The steppe which had mystery but no meaning.
Beautiful dream scene with Angustina as a child whom the phantoms take away. Is he dead in real life? A premonition?
The singing is not human but the water dripping down the mountain. Sad but beautiful. Is this all language is? Ice and stone?
“How much time there was before him!”, “… death, which everyone knows about but which is quite absurd and cannot possibly concern them.”
“Four months passing with the monotonous rhythm of routine duties had been enough to entrammel him.”
So he’s seen something out the doctors window and now wants to stay at the Fort. But what? He imagines his city as being dull but here there is “destiny”. Maybe he imagines that there just must be something here. There has to be. And the thought of leaving what is growing comfortable is hard to argue with.
It’s as if the tailors uniforms hanging on the walls were ghosts, or vessels ready to imprison another soldier, Drogo, for example.
About as depressing as Pink Floyd’s song Time. I wonder if people on other planets feel life is sort of absurd, too? Living on a giant oblate spheroid means you never really can get to anywhere, everywhere and nowhere is here.
At a distance he can’t tell his mother how he feels. And this is the lie we all tell, “How are you today?”, terrible, sick, “I’m fine. You?” How much of the world has been made in only the image we think others think it is and want it to be?
BOOK 15 (a few chapters ago)
It’s no so much time that heals wounds, but how use we make of that time: by loving and allowing to be loved we live. Honestly, the whole point of the novel can be summed up with that statement
Her mother, however, will not really recover. Though she has Nicholas and Natasha, she will never get over the death of her youngest. And she’s only 50, too.
“Her persevering and patient love seemed completely to surround the countess every moment, not explaining or consoling, but recalling her to life.” This is what we do for each other, this is what it means to live and to love. Without each other there is nothing, and Natasha recognizes this and immediately comes back from the precipice to recall her mother back to life.
“One thing would be terrible,” said he: “to bind oneself forever to a suffering man. It would be continual torture.” This is true not only to Natasha, but to Maria as well as it was when she stayed with her father. And is was true for Pierre as well when he looked away from Karataev.
I really should read something from the French point of view on this subject. The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier by Jakob Walter could give some insight.
“And there is no greatness where simplicity, goodness, and truth are absent.”
This is the first chapter where Tolstoy comes right out and mentions Christ. He is plain about his intentions, about what standard he believes men should be held. And he’s also wagging his finger at historians who have always gone on and on about how great Napoleon was. He has no use for those who deify any man.
Humanissimi Viri Francesci Angloisi virtutibus. I can’t translate this but maybe something like civilized men with the power of angels?
A fake Sabre carved into the wall.
I love the image, “He put out the lamp; little by little the pale rectangle of the window emerged from the dark and Drogo saw the stars shining.”
It’s sort of Dr Strangelove the way the password system works, but without the humor.
Of course he’s pretty much free to go, just a few minor inconveniences is all that stand in his way, just a vague notion others will be disappointed in him And he feels a draw to what lay beyond.
“… an extremely stupid landscape. “
“A slight breath of wind made a flag, which before had hung limply entangled with the flagstaff, billow out over the Fort.” Everything is lethargic but maybe there is at least a breeze? The soldiers walking the ramparts seem like mechanical toys
Many things when seen up close are not very impressive, especially in the military. But is that because so many things are fake or because we take them for granted?
“Now they say the frontier is dead – they forget that the frontier is always the frontier and one never knows.” For most of human history it was not unusual for suddenly an immense army of thousands to suddenly appear out of nowhere and rain destruction. And these armies represented nations of perhaps a million people totally unheard of.
Seingority is counted double here, as if time moves differently here.
You really get a feeling of how small they are against these mountains. It’s like a Roerich painting.
This is like The Castle that you can’t reach
“From time to time the horse pawed the ground with its hooves in a strange, disturbing manner.”
“The two roads became one.” he’s crossed over now. But to what?
The captain does not know him. Not surprising
I like how he thinks about his room being shut up, with only dust and the streaks of light getting in. As if this would await a happy return. It’s just stillness. Everything changes, he’s an officer, his best friend is now fat.
Shift in POV : we get a someone telling us to look at Drogo, not the usual 3rd person. We are told how small he appears against the mountains. Shadows chase him.
What city? It’s unspecified. It doesn’t really matter.
I like how he looks annoyed at himself in the mirror, having giving up so many of his youthful years for something he now can’t define how he feels about it..
Quiet, tired, deserted… then ‘miraculous birth of the sun.’ everyone is to preoccupied to see how beautiful the world is