Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Reflection: Ana Karenina

Well, what is there to say about this massive novel? This novel, famously, deals with many major topics such as women in society, fidelity, marriage, jealousy... basically a very large list of moral ideals. Tolstoy plays with the hypocrisy between men committing adultery versus women committing adultery. Initially, the modern day reader may feel that Tolstoy is (wonderfully?—if you are a woman) highlighting the unfairness in the way society treats women. Further analysis suggests, however, that it is the dramatic character that women have which prohibits them from making rational decisions upon being disloyal to their husbands. Therefore, Ana’s life which spirals downward, is simply the consequence of her revolting against the traditional role of women in society.
Because of the size of this novel, Tolstoy has enabled himself to riddle many morals and themes throughout the story without slapping the reader in the face with them, take his slight mockery of the church or religion, or the idea of forgiveness, these are tidily placed within characters and their traits, or story lines of some of the other characters.

I would have to say, overall I enjoyed the beginning of the novel and the end, but I had a hard time staying interested in the middle. My "issues" stem from a few things: a) Because I am not reading the original but rather my Kobo translation, the actual words are not as important and the emphasis is placed heavily on the story, possibly losing some of the initial brilliance of the novel. b) The story is based on the description of inner turmoil’s of characters and while there is some dialogue and events (or more “active writing”) it is not something Tolstoy focuses on, I prefer the “more active” style c) I (mistakenly) jumped at the opportunity to watch the new film of Ana Kerenina while in the middle of reading the book. While I knew that the book was rather depressing, I was not prepared for the film to omit roughly from the 50 % mark to the 75% mark of the novel. It made it difficult to go back and read everything when I already knew the outcome.

All in all, I would say this novel is definitely worth the read. Let’s face it, it’s Tolstoy! P.S Stylistically, the movie is very intriguing, but it drags.

Up Next: Crime and Punishment (for real this time)

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