by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina Society and Class 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.
"Divorce, you mean?" said Anna. "Do you know, the only woman who came to see me in Petersburg was Betsy Tverskaya? You know her, of course? At bottom she's the most depraved woman in existence. She had an affair with Tushkevitch, deceiving her husband in the basest way. And she told me that she did not care to know me so long as my position was irregular. (6.23.20)
Princess Betsy lives a false life, and is accepted by society. Anna is frustrated that Betsy can get away with adultery through deceit, while she herself is ostracized as a result of being honest and making her love public.
In solitude afterwards, thinking over that glance which had expressed his right to freedom, she came, as she always did, to the same point – the sense of her own humiliation. "He has the right to go away when and where he chooses. Not simply to go away, but to leave me. He has every right, and I have none. But knowing that, he ought not to do it." (6.32.2)
One of the biggest conflicts in Vronsky and Anna's relationship is that he's free to go about in society, and she is not. In other words, he can basically keep up the same lifestyle, while her life is irreversibly changed. Would Vronsky have been able to endure the complete social isolation that Anna suffers?
[Kitty:] "Put on your frock coat, so that you can go straight to call on Countess Bola."
[Levin:] "But is it absolutely necessary?"
[Kitty:] "Oh, absolutely! He has been to see us. Come, what is it? You go in, sit down, talk for five minutes of the weather, get up and go away."
[Levin:] "Oh, you wouldn't believe it! I've got so out of the way of all this that it makes me feel positively ashamed. It's such a horrible thing to do! A complete outsider walks in, sits down, stays on with nothing to do, wastes their time and worries himself, and walks away!" (7.2.11-14)
Levin feels uncomfortable paying social calls, in part because the interactions seem so superficial to him.