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Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina


by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary

  • Anna and Vronsky catch up on each others' lives, but Anna gets angry at the idea of a certain actress, Thérèse, being at a party that Vronsky gave.
  • Anna's attacks of jealousy have been increasing, and it makes Vronsky feel colder towards her.
  • She has changed for the worse from the time they first met, both morally and physically.
  • He compares her to a beautiful flower that he has plucked and destroyed so that now he is unable to recognize in the current faded object the beauty of his prior affection.
  • At the same time, Vronsky knows that the two of them have a bond that can't be broken.
  • The two chat briefly about Karenin. Anna can imitate him exactly. She does so out of anger, and calls Karenin a machine instead of a human being.
  • Vronsky asks when she is going to have the baby.
  • Anna says it will be soon. She says that everyone will be at peace soon. She is referring to her death, which she says is imminent.
  • She describes a dream she had a long time ago, where she ran into her bedroom and found an ugly old peasant with a matted beard in the corner. He fumbled in a sack and spoke in French. (Just like Vronsky's dream in the previous chapter.) When Anna woke up she was still in a dream, and a servant told her that she would die in childbirth.
  • The French she hears, while the meaning is not immediately clear, goes like this: "il faut le batter le fer, le broyer, le pétrir …" In other words, "You must beat the iron, pound it, knead it" (4.3.60).
  • Vronsky tries to alleviate her fears, but he lacks conviction.
  • Anna rings for tea, and as she does so the expression on her face changes from horror to bliss.
  • She feels the baby (new life) move inside her.

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