Part VII opens with the imminent birth of Kitty and Levin’s first child. They have moved to Moscow at the insistence of her family, to be near better doctors, and of course this has country-loving Levin all out of sorts, but he will do whatever is necessary for his dearest in her ‘confinement.’ (Such an elegant yet ghastly term for the end og pregnancy and labour.) Levin even manages to forgive and try to befriend Vronsky – and darn near falls in love with Anna, to Kitty’s dismay.
But the real story this time is Anna. We have seen her spiraling downward through the whole novel, and here she is truly mad. No longer just jealous, she has become paranoid and utterly miserable. Despite the fact that I am reading the novel knowing full well it is a romantic tragedy, I couldn’t help but keep hoping for her. “Maybe Karenin will relent and grant a divorce.” “Maybe she will find room in her heart for her daughter.” Maybe… maybe … but no. The end – her end – is inevitable, and heartbreaking to read.
“Now nothing mattered: going or not going to Vozdvizhenskoe, getting or not getting a divorce from her husband. All that did not matter. The only thing that mattered was punishing him. When she poured out her usual dose of opium, and thought that she had only to drink off the whole bottle to die, it seemed to her so simple and easy that she began musing with enjoyment on how he would suffer, and repent and love her memory when it would be too late.”