Daily Archives: January 11, 2016

23% done with War and Peace


While she’s the only one with a level head in the family, the Countess Rostova is a drag. She could have let Denisov down a bit easier in tone, but it parallels her son’s flippant attitude to losing 43k rubles. She is always “in character” and he, too tries to be someone he’s not which is why he’s having such bad luck in life. Tolstoy is affirming us to “be ourselves”, even if it still fails, like Denisov.

Though I should say that Denisov puts on an act too, he’s not as confident as he acts (that lisp of his) and so he over compensates. But like Nioklai, he too is young and trying to figure it all out. That’s why Dolokhov has been successful up to this point because he knows who he is, what he is, and is realistic about getting what he wants. That’s why the encounter with Pierre was a shock to him since he had never lost before when he really should have won.

22% done with War and Peace


Maybe I’m reading into this chapter wrong, but I always got the sense that Nikolai is hiding from the reality of his loss by focusing so much on Natasha’s singing. One last moment of youthful happiness for him. Still, his ability to push all his stresses out of his mind is impressive and speaks to what a hard worker and how dedicated he is.

Perception again: “One might kill and rob and yet be happy”. lol

22% done with War and Peace


You got to hand it to Dolokhov for how he played Nikolai. Though it’s important to remember he had let Nikolai see a side of him no body outside of his mother and sister knew so his shame at being rejected by the cousin Rostov turned him quite vindictive and he got compensation.

Tolstoy kept using the image of Dolokhov’s “red hands and hairy wrists” as the source of power. Hands of fate. Hands of cards.

22% done with War and Peace


I always get nervous when Nikolai plays Dolokhov at cards. Tolstoy writes this exactly how we’ve all thought in situations similar to this where we can’t stop ourselves from doing something very stupid. We bargain with ourselves and we also feel so distant from the person we think we are, we feel like we’re losing ourselves. Denisov loses himself in dance for confidence, Nikolai at cards for a broken heart.

21% done with War and Peace


Nikolai knows that Denisov has an eye for Natasha. When Denisov compliments her to Nikolai, Nikolai makes him repeat himself as if he didn’t understand whom he was speaking of – the way people do when we know that they know.

I love this dance of Denisov, love how Tolstoy describes him as looking the way he felt about himself: confident and handsome.

These are the people the French wanted to kill.