Anna Karenina

For the Love of Love College

Sexual relations have different social implications depending on the society in which they take place. Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a 19th century novel and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Envy is a 20th century novel. Both novels portray the imperfect realities of coupling, yet in very different fashions. Anna Karenina focuses more in depth on the third person relations between characters, while We narrates D-503’s perspective. Both give the reader the understanding that society impacts the value of the relations between man and woman. The consequences of those actions are also depicted.

In order to have imperfect relations, there must be an ideal. Both novels inexplicitly explain an unidentifiable perfect couple. In Anna Karenina, this consists of a married man and woman, who peacefully interact socially and in the bedroom. We’s flawless couple includes a male Number and a female Number who have no emotional connection and “have the right of access to any other’s Number as sexual product” simply to satisfy human need for sex (Zamyatin p. 22). These are very drastically different social implications: one insists on an emotional bond, and the other frowns upon it. Yet in both, social perfection is desirable.

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