[about Guillermina], “She was strong-willed and had a wealth of gifts for supervising and organizing, gifts that some of the men who decide the world’s fate would have been pleased to possess.”
Don Baldomero (Barbarita’s husband) always is presented in giving long speeches about what he’s complaining about. He’s fun.
They consume so much (shopkeepers themselves by fortune), they never go wanting, except Jacinta who only wants children.
I like the image of Estupina and Barbarita sitting in church saying prayers mixed with what was on sale at the market: Fruit of thine womb, Jesus indeed.
The kittens trapped in the sewer and drown. She feels surrounded by people who have so much they can throw it away while she, who has everything else, desires only children and it obscesses her. I love the details we get of the children she sees.
Juanito and Jacinta have separate beds (unlike his parents), and at the theater he sits in a different box, closer to the stage, because he likes music (and he sits with his friends). She (in fact everyone else) only goes because they think the other enjoys it.
An immensely complex narrative of the Madrid families. Hopefully this was just an exercise in showing complexity and not something I need to pay closer attention to (because my head hurts now).
He talks about how the classes are more mixed in Spain, and you can see this in how Juanito (now referred to as the Dauphin now that he’s married) was with Fortunata, a low class girl. This naming, however, parallels his current position.
the conversation they have during lunch on the train is so cheerily banal but it’s very real. You do feel like you’re right there with them.
Jacinta, though not learned (book learning) condenses all he tells her about the people living along the path of the train into wondering if the people living there are happy, and that a poor person is just as poor no matter where they live.
I thought of the misogyny because here at the end of the novel he is fair to everyone. He shows all their sins and graces side by side because he has finally assembled, by the end, a collection of good people. None of them are stupid, but they are also imperfect like all people. Pierre is considered apart by little Nicholas (the warning of worship is here) but Tolstoy does not criticize this family.
I started thinking about the criticism of Tolstoy and his view of women. He’s been accused of being a misogynist and I also tend to think he might have been one, but above that I think he just didn’t like stupid people. The novel is filled with his contempt for Napoleon, the generals, the government, and silly men who do stupid things, so why can’t he also criticize women who do idiotic things. All’s fair.
“You ought not to have been here at all,” There’s a double meaning here in what Nicholas says to his nephew. One meaning is that the boy really shouldn’t be exposed to the radical ideas being spoken of (it’s dangerous), but also had Andrei lived the boy really would not have been there, and maybe there is some resentment, some reminder of that man whom he didn’t get along with in life.
Anna Makarovna’s trick for knitting two stockings at the same time – one inside the other and them pulling them apart – represents the whole family and its generations, as well as all of society. The government is changing (for the worse in this case) born of intrigue and mistrust, and the old are passing the responsibility of the family on to the young: just as one event is tied to a million others.
Tolstoy does not paint a rosy picture of what it will be like to be old. Andrei’s father went mad, The old count was embittered and died ashamed, Pierre’s father (lion that he was) had a stroke. And the Countess played her part and is relegated to go on living onlu because her body insists on it, and not because she has any reason to.
The glances the young people make about her are for us someday, too.