one of the bottled up emotions was that of Jewish identity. When Theodor Herzl died their was a riot of emotional outpouring because of his importance to Zionism. Whereas Jews were separated and at odds within each other, he was a unifier. No wonder his idea was sneered at in conservative Vienna.
he chose a philosophy degree because it would inconvenience him the least. HA!
the actual Thomas Carlyle quote is : “The true University of these days is a Collection of Books.”
Ha! (speaking of the rituals of young college boys and their duels) : “… A few scars on their forehead could be far more advantageous when applying for a post than what lay behind it.” The old boys club.
I love how honestly unconcerned Pierre is with anything his wife does. While she is consumed with her affairs (literally), he has more important things to worry about.
It’s too bad we don’t get anything from Vereshchagin’s point of view, or at least the people he ran with. The fact that he was willing to take the blame means there was a lot going on in Moscow: siding with the French, or resistance? Sad.
In Nicholas waking dream it all sort of becomes nonsense (sabertash, Natasha), and later Petya will have a similar experience (how beautifully Tolstoy can write dreams!), but Pierre’s dreams are actually sensible and useful. He knows, deep-down, how to live a good life, but he’s not yet there to understanding it and acting on it. But because he so much wants to be good that you know he will find it.
Thus begins Pierre’s transformation, though it’s a transformation that will nearly break him before he finally becomes the good man he’s destined to be. He still wears the clothes of a gentleman, but he’s not given his name, only Peter Kirilych he gives to the soldiers – he’s shedding his aristocratic, French-ified skin and is becoming Russian. He will suffer in the months to come, but he will live!
I love how Hélène didn’t actually explain anything to her mother yet her mother actually believed it had all been explained. Hélène would have made a wonderful politician.
I forgot about the divorce letter and how Pierre didn’t get it because he was at the battle.
Hélène might be stupid but she’s not dumb. Her manipulation of the entire Catholic religion to obtain her aim of divorce from Pierre is quite clever. It also shows how little love Tolstoy has for any religion, especially one so organized.
I think Tolstoy is also trying to show us how these upper-call people lack any scruples or morality, how money and false society rules them and Hélène is the poster-child
Tolstoy has no love for Rostopchin.
We get another picture of people who, without knowing a definite reason, and like the serfs earlier whom Maria fought with, serfs who had once headed to those “warm rivers”, the people of Moscow fled. They fled because they had to no matter what Rostopchin wrote in his broadsheets.