As a person who owns a degree in mathematics, I do remember thinking in my younger days that if everybody studied maths, we’d all think really logically and have a clear head to apply to all other areas of life.
However, I might have to disown that sentiment in light of Andrei’s dad . . . in this chapter, the scene shifts to the estate of Bald Hills, miles outside of Moscow, and the home of Andrei’s Dad, Prince Bolkonsky. In case you didn’t pick up the significance, a man who still wears a powdered wig (like everyone did in the 1700s) in the early 1800s (when they’d well and truly gone out of fashion) is really quite stuck in a time warp.
When you add what would probably be defined nowadays as “emotional abuse” (via maths lessons . . .), then we have a fairly unlikeable old man.
Oddly enough, however, this might give you a bit of sympathy for why Andrei is the way he is, considering who he grew up with.
Or you might think the whole family is weird.
Certainly, the one that our heart goes our for is Princess Marya, condemned by Tolstoy, not only to have a geometry-wielding father, but to have an ordinary face except for her eyes. And they want to pair her up with Anatole “Ratbag” Kuragin.
(Just in case you got confused here, by the way – Prince Vassily’s family is the Kuragin family. The Julie that Marya is writing to here is Julie Karagin – she who made Sonya jealous a few chapters ago, and whose mother drove Countess Rostov up the wall.) Make sense?
Anyway, I have marked Count Bolkonsky as a MATHS ABUSER on the MindMap and indicated the pen-pal relationship between Julie and Marya.