Anna Karenina Essays

Filter results by:


View Full Essay

Danger With Serving the Self in Anna Essay

Words: 2905 Length: 10 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 72856408

Danger With Serving the Self in Anna Karenina and Madam Bovary

It is a classic human trait to make life more difficult than it needs to be. We live in a me-centered society and those with their focus turned inward usually generate enough drama in the world for the rest of the population. While reality shows like American Idol and America's Got Talent increase the need for money and fame, the need for more has always been around. The old adage that the grass in greener on the other side of the fence is true because it is human to think something is missing and that something will make life better. Two authors that explore this concept are Leo Tolstoy and Gustave Flaubert. In the novel, Anna Karenina, we have a wealthy woman who senses something is wrong with her life and is bent on finding out what that something is. With Madame Bovary, we see Emma, who is not wealthy but on the same path as Anna because she is not happy and longs for more. Both women think they know what they need to bring them happiness. They are like millions of other people at any give time on the planet; they seek their desires and only manage to make their lives worse. They teach us that there is certainly more to life than money because if money and social status was all one needed to be happy, Anna would be the happiest women in her day. Her unhappiness forces us to look deeper at the situation because even love and adoration is not enough, as we learn with Emma. These women are no doubt living drama-filled, self-centered lives -- lives which could be so less complicated if they stopped being so emotional -- but they illustrate the complexity of the human psyche and its apparent inability to make clear and coherent decisions all the time. Anna and Emma are simply human and their characters reveal that happiness is not as complicated as they make it out to be. The happiness they chase is fleeting while the happiness they need is within them, if they only open their eyes to it. Anna and Emma's lives are tragic because they allow society and their own selfishness to guide them down the…… [Read More]

Works Cited:
Flaubert. Gustave. Madame Bovary. New York: Brentanos. 1919. Print.

Melfi, Mary Ann. "Keeping secrets in Anna Karenina." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology.
View Full Essay

Leo Tolstoy's Inclusion in the Literary Canon Essay

Words: 1614 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 54426498

Leo Tolstoy's Inclusion In The Literary Canon

In Tolstoy's prolific literary career, it appears that one central concern drove everything he did both in his life and his writing. This concern was the meaning of life. The drive behind the actions of his main characters in both War and Peace and Anna Karenina is the search for meaning in their lives. As part of this search, Tolstoy and his characters also sought to make sense of the occurrences around them. Historically, Tolstoy writes from the perspective of a country in turmoil. His social commentary is then closely intertwined with the more general search for personal fulfillment. The result is the timeless quality of the works that are still enjoyed by a wide readership today. It is this timeless quality of his work, based upon his search for meaning in life, that most prominently begs for Tolstoy's inclusion in today's literary canon. Works investigated with the purpose of substantiating this assertion include War and Peace, Anna Karenina and On Life.

War and Peace

This novel is written at many complex levels, revealing the complexities not only of the political state of Russia, but also of the nature of the human beings within such circumstances. In describing the situation within Russia, there are two distinct levels in the work: war and peace. Each level has its representative character. War is represented by Emperor Aleksandr, while peace is represented by Pierre Bezukhov, the son of a wealthy count.

The characters are however far more than merely representatives of political aspirations. Indeed, this is revealed in Pierre's relationship with his wife, Princess Ellen. The marriage proves to be a mistake, as Ellen's flirtatious behavior brings the relationship to an end. She later divorces Pierre, but is unable to secure the affections of the man she is pursuing. She later dies, which the reader feels is a kind of justice. The emotional suffering caused by his wife's behavior drives Pierre in a number of different directions.

The first of these…… [Read More]

View Full Essay

Leo Tolstoy Life Works and Essay

Words: 1844 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 58901600

In all his works, Tolstoy does not lose his sense of reality and only rarely does he veer off the path of his own experience. There is simply no evidence of sentimentality or staginess in any of his works. In seeking to guide and reinforce the reader's understanding of his texts, Tolstoy also makes use of a variety of literary devices. In this case, I will mention just two of these, i.e. imagery and allusion. Through the use of imagery, Tolstoy largely succeeds in bringing his writings to life. In Anna Karenina, the author consistently attempts to associate some characters with specific colors. For instance, in regard to Countess Lydia Ivanovna, the author describes her as having "an unhealthy yellow complexion." In so doing, Tolstoy paints a vivid picture of the character in the reader's mind. In Hadji Murat, Tolstoy also makes use of olfactory and color imagery in phrases such as "faintly scented, neatly arranged purple plantains with blossoms slightly tinged with pink…" Tolstoy's utilization of imagery in this case cannot therefore be regarded arbitrary.

