1. Spend some time thinking about and talking about Levin's brothers, Nikolai and Sergei. How do they come together to form a family? In what ways to they challenge each other to make good choices and live good lives...and in what ways to they seem to hinder this process for each other?
2. What do you like about Levin's nurse and housekeeper Agafya?
3. How do you feel about the fact that Levin has taken on the work of a laborer, mowing right along with the muzhiks? How does this endear him to you as a character?
4. Levin's brother Sergei comes to visit him in the country. What do you think about their interactions? Do you get the feeling that one or the other of them is a stronger or more "noble" man? What specifically gives you that impression?
5. On Page 277, Levin and Kitty see each other for the first time after the debacle of his initial proposal. Tolstoy writes, "There were no other eyes in the world like those. There was no other being in the world capable of concentrating for him all the light and meaning of life." What do you think of this passage, and Levin's feelings towards Kitty despite all that has passed between them?
6. What do you think about the fact that Karenin considers and rejects the possibility of a duel with Vronsky for Anna? Do you think the fact that he initially decides on divorce instead is reasonable?
7. Trace the ways Anna has thought of her affair with Vronsky up to this point. Discuss what Anna says makes her happy and unhappy about her situation. Do you think she is being realistic or naive?
8. Do you feel Anna's relationship with her brother and his wife Dolly is a good one? Discuss this dynamic and how you think it may play out as the book progresses.
9. On Page 302, Vronsky is described as a man who "hated disorder." If this is the case, why do you think he allows such a disorderly situation as his affair with Anna comes to fruition? Think about the dichotomies set up by the author with regard to their passionate infidelity.
10. Both Stiva and Karenin are pillars of Russian society, and shown to be very adept at their jobs and in working with people. Is this interesting to you—and if so in what ways? What do you learn about the Russian business/diplomatic world from Karenin and Stiva?
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