World Realism – Anna Karenina

Subject: Language classes
Summary: Via the simulation of a court trial, the students learn about the contents of the chosen masterpiece and also, they learn to reason. Suggested novel: L. N. Tolstoy: Anna Karenina (it is possible to use also a different literary work from the period of World realism).
Activity length: Duration is 2 x 45 minutes.

Students will be able to understand the essence of a social type of a character, will be able to describe he character theoretically, even to specify its characteristics based on the analysis of a read work.

Students will be able to identify the level of importance and explain profiling characters like the copyright model compatible with the focus of the work.

Students will be able to give arguments in favour of or detriment to a particular character.


It is important that by the reading of Anna Karenina, the students are informed that they are preparing for a trial with A. Vronskiy, who is accused of goading Anna into suicide. While reading it, their main goal is to find arguments. They are to be divided into several groups (according to the needs of the teachers). The following are the participants of a court and literary characters:

a) The prosecutors (besides looking for the arguments claiming Vronskiy guilty, they are looking for appropriate witnesses who could be summoned to the court hearing)

b) Defenders (besides looking for arguments claiming Vronskiy innocent, they are looking for appropriate witnesses who could be summoned to the court hearing)

c) The judges (preparing the criteria for decision-making)

d) Witnesses (A. A. Karenina, Lidia Ivanovna, son Seryozha, Kitty Scherbackaa, Dolly Oblonskaa, Stepan Oblonskiy, Konstantin Lyovin, family physician…) – it is important that the characters are in accordance with the book and that the arguments contain the examples and the proofs from the text.


Part 1: The teacher describes the simulation of a trial.

Part 2: It begins by the arrival of the judges (3), who will be leading the trial. They will open the trial and ask the prosecutors to present the indictment and its justification. Then Vronskiy will have space to comment on the allegations. It is completed by his lawyer. Then the hearing of Anna K (or the prosecutor) follows and examination of Vronskiy. Then the witnesses follow, who can be asked questions from both sides. Finally, there is the closing speeches and the final decision of the court.

Time schedule for the particular roles:

The judge – 0.5 min.

Opening speech of the prosecutor – 2 min.

Opening speech of the defender – 2min.

Opening speech of Vronskiy – 0.5 min.

Hearing of Anna K. – 5 min.

Hearing of Vronskiy – 5 min.

Interviewing witnesses – 5 min. (For both sides together)

Closing speech of the prosecutor – 5 min.

Closing speech of the defender – 5 min.

The court’s decision – 5 min.


Peer evaluation

Evaluation by a teacher

Additional notes:

It is important to work with the time watch during the speeches, so that the lesson fulfils its goal and the space is given to all participants. The teacher interferes as little as possible.