Seryozha: ANNA KARENINA, p. 479

At this point of the novel, 3/4 of the way in, Karenin is still looked upon with ridicule, he still can’t bring himself to stop caring completely about Anna Karenina, but a philanthropic and very religious lady named Countess Lydia Ivanovna has fallen in love with him and has taken over the managing of Karenin’s household. Anna writes to the Countess to ask if she might be permitted to see her son, Seryozha, but the Countess refuses. She then gets Karenin to agree to tell Seryozha that his mother has died

Time jump: several years later, on Seryozha’s name day.

Apparently, one cannot be excused from one’s lessons, even on one’s name day.

  • After his teacher was the lesson with his father. Before his father came, Seryozha sat down at his desk, playing with his penknife, and started thinking. Among Seryozha’s favorite activities was searching for his mother during his walk. He did not believe in death in general and in her death in particular, in spite of what Lydia Ivanovna had told him, and his father had confirmed, and so even after they told him she had died, he kept looking for her during his walk. Any full-figured, graceful woman with dark hair was his mother.

Self finds everything that happens after Anna’s pregnancy fascinating. Each character has to make a choice after that, and Karenin seems most self-aware: His choices — despite his anger, despite his shame — are fundamentally humane. Anna merely continues with Vronsky, while Vronsky’s career stalls entirely and he loses all ambition. Kitty and Levine are happy.

Then the Seryozha section. It is so heartbreaking to read: “He did not believe that the people he loved could die . . . ” What is going to happen to this poor boy after his absent mother becomes truly DEAD?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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