by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary
- We find out that Oblonsky got his job through a family connection (his sister Anna's husband). Even if that job hadn't been available, someone else would have helped him out, because he's well-connected.
- Apparently, Oblonsky knows half of Moscow and St. Petersburg. He's a great guy and everyone likes him. And besides, that's just how things work in 1870s Russian society: cronyism everywhere.
- Everyone, everywhere, likes Prince Oblonsky, primarily for three reasons: 1) since he knows his own faults, he's extremely willing to forgive everyone else for theirs; 2) he behaves in an egalitarian fashion, meaning that he treats everyone the same, and 3) he never gets excited about his job and he never makes mistakes.
- During his council meeting, there is activity at the door.
- Oblonsky wants to know who's there.
- The doorkeeper points out a big man with a curly beard and a sheepskin hat, whom Oblonsky greets with great affection.
- The man turns out to be Constantine Levin (keep your eye on this character – he's one of the major protagonists).
- Oblonsky and Levin are childhood friends who took different paths in life. Oblonsky is urbane and self-assured, while Levin lives in the country and is socially awkward and shy.
- A characteristically awkward social encounter occurs when Levin is introduced to Oblonsky's colleagues, Philip Nikitin and Michael Grinevich.
- Levin is described as a member of District Council, a cattle breeder, and a hunter. He is also introduced as Sergius Koznyshev's brother. (Sergius Koznyshev is a well-known writer.) Levin isn't too pleased about this last bit, because he hates being known as the "brother of Sergius Koznyshev."
- Also, it turns out that he has quit the District Council.
- Levin blushes furiously when Oblonsky notes that Levin is wearing a new French suit. Levin then insists that the two of them have a private chat.
- After Oblonsky suggests dinner, Levin demurs, arguing that he doesn't have that much to say.
- So Oblonsky tells Levin to say what he needs to say.
- Levin becomes shy, and then finally asks what the Shcherbatskys (those are Oblonsky's in-laws) are up to.
- Oblonsky knows that Levin is in love with Kitty, the youngest Shcherbatsky girl, (who also happens to be Dolly's younger sister.)
- Oblonsky tells Levin that he can't give a short answer to the question.
- They agree to talk later. Levin blushes a lot.
- Oblonsky tells Levin to go to the zoo where Kitty skates. Oblonsky will pick Levin up for dinner there.
- Levin dashes out, realizing later that he forgot to say good-bye to Oblonsky's colleagues.
- We also find out that Levin owns six thousand acres of land in the Karazin District.
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