Sunday, March 25, 2012

What could have been

I've already expressed my confusion at the fact that the two main characters only actually cross paths once in the novel via discussion questions. But since it was an event that made me think  a lot about the course the novel would and could take, I felt the need to emphasize it more.

None of the relationships in the novel seem to work out to well. Kitty and Levin does to an extent, but it still feels like there's something wrong. The novel just seems to be based on various stages of bad relationships.

The meeting between Anna and Levin made me think they could have made it work. They both seem to want the same thing – love, and they both seem fairly similar in their core character traits. They’re both intelligent, (moderately) sincere and each in their own way a pariah of society. I feel that if they had met sooner the novel would have had a much more content, and possibly boring, conclusion.

And in the light of Levin being modeled on the author himself, it made me wonder if perhaps Tolstoy was caught up in a similar situation. And if so, did he develop the plot line as it actually was or did he try to gauge what could have been? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Lea, you suggest an interesting possibility: one if Anna and Leving met sooner, the novel would have had a boring and more content conclusion. I agree with your assesment, and implicitly with such conclusion not being attractive ending of a major novel (or maybe any novel?).

    I also like your "what could have been" possibility. Maybe Levin (hence Tolstoy) was not brave enough for a truly fulfilling relationship with Anna because of being "a high risk relationship?" Since he was, just like Anna, a pariah of society, it was enough for him to know how their relationship was bound to go nowhere, and hence he reserved a more healthy and less risky one (with Kitty) for himself? All and all, you raise interesting points and possibilities.