Anna Karenina Language Analysis

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Rafaella Espin
Mrs. Baker
IB English HL- Period 2
11 January 2015
Anna Karenina Scavenger Hunt
The French Language Tolstoy incorporates the use of French language in Anna Karenina in many ways for various reasons. Throughout the entire novel, many of the protagonists state random words or phrases in French. Tolstoy particularly starts this trend at the beginning of the novel to establish the character’s social status and educated background. The establishment of supremacy throughout the French language is present when Oblonsky is ordering at a restaurant and states “’Well then, my good fellow, bring us two-or that will be to little…three dozen oysters, and vegetable soup…” “Printanier” chimed in the waiter. But Oblonsky evidently did not wish to give him the pleasure of calling the dishes by their French names” (Tolstoy 31). He then continues to order the food by the Russian names while the waiter repeats the items in French. By ignoring the waiter’s use of the French language, and continuing to use the daily language, he is deeming the waiter unworthy to be spoken to in such a language that is reserved for those of high social status. He is also establishing his own supremacy over the common people, such as the waiter, by simply refusing to speak in French to someone of lower class.
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‘I dreamed it a long time ago. I thought I had run into my bedroom that I had to fetch or find out something there: you know how it happens in dreams,’ and her eyes dilated with horror. ‘And in the bedroom there was something standing in the corner.’ ‘Oh, what nonsense! How can one believe?’ But she would not allow him to stop her. What she was saying was of too much importance to her. ‘And that something turned round, and I saw it was a peasant with a rough beard, small and dreadful. I wanted to run away, but he stooped over a sack and was fumbling about in it…’…And Vronsky, remembering his dream, felt the same horror filling his soul...” (Tolstoy

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