Study Guide

Anna Karenina Part 8, Chapter 13

By Leo Tolstoy

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Part 8, Chapter 13

  • Levin recalls watching Dolly’s children wasting food while playing a game, and compares this abuse of food with the act of philosophizing.
  • He thinks that philosophers are just like these children: like the kids, they have been provided with everything they need to nourish themselves (spiritually, at least), but they take it for granted, wasting what they’ve been given in intellectual games. Faith in goodness and the meaning of life is built into our natures, but these fools keep trying to prove what we all already know to begin with.
  • As Levin lies on his back in a field, he realizes that the globe is round, but that he cannot see that roundness; all he can see is the flatness of the sky.
  • Similarly, Levin knows at last that he is part of a universe that he doesn’t really understand. He can’t really know anything about Creation—the devil, heaven, hell, etc. He knows what he’s been told, but he has no proof. So it has to be enough for him to believe in God, and to let go of his need for rational explanation.
  • Levin names this new feeling of completeness inside of him “faith,” and thanks God for it.

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