Daily Archives: December 26, 2015

14% done with War and Peace


While by today’s standards some might see it as barbaric, at the time for a father to allow his daughter to choose to marry or not a suitor is liberal. And her choosing not to is quite the snub, but a win from out point of view since Vasili is such an opportunist. And she retreats to God, forgiving Bourienne’s passion, and only looking to make others happy. She is Tolstoy’s true yet realistic Christian.

I mean it’s not a mistake her name is Marya, Tolstoy is hitting this one on the head pretty bluntly. Yet for as good as she is, Tolstoy writes her realistically in that she’s not without sin or superhuman, she also suffers from passion and pride, but she’s about as good a person as is probably possible.

And that makes her decision not marry Anatole so interesting because on the one hand you could say her lonely father is manipulating her (and he is), but on the other you could say she and Anatole could not possibly me married, they are two different species and she knows that. So her choosing not marry him is not so clear obvious.

And this is what Tolstoy does better than anyone: he presents all the possible “realities”, all the possible ways of looking at a situation, all possible perceptions, and then (and here’s the love him or hate him aspect of Tolstoy) swings the ax down on all the wrong possibilities and tells us what is actually right.

14% done with War and Peace


Mostly just a chapter about the interplay between old Prince Bolkonsky, scheming Vasili, out of place Marya, scheming Bourienne, and idiot Anatole who doesn’t even know where the unit he’s attached to is. I like that Tolstoy doesn’t give us Anatole’s thoughts – we just get an assumed impression and how the women react to him. All this banal drama will help us understand why Marya choose not to marry Anatole

14% done with War and Peace


The one character who does not change through the entire novel is Marya, but this is not because she is a poorly drawn character, just the opposite! The world of the novel changes around her and her belief, faith, and strength are what sees her though to eventual happiness. But right now we can see how difficult her life is, how actually changing into a pretty dress does nothing for her, yet she endures it.