Sunday, February 20, 2011

I Shall

"I shall still lose my temper with Ivan the coachman, I shall still embark on useless discussions and express my opinions inopportunely; there will still be the same wall between the sanctuary of my inmost soul and other people, even my wife; I shall probably go on scolding her in my anxiety and repenting of it afterwards; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying- but my life now, my whole life, independently of anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no longer meaningless as it was before, but has a positive meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it." -Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I have finally finished the novel and although there are slow parts you must trudge past, the humanity necessary to make great works of art is ever present in Tolstoy's writing and attention to character. There is not a single character you can fully love all the way through or hate all the way through, as it is in life. These characters display vulnerability and provide moments of honesty (such as shown in the quote above). Even Anna Karenina, who for the most part is a weak, self-pitying character induces one's sympathy at one point or another. As I was reading the final part I wasn't quite sure what to make of the seemingly out-of-place attention to Levin's questioning of faith and existence, but by the end it seemed as though this was the only and perfect way to end a novel based on human relationships and suffering. After all, existence and relationships depend on some form of faith, whether it be faith in a god, an art form, or yourself. In the end, what I appreciated most about this classic is that Tolstoy's voice is so effortless it's as if this story is not being written but actually lived.

plus, favorite purchase of late (the picture doesn't even do it justice):

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