by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Constance Garnett's translation in the "Quotes" section, but referred to Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation in other parts of the guide.
There was apparently nothing extraordinary in what she said, but what unutterable meaning there was for him in every sound, in every turn of her lips, her eyes, her hand as she said it! There was entreaty for forgiveness, and trust in him, and tenderness – soft, timid tenderness – and promise and hope and love for him, which he could not but believe in and which choked him with happiness. (4.9.40)
Although Kitty's words are simple, the way she says them means the world to Levin.
"Remember that I have forbidden you to utter that word, that hateful word," said Anna, with a shudder. But at once she felt that by that very word "forbidden" she had shown that she acknowledged certain rights over him, and by that very fact was encouraging him to speak of love. "I have long meant to tell you this," she went on, looking resolutely into his eyes, and hot all over from the burning flush on her cheeks. "I've come on purpose this evening, knowing I should meet you. I have come to tell you that this must end. I have never blushed before anyone, and you force me to feel to blame for something."
He looked at her and was struck by a new spiritual beauty in her face.
"What do you wish of me?" he said simply and seriously.
"I want you to go to Moscow and ask for Kitty's forgiveness," she said.
"You don't wish that?" he said.
He saw she was saying what she forced herself to say, not what she wanted to say.
"If you love me, as you say," she whispered, "do so that I may be at peace."
His face grew radiant.
"Don't you know that you're all my life to me? But I know no peace, and I can't give it to you; all myself – and love...yes. I can't think of you and myself apart. You and I are one to me. And I see no chance before us of peace for me or for you. I see a chance of despair, of wretchedness...or I see a chance of bliss, what bliss!... Can it be there's no chance of it?" he murmured with his lips; but she heard.
She strained every effort of her mind to say what ought to be said. But instead of that she let her eyes rest on him, full of love, and made no answer. (2.7.44-53)
Anna seems to hope that by saying she's not interested in Vronsky, it will be true. But instead she still feels love for him. Anna is saying one thing with her mouth, but communicating something entirely different with her eyes. Vronsky understands that Anna's words are not to be trusted.
"But how was it settled between you, mamma?"
"You imagine, I dare say, that you invented something quite new? It's always just the same: it was settled by the eyes, by smiles..."
"How nicely you said that, mamma! It's just by the eyes, by smiles that it's done," Dolly assented. (6.2.32-34)
The elder Princess Shcherbatsky argues that marriage proposals are confirmed through body language, and not through spoken words. Dolly agrees, and this is also Kitty's experience – Levin proposed to Kitty (the second time, when she accepted) by writing it in chalk.