Anna Karenina

Symbolism of Trains in Anna Karenina 12th Grade

Throughout the course of Leo Tolstoy’s iconic tragedy Anna Karenina, the presence of trains is essential both in terms of symbolic resonance and as a way to communicate social commentary and setting. Tolstoy employs train imagery as a way to talk about movement in terms of the fast-paced course of life, foreshadowing the desperate saga of Anna and Vronsky’s romantic relationship. In general, the existence of the railroad is meant to be viewed as a destructive force in the context of the novel, something that initiates death and devastation from its first mention in the text. This symbolic relationship is primarily evident during Anna and Vronsky’s initial meeting, their rendezvous on the train, and at the time of and following Anna’s suicide, using the significance of trains to trace the course of their relationship throughout the text as a sort of timeline, navigating the tumultuous end that eventually becomes inevitable for both.

The initial mention of the fated train, Anna’s arrival to Moscow, begins the culmination of her relationship with Vronsky, ironically also the first time he is mentioned to her in the text. As he first enters the carriage to meet his mother, his attraction to Anna is obvious- so begins their fated...

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