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Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy Essay

705 words - 3 pages

Leo Tolstoy, author of Anna Karenina, was born in 1828 in Yasnaya Polyana. He was born into a wealthy Russian family. Tolstoy’s mother passed away when he was two years old and his father was murdered when he was nine. Due to being orphaned at such a young age, Tolstoy was very familiar with the concept of death and he makes this evident throughout all of his great works. Specifically in Anna Karenina, he symbolizes the power of death and mortality through Anna. Tolstoy was unsatisfied with his education and lacked interest in academics. In 1847, he left Kazan University without a degree. In 1851, he enlisted in the Russian army and served in the Crimean War. In 1862, Leo Tolstoy and Sofya Behrs got married and for the next two decades Tolstoy dedicated his time to raising his family. During this time he also wrote his two most famous novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Eventually, Tolstoy swayed from fiction to faith and religion. In November of 1910, Tolstoy became ill with pneumonia and passed away at the age of eighty-two. His work is still read and he is still remembered as one of the greatest authors in history.
From a historical aspect, Anna Karenina is definitely relevant. The novel is set in late 19th century Russia. During this time, there were many debates on how Russia should proceed in becoming a modern nation. Russia lacked in culture and sophistication compared to its Western neighbors. These debates were between the Slavophiles and the Westernizers. The Slavophiles believed that Russia was superior to the rest of European culture and that they needed to hold on to their own traditional values. For example, when Konstantin Levin’s peasants preferred basic wooden plows instead of more modern agricultural tools, they showed rejection against becoming more western. On the other hand, the Westernizers believed that Russia needed to follow a more Western type of government. This was also a period of extreme political and economic issues. At this time, Russia was an empire run by a Czar while other western countries were starting to become more democratic. Most of Russia’s population was peasants...

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