I want to talk about the aborted relationship between Varenka and Levin’s half-brother, Sergei Ivanovich.
We’ve talked in class about how Anna and Levin suffer from being too passionate. Anna’s romance with Vronsky is based purely on her desire for excitement and on physical attraction. I don’t see much that resembles love there, especially now that she is so worried about staying young-looking in order to keep his attention.
Levin always acts on his emotions, which makes his attempts at rational debates with his brother somewhat incoherent and hard to follow. As Sydney was saying in her post, he lets his emotions get out of control and exaggerate the situations he finds himself in, even when he knows that he’s wrong, as in the confrontation with Veslovsky.
But Anna and Levin both have passion, so they’ve both found romances.
With Varenka and Sergei Ivanovich, they both feel that they love each other, but to me it seemed that they lacked passion. Both Varenka and Sergei Ivanovich, but I think particularly Segei Ivanovich, let their rational sides silence their passionate sides, so in their moment alone neither of them is able to make the leap that would allow their romance to blossom.
So, while Anna is clearly being punished for letting herself be ruled by passion, and Levin seems to suffer under his flurry of emotions, Tolstoy seems to be showing that a lack of passion won’t lead to happiness, either.
Do we see any characters walking the middle road in this novel?
I think Kitty might be one, but I’m not sure.