Next, in an attempt to make his characters and plot appear realistic and hence believable and interesting; Tolstoy also utilizes allusion. In War and Peace, the author makes an allusion to Empress Fedorovna in the following sentence: "it was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and favorite of the Empress Marya Fedorovna." In so doing, he enhances the ability of his readers to create a visual image of the situation and relate it to its time.

Works… [Read More]

Bloom, Harold., ed. Leo Tolstoy. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2003. Print.

Borrero, Mauricio. Russia: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. New York, NY: Facts on File, Inc., 2004. Print.
View Full Essay

Age of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky Essay

Words: 3115 Length: 10 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 76205882

Compare and contrast their approaches to the question of faith.

One of the features of the age of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky was the emergence of philosophical and religious thoughts that promoted spirituality without religion. The tendency to reject organized religion in favor of personal spirituality or a direct relationship with God gained prominence at this age in Russia because of widespread disillusionment with the state-supported religion, corruption and hypocrisy of the official clergy. None perhaps popularized such spirituality in Russia more than Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Both of these figures had a complicated relationship with the official Orthodox Christianity. Tolstoy was excommunicated by the Holy Synod of the Russian Patriarch in 1901. But while Dostoevsky's criticism of organized religion remained subtle and he emphasized the importance of faith, Tolstoy was scathing in his attacks on Russian Orthodox religion and at times he directly questioned the existence of God. Tolstoy was a strong rationalist. Nevertheless the question of God for him was of utmost importance and he, like Dostoevsky, possessed a profound spirituality.

As a rationalist, Tolstoy wanted to find reasonable answers to all the questions that bothered him. His criticism of the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church rested on the incompatibility of those teachings with reason. Therefore he rejected them. Although he said many times that he believed in Christ, Tolstoy rejected Christ's divinity and the whole concept of Trinity, describing it as "based on nothing" and "useless" (Rancour-Lafarriere, 2007, p. 80). Dostoevsky, on the other hand, believed that the complexity of life could not be solved through reason. Only by having faith, one could make sense of all the suffering in the world and understand the meaning of life. This is one of the themes of the Brothers Karamazov. There is no rational way of understanding so much suffering in the world; only through faith one can make sense of them and achieve mental and spiritual freedom. When critically analyzed, neither Tolstoy nor Dostoevsky had a coherent religious philosophy. It should also be noted that their religious views and spirituality were dynamic, changing through time and reflecting their life experiences.

Comparing the religious views and spirituality of two authors, as reflected in Brothers…… [Read More]

Boot, a. (2009). God and man according to Tolstoy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dostoyevsky, F., & Dostoyevsky, F. (1960). Notes from underground: And the grand inquisitor. New York: Dutton.
View Full Essay

Guns Germs on Page 20 Essay

Words: 1398 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 26592725

9. Wild almonds contain cyanide: a person can die from eating only a few dozen of them (Diamond, p. 114). They taste bitter due to the presence of amygdalin, the precursor to cyanide. The chemical serves as a defense mechanism for the almond, deterring animals (and people) from eating them and better ensuring the propagation of the almond plant because the nut is its seed. As Diamond points out, if animals feasted indiscriminately on almonds they would minimize the chances that the plant would propagate itself.

However, "occasional individual almond trees have a mutation in a single gene that prevents them from synthesizing the bitter-tasting amygdalin," (p. 118). In the wild those non-bitter almond trees would die out because birds feast on their seeds before they can sprout. Children of early farmers, though, might have gladly munched on some of the sweet almonds and brought the seeds back to their parents. Any sweet almonds that were thrown aside or purposely planted would enjoy the benefits of cultivation.

The story of the oak is different even though like almonds, most wild acorns are bitter. Acorns are not poisonous, contain valuable nutrients, and the occasional oak tree produces acorns low in tannins and pleasant to eat. However, oak trees "have three strikes against them," (Diamond p. 129). First, it takes at least a decade for an acorn to mature into a tree that produces more nuts. Almond trees reach maturity in just a few years. Second, squirrels dominate the acorn market. Any seeds squirrels miss grow into oak trees, and "we humans didn't stand a chance of selecting oaks for the acorns that we wanted," (p. 129). Squirrels are fast to gather and hoard acorns. Humans have a much better chance at finding sweet wild almonds than sweet wild acorns. Third, cultivating oak trees for food is impossible because planting a sweet acorn will not yield a sweet acorn oak tree. Bitterness in oak trees is due to a multitude of genes, not a single gene as it is in almonds.

