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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mismatched

Everyone in War and Peace ends up with, or I guess I should say starts off with, the wrong spouse/partner. Natasha just can't see the obvious, that she's meant to be with Pierre. But of course she's too young and too late. Some very difficulty scenes, some of the most emotional in the book, in the first section of volume 3, as Natasha slowly recovers from her depression and anorexia, starts to believe that she is not a bad person and that Andrei may forgive her for dumping and humiliating him. At church, she believes that everyone is watching her and talking about her, and she's right. Pierre, at the same time, begins to understand his vision of peace and harmony in the universe, and it's really about Natasha - he feels beloved. But he knows it can't be and will only cause her even greater heartbreak and distress - so he vows to cut off visits to the Rostovs. Does this sound melodramatic? It is, but then again - it isn't, because it's always set off against the background of war, and fear. The French are invading, the tsar pleads with the Moscow nobility to sacrifice all, tears in everyone's eyes, the nobles (including Pierre and Count Rostov) agree - the nobles give up thousands of peasants, let's see how it changes their lives if at all - and Rostov gives up his youngest child, Petya. And we see what's really going on in the war, scenes of boisterous flirtation (the doctor's young wife) and bravery in battle, Nikolai Rostov, who also has one of those moments of insight in which he realizes there would have been no point in killing the French soldier he captured, it's as if, in his moment of greatest bravery, he perceives the absurdity of war. Not sure where this will lead him, probably noplace good.

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