Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anna Karenina Chapters 6-10

New characters have emerged. Levin, Stepan's brother, has come to town with the hope of proposing to Dolly's youngest sister, Kitty. The pivotal scene that sets up Levin and Kitty's relationship for the reader takes place at an ice rink, leading me to explore the significance of ice skating in Russian culture...

Tourists and locals skating at the outdoor rink in St. Petersburg's Palace Square 

Follow this link for information about outdoor skating rinks in Moscow

This website provides information on Russia's professional figure skaters.

All I could think about when I read Tolstoy's descriptions of the skaters in the novel was the Olympics that just took place in February. Skating has come so far since the days of outdoor rinks and skates made of bone. In the novel, the ice rink is an easy place for families to go out and about together and for men to search for eligible debutantes without any reputations at stake or social akwardness. Kitty's mother is able to keep a close eye on the goings on of her daughter and Levin, Kitty's would-be suitor. When the mother wants a word with her daughter, all Kitty has to do is skate over to the women's only pavilion where the women and girls change into and out of their skates. It is just outside of the rink that Kitty's mother reluctantly invites Levin to join them at their home that evening, setting up what should be an interesting gathering.

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