Study Guide

Anna Karenina Part 7, Chapter 17

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Part 7, Chapter 17

  • The Oblonsky family barely has any money. Oblonsky believes the problem is that he's not getting paid enough, and so he starts scouting for a better position.
  • The position depends on two Ministers, and requires that Oblonsky visit them in Petersburg. While in Petersburg, Oblonsky had also promised to see Karenin about Anna's divorce.
  • Oblonsky sits with Karenin while Karenin reviews Oblonsky's memo about Russia's finances.
  • He asks Karenin to drop Pomorsky a hint that Oblonsky would be best for the post of the Committee of the Joint Agency of the Mutual Credit Balance of the Southern Railways.
  • After Oblonsky confesses that the chief reason he wants the post is because it carries a better salary, Karenin launches into a bit of a lecture on the excessiveness of salaries and the problem throughout the government of favoritism.
  • Oblonsky argues that the post is new and important, and that it must be conducted with honesty, something Karenin seems less interested in.
  • What follows is a small anti-Semitic segment that demonstrates, in Oblonsky's eyes, how much he has compromised his own noble birth: in begging for this post, he visited a Jewish official, Bolgarinov. Despite Oblonsky's descent from Rurik (one of the early rulers of Russia), Bolgarinov still makes him sit and wait for two hours, as though he were a commoner. He continues to feel awkward about the meeting, and it's making him feel as if he's off on the wrong foot with Karenin.

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