13. Animal domestication is like marriage, suggests Diamond. To survive, they both need to fulfill all of a set of necessary criteria. Tolstoy suggested in Anna Karenina that "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," (cited by Diamond, p. 157). Similarly, domesticated animals are all alike, and every undomesticated animal…… [Read More]

View Full Essay

Memoirs of Bernardo Vega the Essay

Words: 990 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 21411489

The cigar workers sought to make themselves heard first through their newspaper and tehn by striking to make people listn to them:

That strike had a special meaning for Puerto Rican workers. An indirect result of that struggle was that many other unions came to recognize the important role that Puerto Ricans can play as workers. It was then that they began to organize Puerto Rican confectioners, bakers, hotel and restaurant employees, and workers in the needle trades. We finally began to enjoy wages and hours equal to those of workers of other nationalities. (Vega 114)

Vega was one of the leaders of the strike and explains the different factions involved and how class politics played a role in the way the different factions divided. Underlying the strike was the desire on the part of this community to be accepted by the larger society and not to be seen as outsiders, though this was a desire that could not be achieved to any significant degree at the time, nor has it to this day.

Vega is able to contribute to the history of the Puerto Rican community in the U.S. because he was part of that community and was actively involved in the effort to make this community into part of the adopted home. He also found that New York was very much a place where different ethic groups gathered but also where those groups tended to separate into different community and remain apart from the city as a whole, never quite achieving the same status as the central white population that governed the city and the country.

Vega is not merely reporting on what he sees as a memoir but is doing so as a political and social act because of his conviction that Puerto Ricans had to affirm their own history and had to know that history in order to do it. He set out to preserve those aspects of the Puerto Rican heritage that he was privy to and used his book to detail the changes taking place in the Puerto Rican community in New York well into the twentieth century. He describes many of the people he worked with and those he met in New York, people who would be part of the developing American-Puerto Rican community and who would constitute the history of that community for those living today.…… [Read More]

Works Cited:
Vega, Bernardo. Memoirs of Bernardo Vega: A Contribution to the History of the Puerto Rican Community in New York. Edited by Cesar Andreu Iglesias, translated by Juan Flores. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984.
View Full Essay

Oprah Winfrey Is One of Essay

Words: 1704 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 63020948

The research found that Oprah's Angel Network began as an effort to help a few people a little more than ten years ago. Over time the network has evolved into something much greater and thousands of people have been assisted as a result of the philanthropic endeavors of the organization. The research also found that Oprah has been instrumental in supporting the endeavors of other charitable organizations including those that assist people with HIV / AIDS. Over the years Oprah Winfrey has provided an example of what people can o when they formulate good ideas and work together to bring these ideas to fruition. Hopefully Oprah and her philanthropic endeavors will continue to endure in the years to come.

Works… [Read More]

"About Us." Oprah's Angel Network. 14 May 2009.
View Full Essay

Government of Western Australia Department of Education's Essay

Words: 1445 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 38490170

Government of Western Australia Department of Education's Excursions: Off School Site Activities. The document describes the policies and procedures necessary for off school site activities.

Background of the Policy

It is recognized that off school site excursions have higher degrees of risk than being at the school. However, the Department of Education recognizes that off school site excursions can provide significant learning opportunities, so it does not want to eliminate them because of the risk. Therefore, it has promulgated regulations to minimize the risk during these excursions.

Purpose/Objective of My Report

The objective of this report is to provide a brief overview of the Department of Education's approach to excursions.


The document describes excursions as beginning with a teacher-in-charge, who is responsible for the investigation into the risks inherent with the excursion. Some of the excursions may be overnight, and those excursions require a special analysis of the risk. The teacher-in-charge also has to assess the environment, which goes beyond matters of risk. The teacher also has to examine the transportation for the students. Part of the analysis is an assessment of the capabilities and needs of the students, the supervisory team members that will be part of the excursion, and any external service providers. Once the teacher has assessed all of the risk factors, the next step is to design supervision strategies for the excursion. These strategies include: ways of identifying the excursion students, ways to provide information about the excursion, a means for seeking parental consent, emergency response planning, and communication coordination.


