Anna Karenina

what are three options Karenin rules out for his marrige favor of the staus quo?

Part 3

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Tolstoy’s representation of Karenin changes gradually but drastically, so that by this point in the novel we are likely to have a very different image of him from the image we had earlier, without fully realizing that our perception of him has altered. Karenin is a competent but colorless statesman: a perfectly nice person but too absorbed in policy decisions and abstract issues to develop much of a distinct personality. Tolstoy initially depicts Karenin in neutral situations, with characters referring to his public role as one of the most important men in St. Petersburg. But at this point in the novel, Tolstoy reveals more of Karenin’s feelings, which do not enhance our respect for him. Karenin believes himself to be rational, but when he thinks of Anna as a “depraved woman,” we feel he exaggerates irrationally. Similarly, when Karenin reviews the list of men whom women have wronged throughout history, he comes across as pretentious and comical, just as he does when he rejects the idea of a duel because he is scared of pistols. Our regard for Karenin sinks, just as Anna’s regard for him does. This shift is precisely Tolstoy’s intention, making us feel as if we evolve along with the heroine of the novel.