Study Guide

Anna Karenina Part 1, Chapter 20

By Leo Tolstoy

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Part 1, Chapter 20

  • Anna spends the day at her brother's house without receiving anyone. Instead, she sits with her sister-in-law, nephews and nieces. She sends Oblonsky a note telling him to eat dinner at home: "Come, God is merciful," she writes.
  • At dinner, it's clear that reconciliation is possible between Dolly and Stiva.
  • Kitty comes in after dinner, nervous about whether Anna will like her, and then promptly falls in love with Anna, "as young girls are capable of being in love with older married ladies" (1.20.3).
  • Kitty finds Anna beautiful and simple, but sometimes there is a sorrow in her eyes that suggests another side to Anna, a poetic, inaccessible side.
  • Anna tells her brother to go talk to his wife.
  • All five of the Oblonsky children fall for Anna as thoroughly as Kitty does, playing a game where they all try to touch her and play with her hair and jewelry.
  • Anna and Kitty chat about the upcoming ball, then Anna mentions meeting Vronsky and congratulates Kitty about him. She leaves out the bit about Vronsky donating two hundred rubles to that widow, which, for some reason, she finds unpleasant to remember.
  • Anna says she is visiting the Countess Vronsky tomorrow, and resumes playing with her nieces and nephews.

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