Society's Role in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina



How to Cite

Su, H. (2020). Society’s Role in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Global Insight: A Journal of Critical Human Science and Culture, 1, 31–36.


Although many critics argue that Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina was a critique on faith, morals, or love, each of these topics takes place against the backdrop of society, which ultimately forms Tolstoy's greatest concern in the novel. Society, and how Anna is shaped and affected by it, is the driving force throughout this story of individual fates. The fickle nature of society in the novel is demonstrated through Anna's emotionally honest actions throughout, as well as Vronsky's relation to them. Her death was ultimately detrimental to her message: even though Tolstoy made Anna a powerful protagonist, a 19th-century woman constantly striving
toward her personal goals, Anna's argument of valuing honesty and action is muddled by her fate. However, if readers understand that it was the silent observer of society that caused Anna's death, the themes in Tolstoy's novel and the message he meant to convey with her death become clear. A real life, one honestly progressing along an imperfect path - as all natural lives - should never be something controlled by society.