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A STEP BEYOND
TESTS AND ANSWERS
TEST 1_____ 1. Which character is sometimes said to represent a less intense, more shallow version of Anna? -
II. afraid that Anna might die, he was overcome with desperation
III. this gesture serves to reinforce the drama and finality of Anna's suicide
B. II only
C. I, II, and III
II. because he is not under any financial stress III. to express Tolstoy's fears that city people will ruin Russia
B. I and II only
C. I and III only
B. that her own life is perfect
C. that imperfect as her life may be, she wouldn't trade it for Anna's
II. foreshadow Levin's spiritual awakening later on
III. allow Tolstoy to present in minute detail a ritual he holds dear
B. None of the above
C. All of the above
B. "gilded youth"
C. "bravest soldiers"
B. discoursing on it as an omniscient narrator
C. presenting Vronsky and Stiva as participants in the campaign
II. underscore Kostya's fear of death
III. let us know that Kitty is resourceful and calm in emergencies and that she has no horror of the natural processes of life
B. I and III only
C. II and III only
B. wanted to hurt Karenin in any way she could
C. wanted Karenin to order her to stop
B. the sweep of his stories
C. his unusual metaphors
11. Anna Karenina is one of the most memorable characters in world literature. What makes her unforgettable to you? -
12. Both Karenin and Levin undergo dramatic religious struggles. Contrast these struggles and their respective outcomes. -
13. Tolstoy is famous for his set pieces. Pick one and discuss the ways in which it advances the plot, reveals character, and functions symbolically. -
TEST 2_____ 1. Karenin represents -
B. a man of considerable power and prestige
C. a devoted father
B. he is given to disastrous spells of egotism
C. he is an unskilled horseman
B. is coquettish and wants to see how many offers she can attract
C. is young, confused by her recent debut in society, and doesn't really know what she feels
B. cracking his knuckles, a high-pitched voice
C. a nervous cough, rough, red hands
B. abhors arranged marriages
C. does not think that marriage is an important institution
B. by asking her father for her hand
C. in a secret language only Kitty will understand
B. is a doomed enterprise
C. represents the Tolstoyan ideal of the harmony possible between physical and intellectual work
B. should have every opportunity that men have
C. are morally inferior to men
B. she is a slave to fashion
C. her nature is irrepressibly passionate
B. are afraid of her
C. are still drawn to her
11. Contrast Anna and Levin. -
12. Discuss Tolstoy's views of city and country life and the way he treats city and country in Anna Karenina. -
13. To what extent is Anna a victim, and to what extent is she guilty and responsible for her ruin?
11. Not only is Anna beautiful and vivacious, but she is mysterious. It is just about impossible for a reader to understand her completely. She hates hypocrites, yet can be cruel. She must break free of a suffocating marriage, but then all but suffocates Vronsky with her jealousy. Toward the end, she is devastated by loneliness, but cannot bring herself really to talk with Dolly, the only friend she has left. Yet we respect Anna, for she is brave and true to herself although such sincerity leads to a painful clash with her society. And we hurt for her, for she is so utterly, utterly lost. Anna touches sensitive points in all of us. She stirs our attraction to glamour and beauty, even as she arouses our anxieties and fears. -
12. Karenin wants to be "a good Christian," mostly to satisfy his ego. He almost makes it (take a look at the scene at Anna's bedside after she gives birth to her daughter). But he really wants revenge and uses religious dogma as a means to justify this. He has so little individual sense of right and wrong that he falls prey to a fake mystic (Landau) who gives him orders based on "divine messages." Levin's struggle is to overcome his horror of death and belief that death is an evil worked by an evil God. He reads, studies, and broods almost continuously. His illumination comes gradually, but he has several moments when a light seems to go on in his soul. His marriage and the birth of his son prepare him for his religious illumination (especially Kitty, and her intuitive acceptance of death and birth as part of a natural and blessed process), which comes after his discussion with Theodore, a peasant. -
13. The scything scene (Part III, Chapters 4-6), the steeplechase (Part II, Chapters 24-25), Kitty and Levin's wedding (Part V, Chapters 2-6), and the hunt (Part VI, Chapters 8-13) are the four major set pieces in this novel. The steeplechase reveals Vronsky's susceptibility to the flattering attention of others and the ways in which he relates similarly to Anna and his horse. It also foreshadows that he will prove responsible for Anna's death, as he was for Frou-Frou's.
The wedding scene lets us know that Kitty and Levin will live a traditional life. It also signals us that Levin is softening toward religion. The hunt points up the differences between Levin, Stiva, and Varenka regarding women and marriage, the meaning of hunting, and the relationship of the hunter to the hunted. It also emphasizes the different perceptions the three men have to peasants in general and peasant women in particular.
The scything scene emphasizes that Levin wants to have harmony between his physical and intellectual work, that he feels a partnership with the peasants, that he realizes he has a lot to learn from them. The scene is also so visually beautiful that it serves to glorify the hard task of scything. -
11. Anna and Levin are both seekers. Anna's quest is for personal happiness; Levin's, for spiritual peace. Anna comes to ruin; Levin finds happiness and serenity. Consider what the fates of these characters tell us thematically. -
12. Think carefully about which scenes Tolstoy situates in the city and which scenes he situates in the country. Anna and Vronsky begin a mutual flirtation at a ball in the city; they consummate their love in the city; later, Anna is cruelly ostracized by her former friends during a performance at the opera. In the country, Levin establishes a revolutionary farming system and a relationship between landowner and peasant that is altogether new in Russia. Levin and Kitty's son is born in the country. And Levin's spiritual illumination occurs while he is walking in his fields.
Think also about the city characters and the country characters. Princess Betsy and her circle make up a hypocritical society. Landau, the fake clairvoyant, finds a foothold among the "notables" of urban society; he wouldn't have had a chance of fooling the peasants on Levin's estate.
Tolstoy believed that the land was Russia's most important source of wealth. He worried about the rapid growth of Russian cities and the increasing emphasis on urban values. Two scenes involving Stiva- a quintessential city slicker- express Tolstoy's anxiety. Stiva undersells his forest to Ryabinin, contributing to the devaluation of the Russian countryside. Stiva's job with the railroad will further jeopardize Russian farmland. These scenes illustrate what Tolstoy felt to be the ignorance of city people regarding the land and their desire to get rich quick at the expense of an ancient way of life. -
13. Anna is a victim of her society because she was forced into marrying Karenin, whom she did not love,- and because her society-approved marriage did not allow for her happiness; it only set her up to be a "respectable wife." When she was open about her affair with Vronsky, her society spurned her because she wasn't playing by their rules. Totally deserted by her society, she is virtually driven mad by loneliness. Anna was unable to make a clean break with Karenin (you could argue here that she was unable to escape society's guilt trip). Had she been able to leave her family altogether and marry Vronsky, she would have had a life in society. But there is something dark in Anna's nature. Her emotions are so strong, so extreme, and her nature is so totally governed by her feelings (rather than by thoughts) that her tenderness for Vronsky becomes manipulation.
TERM PAPER IDEAS AND OTHER TOPICS FOR WRITING
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