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Analysis

Anna Karenina Genre

Family Drama, Romance, Tragedy, Literary Fiction

Look in the dictionary next to "Family Drama," and you'll probably find a picture of Anna Karenina (if your average dictionary has a definition of "family drama"; dictionary.com doesn’t). This is all about the dramas that families get into, including issues such as adultery, battles over the divorce and child custody, and marriage proposals. And Levin even thinks the family is the basis of all productive life, for crying out loud!

As for romance, Anna Karenina centers around two couples, Anna and Vronsky and Levin and Kitty. We'd say the focus on romantic love is pretty clear.

And tragedy, well, anything in which a main character is doomed thanks to their own bad behavior and society's cruelty is a tragedy.

Finally, Anna Karenina is an example of literary fiction because it focuses more on style and psychological depth than on plot. In other words, this isn't a commercial page-turner or pot-boiler. The chapters dealing with Levin's philosophical issues and Anna's emotional disintegration are all signs of literariness. If Anna were a ninja, or if Levin killed vampires in his spare time, that would be a page-turner, but that’s not how Tolstoy rolls.

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