Obviously she had been holding out some hope this whole time that Anatole wasn’t a scoundrel and that she was justified, but Pierre tells her the bad news. And while it does seem overly dramatic the way she acts, you have to remember she’s just been told everything she’s believed in is a lie, that she was totally wrong, that she’s hurt everyone. It;s like someone died, but you still have to live with them.
While it wasn’t Tolstoy’s intention in this chapter, there is a very strong indictment of society and how there are double standards for men and women. The men are scoundrels but it’s all covered up neatly (with money), but for women they are at the mercy of men, at the mercy of the judgment of society. No what Natasha did was disrespectful, but we know why she did it, too and so we see the double standard
I admit the first time I read the novel I thought for sure Anatole would manage to elope with Natasha but looking back there is no way Tolstoy could have written that to happen.
I’m still confused by Dolokhov’s behavior because once he’s serious about talking Anatole out of this kidnapping, and on the other he’s telling Anatole to make sure to wrap her up in a cloak, as if he’s done this before.
We see what kind of life Dolokhov and Anatole have been living, and how Dolokhov has been controlling this situation. But we also see how others have been able to take advantage of them – well, of Anatole anyway.
This chapter is really just about unsustainable behavior: the money will run out, the horses will die, Anatole will be brought to justice, but we see how they don’t care about the future. Fun now