‘That’s what reason is given man for, to escape from what worries him,’ said the lady in French, lisping affectedly and obviously pleased with her phrase.
The words seemed an answer to Anna’s thoughts.
“ ‘To escape from what worries him,’ repeated Anna. And glancing at the red-checked husband and the thin wife, she saw that the sickly wife considered herself misunderstood, and the husband deceived her and encouraged her in that idea of herself. Anna seemed to see all their history and all the crannies of their souls, as it were turning a light upon them. But there was nothing interesting in them, and she pursued her thought.”
—Anna Karenina, Part Seven, Chapter 31
A ton of semantic bricks transported in a single sentence. Anna, by now so experienced at scrutinizing every aspect of her relationship with Vronsky, can immediately perceive this walk-on couple for the unsatisfied, “repulsive” pair that they are. How exquisitely described their relationship is: “the sickly wife considered herself misunderstood, and the husband deceived her and encouraged her in that idea of herself.” Once again, there is more freight, more wisdom, and more understanding in a single sentence than in many other novels entire.