Study Guide

Anna Karenina Part 4, Chapter 23

By Leo Tolstoy

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Part 4, Chapter 23

  • Even though Vronsky's bullet misses his heart, he's still dangerously injured. For several days, Vronsky hovers between life and death.
  • When he regains consciousness, he no longer feels the shame and humiliation that led him to pull the trigger. He feels that he can look people in the eye again.
  • However, he despairs that he has lost Anna forever. He knows he will not stand in the way of her being with her husband.
  • Serpukhovskoy had arranged a post for him in Tashkent (a.k.a. the middle of nowhere in Russia), which he accepts. He begins making preparations for his departure.
  • As he departure date draws closer, he wishes he could see Anna one last time, hence Betsy's request. He believes he is turned down.
  • The next morning, Betsy comes to tell him that Karenin is giving Anna a divorce. Vronsky can go see her.
  • Vronsky dashes out and goes straight to the Karenin house. He goes straight to Anna without noticing anything else and begins covering her in passionate kisses.
  • Anna is overcome. Later, she says that there's something horrible in their happiness.
  • Vronsky says it will only make their love stronger.
  • At the end of their conversation, Anna returns to the idea that her death would have been the best outcome.
  • Much to the dismay of his superiors, Vronsky refuses the post in Tashkent. Seeing his superiors' dismay, Vronsky resigns from the military.
  • A month later, Anna and Vronsky decide that Anna shouldn't press for the divorce. Instead, they go abroad to Italy to find a rest cure for Anna (who is still weak). Karenin is left alone in the house.

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