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Author Study: Leo Tolstoy Curated by Grace Xu '19

Motif: Fate




Pre-destined Fate 

“Do you say that it’s not right? But you must consider,’ she went on; ‘you forget my position. How can I desire children? I’m not speaking of the suffering, I’m not afraid of that. Think only, what are my children to be? Ill-fated children, who will have to bear a stranger’s name. For the very fact of their birth they will be forced to be ashamed of their mother, their father, their birth.’” (Part IV Chp. XXIII, pg. 638)

“‘Only I’m afraid Vronsky won’t find it pleasant to talk to him. Whatever you say, [Vronsky’s] fate moves me. Talk to him on the way,’ said the princess.” (Part VIII, Chp. II, pg. 774)

Action-influenced Fate

"[Levin] paid and went home, in order to change and go to the Shcherbatskys’, where his fate was to be decided.” (Part I, Chp. XI, pg. 43) 

“Painful as it was for the princess to see the unhappiness of her eldest daughter, Dolly, who was preparing to leave her husband, her worry over the deciding of her youngest daughter’s fate consumed all her feelings.” (Part I, Chp. XII, pg. 45)

“‘Whatever our fate is or will be, we have made it, and we don’t complain about it,’ he said, uniting himself and Anna in the word ‘we.’” (Part II, Chp. XXI, pg. 183)

“‘Yes,’ he said, resolutely going up to her. ‘Neither of us has looked on our relation as a game, and now our fate is decided. It’s necessary to end,’ he said, looking around, ‘the lie we live in.’” (Part II, Chp. XXII, pg. 188)

Additional Theme:

Although people do not have complete free-will over their predestined fate, their actions can still have significant influence on the outcome of their lives.