ANNA read-a-long: Part 1

I finished reading part 1 of Anna Karenina over the weekend.  I have read parts one and two, I had forgotten how enjoyable the second half of part 1 was to read.

Have you been reading with us? I know life gets in the way so don’t fret if you are feeling behind already.  You can always catch up, this is the beauty of an online discussion.

In my original post I mentioned we should use the Penguin discussion guides to facilitate our discussion but I have changed my mind. Last week I was searching ‘all things’ ANNA and landed on Oprah’s website which has more than anyone can read about the novel, characters, discussions etc… With so many having read Anna Karenina with Oprah it’s only fitting that we use her website for reference and to guide our discussion.

How to participate: I will summarize each section in quick form and provide some discussion questions for everyone to answer. Feel free to answer all questions, just one/two or simply leave a comment about your reading experience. I understand life can get in the way and answering all of the questions can be time consuming for some but others will thrive on answering every question. The goal of the read along is to finish the book!

You can leave a comment here, in big tent (MM Forum) or email me (I will add your comments to our discussion).   

With that… let’s get started!

The story starts with Oblonsky confessing that he had an affair to Dolly and over the next 40-50 pages Tolstoy provides the background to the story. We learn about life in Russia along with a little about each character. For me, the story really took off when at the train station, just before Anna arrives in Moscow.
Part 1 highlights:

For the remaining pages in part one we watch Anna talk Dolly into forgiving, we meet Kitty whose parents are ready to find her a husband and Kitty meets Anna at a Ball.

Vronksy invites Anna to waltz, the look the two share stays with Anna forever. They do not get to dance but Kitty sees Vronksy looking at Anna. Later Anna tells Dolly that Kitty is upset with her over Vronsky. She claims she was trying to be a matchmaker and that she feels she must return home immediately.

While on the train ride from Moscow to St Petersburg Anna spots Vronsky. He tells her he must be near her. Anna’s husband is waiting to pick her up and meets Vronskys, who asks to call on them. Anna’s husband says Monday’s are good.

Part one ends when Vronsky decides to spend time in St Petersburg.

From The way that these families interrelate with each other—the marriages and sibling relationships between them—also creates a tight-knit community within the larger community of Moscow and St. Petersburg. It gives us as readers a stage with distinct boundaries upon which to judge the play that unfolds. Keep an eye on it: In the end, this focus on family helps to bring about some of the most powerful and meaningful lessons in the universe that becomes Anna Karenina . If there is a happy family among them, we have yet to meet them by the close of Part One. Click here for a detailed synopsis of part 1

Thank you Ellen for the following discussion questions:
1. The book begins with the fallout from Oblonsky's affair. Both Dolly and Oblonsky have difficulty knowing how to proceed once the affair is in the open. Do you think that Anna's advice to Dolly to "forgive it as utterly as if it had never happened at all," is good advice?

2. How well do you think either Vronsky or Levin know Kitty? What are the differences and similarities in their feelings towards her?

3. Is Vronsky's attraction to Anna 'love at first sight'? What is Anna's attraction to Vronsky.

and a few from
1.  In Chapter V, we are given background into Stiva's character—he is described as "liked by all who knew him." Does he seem likable to you? Why or why not?

2. Talk about the ball and the way Tolstoy writes about the interactions between Kitty and Vronsky, and Anna and Vronsky.

3. What do you learn about Anna's family life at the end of Part One that seems significant? How is that reinforced by the details the author chooses to show you about her marriage and home?

I have installed a new comment system to help facilitate the discussion.  The downside... it does max out at 1,000 characters (about 200 words).  Take this into consideration when commenting.  I added two posts (one for Ellen's quesitons, one for Oprah's).

Part 2 discussion will begin on March 15th