The significance of the document is that it delegates a specific person to be responsible for the planning of excursions and outlines the steps that the teacher-in-charge needs to take when planning those excursions. It also contains references for any overriding legal guidelines, such as who must approve any excursions that are overseas and how overnight excursions should be…… [Read More]

The Government of Western Australia Department of Education. (2003). Excursions: Off

School Site Activities. Neals.
View Full Essay

Is There Such a Thing as a Truly Happy Family What Makes a Family Happy Essay

Words: 1648 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 31464677

Happy Family

Happy families have certain traits and attributes in common which make the relationship between their members stronger and more respectful for each other. The most important factors which make a happy family include love and care, effective communication, commitment, conflict resolution, and resilience. When family members show true care and respect for each other, resolve their family conflicts in a polite and friendly manner, show a high level of resilience in bitter circumstances, and ensure an effective communication without distance and time constraints, the members live like a happy and ideal family. Family happiness gets spoiled when hatred, mistrust, arguments, and criticism take the place of love, care, and mutual understanding.

A Happy Family

Before discussing what makes a happy family and what elements contribute towards making a strong relationship among all family members, it is important to explain how the word 'family' has been defined by the research scholars in the available Literature. In the past, the word family was takes as a perfect relationship among the entire people living under one household unit (Ricker, Calmes, & Sneyd, 2006). It constitutes a certain number of children living with their father and mother in one house. With the passage of time, it has also emerged as different other types of relationships; a single parent family, same-gender family, and joint family are the most common examples of a family relationship. Obviously, the most essential characteristics of a family is its constituents; i.e. The family members that have a blood relation with each other. But this characteristic only fulfills the definition of a family; not of a 'happy' family (Rodriguez, 1992).

What makes a Happy Family?

Happy families have certain attributes, traits, and characteristics in common which distinguish them from other families. Leo Tolstoy believes that happy families are not different from each other in any aspect; they have some common attributes which are a true representation of their happiness. These attributes or traits are now discussed below in detail:

1. Love and Care for each other:

Love is the most important attribute which a happy family must constitute at all times. Love enhances the importance of relations in the eyes of family members. Love can be seen when family members show deep concern for each other, take care…… [Read More]

Banks, R. (1986). My Mother's Memoirs, My Father's Lie, and Other True Stories. In M. Krasny and M.E. Sokolik (Eds.) Sound Ideas (pp. 173-179). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Haltzman, S. & DiGeronimo, T.F. (2009). The Secrets of Happy Families: Eight Keys to Building a Lifetime of Connection and Contentment. 1st Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
View Full Essay

Irony in the Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield Essay

Words: 3634 Length: 10 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 30546095

Failure of Family: The Irony of the Vicar of Wakefield

Tolstoy states that every happy family is the same (Tolstoy 1). He says this because happiness is the effect of a life well lived and not of any other cause, which is also the philosophy of Plato (Plato 47). Unhappy families, however, are unhappy mainly because they have failed to live well, or virtuously. That is the case of the Primrose family in The Vicar of Wakefield: the family undergoes terrible misfortunes mainly because it fails to live for the good or to understand its own place in the world. The primary responsibility for the misfortune falls on the parents who fail to recognize their own faults and do not raise their children correctly. The parents also fail to realize who they are in social terms and thus deceive themselves as to their actual social value. This paper will show how the failure of family in Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield is what causes the misfortune to happen in the novel and how it is only through rescue outside the family that happiness and order are restored.

A good family is one that is humble and virtuous and does not simply talk about how good it is to be humble and virtuous as Dr. Primrose does at the beginning of the novel (Goldsmith 1). A real family interacts with one another, is patient with one another, suffers wrongdoings, and does not go around judging others. It does not promote arrogance, but faithfully adheres to lessons passed down to it from generation to generation (Rollins). Yet the Primrose family hardly interacts except to lecture one another. It does not patiently accept wrongs. It is judgmental. And it is not very bright. It is disconnected with the past and its only focus is on the immediate incidents within the immediate family's own history -- as related by Dr. Primrose. The fact that the father of the family does not ever really raise his children (his son he sends off to school and his daughters are empty-headed) shows that he does not fulfill his duty as a father. He thinks that he is a good man just because he marries and has children, which he says is what an "honest man" should…… [Read More]