“In Natasha’s eyes all the people at the ball alike were good, kind, and splendid people, loving one another; none of them capable of injuring another—and so they ought all to be happy.” If only this truly were the case then heaven would be on Earth. And though she is naive, and is at a ball where everyone is fake and escaping reality, she sees people as they ought to be: good, kind.
She cares for Pierre
“… who would have felt very much ashamed had she not been assured that this was absolutely necessary”. Tolstoy is showing us here more of how unnecessary all this show is, and you can’t help but think about the millions of serfs limping around hungry in the cold night, but Natasha is genuinely happy and Tolstoy does not judge her for it. This is a silly, but wonderful moment for everyone, even Andrei.
“Only then did she remember how she must behave at a ball”= Can’t be yourself. “she felt her eyes growing misty, she saw nothing clearly” Because it’s all fake. Later, at the play, she will see how fake it all is, and it will be there she will meet her near destruction.
“repeating the same words to the various arrivals, “Charme de vous voir,” (Delighted to see you). No, they’re not delighted to see you.
Costuming is what they’re really doing getting ready for Natasha;s first ball. This may be how high society does things, but it’s not uniquely Russian. They are going through all the same motions and wearing the same costumes as everyone else, including old Peronskaya. Later we’ll get them dressed up in the old pagan costumes after the winter hunt during which there’s a man who is a woman, even. Perceptions