Study Guide

Anna Karenina Part 3, Chapter 29

By Leo Tolstoy

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Part 3, Chapter 29

  • Carrying out his plan is hard, but Levin keeps trying. He explains to everyone that he plans to give them leases for his land with new conditions that allow them a share of the profits of their specific work. So, a farmer who works the orchard would get a share of apple profits, or Ivan the Cowherd would get part of milk sales. This portion of the profits would presumably be enough incentive for them all to work more efficiently, and to adopt Levin's improvements to increase yield.
  • The chief difficulty is that the peasants are already so busy with their current season—and so worried about getting cheated out of profits—that they don't listen to what Levin has to say.
  • Levin is so focused on his project that it takes up practically his entire summer.
  • He reads a lot: theory, socialism, politics, and so on. The more he tries to grapple with John Stuart Mill (see the "Allusions" section), the less he feels convinced that European rules apply to specifically Russian social conditions.
  • Levin tries to understand how to make his land more profitable. He believes that Russia has great land and great laborers, and he wants to understand how to be more productive.
  • To this aim, he reads widely and plans to go abroad to explore the question in greater depth.
  • Levin believes that the chief problem is the ingrained habits and stubbornness of the laboring class. He seeks to prove this theoretically in his book and practically on his farm.

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