Anna Karenina Essay, Research Paper
Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy
It had grown quite dark and to the south, where he was looking, there were no longer any clouds. The clouds had passed over in the opposite direction. From there came flashes of lightning and the sound of distant thunder. Levin listened to the regular dripping of the raindrops from the lime trees in the garden and looked at the familiar triangle of stars and the Milky Way intersecting it in the middle with its branches. At each flash of lightning not only the Milky Way but also the bright stars vanished, but as soon as the lightning died out the stars reappeared in the same places as though thrown there by some accurate hand. (805-806)
Throughout the novel, Levin is searching within his soul and struggling to find the answer to the complicated questions: “What then am I? Where am I? Why am I here?” He tries to find out what the meaning of life is, and what he is supposed to do in life, and why everything in life is being done. He, after a long struggle within him, discovers that to live life, one must live not for oneself, but for God. The serene scene on the terrace provides a feeling of peace and conclusion. Levin has finally found his soul, and he stands outside in the midst of nature, observing the tranquil scene before him; he is bewildered and relieved to finally find what he has been searching and striving for all his life.
This passage, taken from the end of the novel, is full of imagery. Levin is standing alone, looking at the sky. Tolstoy describes with great vividness how the stars and the Milky Way vanished at each flash of lightning, and how they reappeared when the lightning ceased. In speaking of the “regular dripping of the raindrops from the lime trees” and of the “distant thunder”, he adds life and color to the paragraph. A serene scene is painted that coincides with what Levin is feeling–peaceful, content. A bit of Levin’s own character shows through this passage when Tolstoy speaks of Levin looking “at the familiar triangle of stars”; by adding one simple word, familiar, into the sentence, Tolstoy reveals that this is not the first time Levin has observed the sky and the stars that he sees. Throughout the novel, Levin is a keen observer, both of others and of nature. His love of nature and his love of observation of nature is evident in this passage.