Anna Karenina Setting Analysis

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Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina depicts the lives of the upper class in nineteenth century Russia. Specifically, the novel centers around the stories of Levin and Anna and their relationships with other key characters. Tolstoy’s descriptions of the setting, and how the characters interact with it, aid the reader in better understanding the characters. Character’s relationships with physical objects, environment, and other aspects of the setting emphasize the qualities and behavior of each character. The setting, in Anna Karenina, exemplifies Stiva’s self indulgence, Levin’s simplicity, Nikolai’s immorality, and Anna and Vronsky’s ugly truth. Also, it depicts the development of characters’ complexities and their relationships with one another . Tolstoy illustrates Stiva’s hedonistic nature through the appeal of superficial objects rather than things of substantial worth. In the beginning of the novel, Stiva he wakes up on his “morocco sofa” (Tolstoy 1)…show more content…
The details of Stiva’s physical circumstances following his affair and his investment in aesthetically pleasing things, in the country home, reveals his self-pleasing nature, his remorselessness for the affair, and his inattentiveness towards his family. Directly opposite is Levin’s loathing of lavish items, such as the nails and cufflinks of Stiva’s colleague and the setting of the fancy restaurant, which illustrates Levin’s sensible approach towards life. Nikolai’s filthy circumstances illuminates to readers his immoral and cruel lifestyle and that he is likely to die in a bed as disgusting as his life. Lastly, Dolly’s accounts on the expensive decor of Anna’s and Vronsky’s estate illustrate to readers the impossibility of hiding the unseemly truth of their affair, including their daughter. Overall, Tolstoy uses setting in Anna Karenina to reflect many aspects of his characters better
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