Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
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Anna Karenina Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

  • We get an overview of the best social clique in Petersburg – although everyone in it is friends, there are, of course, subdivisions.
  • Anna belongs to three subdivisions: 1) Karenin's official career group. 2) The "conscience of Petersburg society," which is comprised of charitable women and able, educated men. Karenin made his career through this group, and Countess Lydia is its Queen Bee. Since getting back to Petersburg, Anna hasn't been hanging out with them at much – she feels like everyone is pretending. 3) A high society circle of balls, dinner parties, and Court populated with socialites. Her cousin's wife, Princess Betsy Tverskoy, has taken a liking to Anna and introduces her to this set of people. They're young and beautiful and make fun of people like Countess Lydia. They're the crème de la crème of Petersburg society.
  • After Anna returns from Moscow, she begins hanging out with mainly Princess Betsy's crowd, instead of Countess Lydia and her moral friends. Vronsky also belongs to this set of people – Princess Betsy is his cousin. (So this would make Anna and Vronsky cousins-in-law.)
  • Every time Vronsky and Anna meet, Vronsky tells her about his love for her.
  • Anna doesn't encourage Vronsky's behavior, but she feels a little thrill every time he makes these declarations.
  • At first, Anna finds his pursuit annoying, but when she doesn't see him one evening she's disappointed and realizes that she's actually interested in him.
  • One night, Princess Betsy Tsverskoy's circle is at the Opera House.
  • Vronsky arrives and goes immediately to Princess Betsy's box.
  • She teases him about Anna. He says he's afraid of becoming ridiculous, while at the same time knowing that society finds something beautiful in the idea of pursuing married women.
  • Princess Betsy asks Vronsky why he hasn't come to dinner.
  • Vronsky says he was making peace between a husband and someone who had offended his wife.
  • He has to go to the French Theatre next to help achieve the reconciliation.
  • Princess Betsy asks for the full story.

Next Page: Part 2, Chapter 5
Previous Page: Part 2, Chapter 3

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