Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy Summary and Analysis Part 5: Chapters 1-6

Summary

Stiva tells Levin he needs a certificate of confession before he can be married. Levin appears in church, confessing to the old priest his sin of doubting everything, even the existence of God. After receiving absolution, he ponders over the priest's questions as to how he will provide for his children's "spiritual advancement in the light of truth."

Levin dines with his bachelor friends the night before the wedding. Koznyshev points out that a wife interferes with her husband's pleasures. But Levin considers his greatest happiness is being with Kitty and following her wishes.

Suddenly unsure of what her wishes are, he is even jealous of Vronsky all over again. Seeking Kitty, Levin asks her if she is sure she wants to marry him. She bursts into tears, and when calm again, explains why she loves him: because she understands him perfectly, because she knows what he would like, and everything he likes is good.

The wedding takes place the next day, and the young couple leave for the country that evening.

Analysis

With communion, the bachelor party, the long church ceremony, Levin undergoes the rites-of-passage into this new phase of his life. He is happy from a feeling of freedom — not the type of egocentric, intellectual liberty Koznyshev defends — but a freedom derived from the emotional satisfactions of his new relationship with Kitty. Levin's last minute doubts, Kitty's mixed feelings as she anticipates her new life, their fumbling during parts of the church ceremony, are minor adjustments which prefigure the major adjustments both Kitty and Levin undergo during their first period of life together.

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