The country is truly unique in that the surroundings adapt to the individual without set boundaries for existence, whereas in the city the individual must conform to the surroundings or face alienation, through which emergent feelings of resentment and habits of hypocrisy arise. Through Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy portrays different aspects of Russian society in contrast, through the juxtaposition of city and country life. Anna and Karenins marriage and subsequently, life in the city does not work, as dominance of liberalism, bachelordom, and superficiality result in their eventual alienation. The eventual fate of Anna and the tinkering of Seryozha with trains epitomize on a symbolic level the evil and corruption of industrialization that permeates the city. Levin finds that he is best suited to the pleasurable life in the country, as he is able to express and reflect upon his ideas of individualism and hope, not only through the integration of the classes, but also through the acceptance of a broad faith. Being a social commentary, this novel shows that setting functions as a reflection of the atmosphere, and as a motivator for different decisions for different individuals. Throughout the novel, Karenin is portrayed as an antagonist to Anna. Anna finds life in the city dull and uninspiring, which is reflected in her marriage.
Not only does Anna hate Karenin for not loving her, but she also hates her own existence She was too eager to live herself (Tolstoy 114).
This shows that Anna had no life in the city, and that she yearned for a chance to live like the characters she read in books. In the country however, Anna is at peace and she is content; she feels free from the constraints of society, I can see that Anna is happy, perfectly happy-she has already told me so (Tolstoy 624).
The Essay on City Life vs Country Life
The difference between city life and country life is that if you live in the city, you have barely any privacy but, in the country life there can be woods all around your house and no one can see you. In the city there are lots of apartments not really houses and in the country you have your own houses that are bigger and the more people can come over. Lastly in the city you can’t hunt, you can’t ...
Here, Dolly reflects Annas inner happiness. Though a thoroughly emotional character, Anna only finds moments of happiness in the country, as she not only finds serenity in the friendly landscape, but also a repose away from all her anxieties over her social position. Karenin, Annas husband, leads an artificial life, reflecting the true colors of society, The yawning abyss was life itself and the bridge that artificial life Karenin had been leading (155).
Karenins life is very superficial, in his relations with society and with his family. He finds pleasure only in work, and is best suited to the freedom of being a bachelor.
Karenin only marries to improve his social status, and so he is a man of the people. Through his visions of success, he fails to oversee the sufferings of his young wife Anna, and this leads to their eventual alienation. Anna on the other hand, wants to be free from the clasp of Karenin, with whom she finds no happiness, and wants to seek adventure. She tries to find new love through an adulterous passion with Vronsky, and in doing so, alienates herself from Karenin. Through her liberal views on marriage and love, she wages a battle against conformity in society, and alienates herself from society. Through her transgression of moral and social laws, she is ultimately condemned to suffering and suicide. In the city, the atmosphere is one of anxiety and hostility.
On a symbolic level, this shows that individuals that conform to society do not coexist, and their struggle for survival only leads to disaster. In essence, the setting of the city reflects a selfish struggle for success among individuals, and the hostile atmosphere motivates characters like Anna to take rash decisions. Throughout the novel, social progress in the form of technology is associated with evil; trains in the novel have a negative connotation. Two people die because of trains: a guard at the railway station and Anna, And the candle, by the light of which she had been reading the book filled with anxieties, grief, and evil, flared up with a brighter light than before, lit up for all her that had hitherto been shrouded in darkness, flickered, began to grow dim, and went out forever (760).
The Term Paper on Critical analysis of Good Country People by Flannery O’ Connor
Good Country People is one of the most sought after works of Flannery O’ Connor. It is said to be the biography of O’Connor but she never claimed it to be such. The novel Good Country People seems to reflect the current situation and emotional status of O’ Connor while she was writing the novel, and if it is not in fact her biography, her emotion at that time has influenced the novel greatly. ...
When Anna dies, her flame of life burns out. This represents how the city as a whole is evil in that it takes the lives of young people with a zest to live.
The negative connotation of trains, and technology as a symbol of progress in the city shows that industrialization does not necessarily result in happiness and satisfaction, but as a means to end it all. Moreover, Seryozha matures while Anna is not with him, through a loss of innocence, gazing sadly into the boys animated eyes, so like his mothers, no longer a childs eyes and no longer quite innocent (Tolstoy 720).
Though his mother is not with him, Seryozha remembers her, and takes a fancy which is quite repetitive of Annas fate, We play at railways now (720).
The fact that he plays with trains shows that Anna corrupts her son, as in being a fallen woman, displaces her guilt on him. In the city, Seryozha is never at a moments peace, and is always waiting for his mother. In retrospect, people are born innocent, but society corrupts them.
In this sense, the city as a setting creates a picture of evil in the mind of the reader. Levin is one of the few people in the novel who ultimately finds peace and happiness in the country, as he leads a true life. He is an autobiographical character, who echoes the authors disapproval of intellectuality and urban sophistication, and he becomes tormented by doubts about the meaning of life and the relation of human beings to the infinite. He contemplates his problems both in the city and in the country, but he finds his answers when he is close to nature. In addition, he is different in character from city people. He is more broad minded, introverted, and likes to observe people rather than to interact with them. This effeminacy is an emergent characteristic of life in the country, and is a reflection of its accepting atmosphere.
He finds the reason for his existence through the acceptance of a new faith, that understanding of good and evil which was and always will be the same for all men and which has been revealed to me by Christianity and which can always be verified by my soul (806).
The Term Paper on Country or City Life
Country or City Life: What’s better? I think living in the countryside is far better than living in the city. There are numerous reasons why living in countryside is the better than the city. The scenery, the streets, the people, and the pace are totally different compared to the city. The first outstanding characteristic about the countryside is that it is beautiful, and it is peaceful. The air ...
At last, Levin finds satisfaction. Not only does this portray nature (country) as a mirror, from which one can discover oneself, but it also symbolizes the country as a source of satisfaction for humanity. Furthermore, it is only in the country that Levin can freely think and express his thoughts on the status of the classes, It is not a personal matter, but something that concerns the welfare of all. The entire agricultural industry, and, above all, the position of the peasants must be completely changed. Instead of poverty-wealth and contentment; instead of hostility-harmony and a bond of common interests (Tolstoy 352).
In the country, Levin feels that he belongs with the people and that it is his duty to ameliorate the conditions of peasants. The fact that he disregards the line of discrimination put forth by society (city) shows his belief in integration and unity as a foundation of success; an arrangement reflective of the country. Through his new plan that he is testing, he feels satisfied in thinking for the peoples best interests, and in expressing his individualism. His happiness reflects a feeling of peace, togetherness and serenity. At times, the weather in the country is gloomy, he remains happy, In spite of the gloom of the surroundings, he felt quite extraordinarily elated (352).
That he is happy despite the bad weather shows that one can not feel bad in the country for long.
As a setting, the country is a home to new ideas and beliefs; a paradise of hope and beauty. Not only will the reader associate triumph over evil with this setting, but also a sense of belonging. All in all, the country seems the place to be. Russian society seems to be disintegrating, which is portrayed through rebellious individuals like Anna. The harmonious existence in perfection can only be found in the country, a vast appealing expanse of land; a true representation of the people of Russia. The setting in the novel not only reflects the feeling of a collection of individuals, but it also serves as an aid for the reader to formulate an opinion about which life is better; the country or the city.