Kitty begins the novel as a sweet but naive young woman whose life revolves entirely around marriage. Her remarkable beauty makes her an attractive match for high-status men, and she’s courted by Count Vronsky. However, Kitty doesn’t realize that Vronsky’s attentions are unserious, and she refuses Levin’s marriage proposal under the assumption that Vronsky will soon ask for her hand. As a woman in a traditional, patriarchal society, securing her role as a wife is the most important thing Kitty must do. Thus, Kitty is devastated when Vronsky drops her for Anna, and she falls severely ill with depression. Her misery over the loss of Vronsky, as well as Levin, exhibits how Kitty and other Russian women’s worth and material futures weredefined by their ability to find husbands.

Kitty’s perspective on life changes significantly when she is exposed to Varenka, an unmarried young woman who lives a far more autonomous and progressive life than Kitty. Varenka’s genuine devotion to Christian acts of service, her confidence, and her intelligence have a great impact on Kitty’s development. Through Varenka, Kitty glimpses the possibility of a life that does not revolve entirely around marriage. While Kitty ultimately does return to the social world of Moscow with the intention of marrying, she does so with a more mature perspective.

After marrying Levin, Kitty shows herself to be a competent wife and homemaker. She is a great source of comfort to Levin during the death of his brother, Nikolai, and she exhibits to Levin her instinctual ability to remain calm and care for others even in times of incredible emotional distress. Kitty also displays this same inner strength during childbirth. While their marriage is still young, and both have their moments of immaturity, Kitty and Levin’s marriage is the healthiest in the novel. Through Kitty and Levin, Tolstoy shows the happiness, meaning, and greater understanding of life that people in faithful, sincere marriages acquire.