by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Life, Creation, and Existence 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 no solution, but that universal solution which life gives to all questions, even the most complex and insoluble. That answer is: one must live in the needs of the day – that is, forget oneself. To forget himself in sleep was impossible now, at least till nighttime; he could not go back now to the music sung by the decanter-women; so he must forget himself in the dream of daily life. (1.2.3)
Tolstoy returns to this idea of "living the needs of the day" with Levin in Part 8. Here, however, Oblonsky seeks an escape from thinking about the seeming impossibility of remedying his shameful actions.
He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in the world. There was only one creature in the world that could concentrate for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was Kitty. He understood that she was driving to Ergushovo from the railway station. And everything that had been stirring Levin during that sleepless night, all the resolutions he had made, all vanished at once. He recalled with horror his dreams of marrying a peasant girl. There only, in the carriage that had crossed over to the other side of the road, and was rapidly disappearing, there only could he find the solution of the riddle of his life, which had weighed so agonizingly upon him of late. (3.12.14)
Levin believes that marriage to Kitty will reveal the answers to life that he so desperately seeks. However, when he finally gets married and has a son, he realizes that simply starting a family isn't the answer. His final epiphany will include Kitty, but it is not limited to her.
"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. (2.7.52)
Vronsky argues that his entire life has become bound to Anna and attempting to win her love.