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Analysis

Literary Devices in Anna Karenina

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Trains are the most important symbols in the story of Anna Karenina, due to their prominence in the Anna/Vronsky story line. More specifically, trains are a destructive element throughout the novel...

Setting

First and foremost, Anna Karenina is a Russian novel. It's not just that the characters happen to be Russian. More than that, the characters we meet are interested in their Russian-ness, and they d...

Narrator Point of View

In the world of Anna Karenina, the eyes of Leo Tolstoy see all and know all. In other words, this novel is told from the perspective of an omniscient, or all-knowing third-person narrator. The stor...

Genre

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). Thi...

Tone

Tolstoy is expert at sketching character traits in just a few lines. His accounts of Petersburg hypocrisy, the desperate love between Anna and Vronsky, and the more sustaining and positive affectio...

Writing Style

Tolstoy's style seems to favor a good coordinating conjunction – you know, and, but, or and so on. If you look at any extended passage in Anna Karenina, chances are you'll see piles of senten...

What's Up with the Title?

Based on the title of the novel, you might assume that the whole book is about Anna Karenina. While Anna is one focus of Tolstoy's intense psychological analysis, the novel is about a lot more than...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

"Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." – Romans 12:19There are two ways we can try to get at this epigraph: the first is to think about revenge in the novel. The subject of reveng...

Plot Analysis

Anna Karenina's such a masterful novel that it's got two complete main plots for the price of one. We're going to outline them both here. We can't help but notice that the plots are in a lot of way...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy and Quest

The thing about Anna Karenina is there are (at least) two plot lines here. And each corresponds to a different classic plot. So we're going to distinguish between Anna's story, a Tragedy, and Levin...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The first act of a story is the beginning, which stretches until the moment when the characters have gone to the point of no return. At the outset of the novel, Anna is bored with her husband, who...

Trivia

Tolstoy called Anna Karenina the first novel he ever wrote, even though he started War and Peace first. (Source: Pevear, Richard. Introduction. Anna Karenina.)Anna Karenina was an Oprah Book Club r...

Steaminess Rating

The novel opens with the dramatic aftermath of what happens when you have sex with your governess instead of your wife. Despite the reconciliation between the unfaithful Oblonsky and his wife Dolly...

Allusions

Shakespeare: King Lear – Levin and Nataly attend a concert where one of the main pieces is a fantasia entitled King Lear on the Heath (7.5.2).
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