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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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hey, wait a minute!

Isn't Prince Andrei supposed to be dead? Tolstoy, craftilly, never actually showed him die. But a few chapters back Pierre is informed of Andre's death. And now, he turns up, on a litter, needing shelter, and who takes him in? Drumroll: The Rostovs (his former fiancee Natasha is not yet aware of this). Another one of those coincidences we accept in a novel, especially a Gargantuan one. Tolstoy had spent many chapters depicting the fog of war, the misinformation that infests the atmosphere of the battlefield. And now this pays a plot dividend - we can understand why Pierre may have received misinformation about Andrei's fate. So Andrei's recovering at the Rostov Moscow mansion as the Rostovs still try, fecklessly, to join the exodus. Natasha takes control, and she's pretty good at giving orders. And then it's very touching how all the carts and wagons the she packs get unpacked to help with the evacuation of the wounded soldiers. The Rostovs will, probably, be able to leave safely at last once they pare their belongings down to nothing. Their possessions would have literally killed them - a very beautiful touch. Sonya's character is ambiguous and a bit confusing at this section. Does she resist turning the carts and wagons over to the wounded soldiers? She clearly has no stable position in the Rostov family, one of several characters in the book (e.g., the French woman who's Marya Bolkonsky's friend) who are mere appendages and, to a degree, amusements for their host families. In a way, these dependents are worse off and weaker than the serfs - entirely vulnerable. Will be interesting to see how her fate unfolds.

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