The train sets the stage for three key narrative points: the ominous death of the railway worker when Anna and Vronsky meet, the scene where Vronsky reveals his love for Anna when she returns to St. Petersburg on the train and the final scene in which we see Anna before her death.
|Garbo and Frederic March as Anna and Vronsky (1935)|
|Vivien Leigh in the 1947 version|
The dutiful Kitty serves as a counterpoint to Anna in the narrative- forgoing a honeymoon to return to the country with Levin and then tending to Levin's irascible, dying brother while Anna is perceived as having abandoned her son Seryohza while in Italy.
When Anna and Vronsky return to St. Petersburg, Anna longs to see her son Seryohza (who has been told that his mother is dead) but must ask for written permission from the sanctimonious Countess Lydia Ivanovna who has taken over the despairing Karenin's affairs. Of course, she is forbidden access but Anna decides to enter the house despite the trepidation of the servants who do not dare refuse her. This scene causes more emotional anguish in me than all the other scenes combined. Each succeeding reading, more so. Firstly, I felt for Anna as the disgraced wife and "unfaithful" woman; now, I feel for her as the mother who has abandoned her child.
Sophie Marceau in the 1998 film
|Keira Knightly |
in the 2102 film