary

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Summary

In Chapter 1, it is the summer of 1876. Koznyshev gets involved with the Slavophiles' defense of the Christian Serbians against the Ottoman Turks as a way to distract himself, because his new book, six years in the making, is virtually ignored by the press or the public. But he takes his customary break to visit Levin in the country, bringing Katavasov along. When they get to the station in Chapter 2, they speak to Princess Lydia, who is seeing off the volunteers on their way to the war. She tells them that Vronsky is among the soldiers.

Stiva also appears in the crowd and asks Koznyshev to carry to his wife the message that he has been appointed to the post for which he has been lobbying. When Stiva looks for Vronsky, he finds a man aged and suffering. In Chapter 3, Koznyshev and Katavasov take their places on the train; Katavasov, curious about the volunteers, speaks to some of them and finds them to be a motley crew going to war mostly out of desperation. Koznyshev runs into Vronsky's mother in Chapter 4, who is going part of the way with her son. She calls Anna "a bad woman," ruining "herself and two fine men" for a "desperate passion." Vronsky's daughter has gone to Karenin. Koznyshev, on the countess's urging, then searches out Vronsky in Chapter 5. He seems resigned and even hopeful to give his life for the cause. Vronsky begins thinking of Anna but can recall no good memories—just her vengeful threat at the end, and he begins to cry.

Analysis

The author ties up some loose ends in these chapters. Koznyshev finishes his book, but his effort is wasted because he does not get a hearing, validating Lenin's (and Tolstoy's) opinions about the impotence of revolutionary measures. Stiva lands on his feet, procuring a nonjob for a lot of money. This is not surprising, because Stiva is very skilled at getting what he wants. Countess Vronsky's anger at Anna is more of a personal vendetta than a sign of motherly devotion. Anna not only won her battle with Vronsky, but she eviscerated him just as she eviscerated Karenin. He will not likely return from the war he goes to fight. Tolstoy comments, through Katavasov, on people who go off to unnecessarily fight a war and shows that, for the most part, they do so to run away from their own problems.

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