Anna Karenina

Actions Speak Louder Than Words College

Facial expressions and body language communicate one’s intentions and emotions far better than words. Leo Tolstoy, in Anna Karenina, describes a plethora of physical descriptions, enabling the reader to more completely understand the characters’ emotional state of mind. Other characters and the narrator frequently describe Anna’s shoulders. When Vrosnky and Levin look at them, they have a surge of excitement. Dolly and Kitty notice them and are impressed. The narrator depicts her shoulders in times of discontentment or pain. In all three cases, Anna’s shoulders signify the mood at the time of the interaction. Anna’s shoulders are a tangible manifestation of her mental and emotional state, and what kind of energy she expresses.

When Anna’s shoulders are described for the first time, Anna also acts promiscuously for the first time, by dancing with Vronsky, whom is expected to propose to Kitty. Kitty admires Anna’s dress, which exposed her shoulders and chest. She emphasized that “the black dress with luxurious lace was not seen on her; it was just a frame, and only she was seen – simple, natural, graceful, and at the same time gay and animated” (p.79). Anna’s dress choice is evidence of her mood; she wanted to fit within the “...

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