And now, we jump back to Moscow, and Nikolai is spending a lot of time with Dolohov and Dolohov’s Mum.  Due to Dolohov’s life policy of only being kind to the three or four people that he likes, we now have a pretty good understanding of what makes him tick.

There are actually some people like this – I remember being similar to this in my teenage years – where there were a few people that I was intensely loyal to, and I didn’t really care about much else.

I must say that I didn’t find it a very workable strategy as I got older, so I don’t really recommend the Dolohov approach to life.  But it is quite possible that he is a genuinely caring son and sister, while using and abusing everyone else around him . . .

All of which makes for a fascinating twist, when he sets his eye on young Sonya.  (Who would have seen this coming back at the beginning of the book?)  More soap tomorrow!


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 4.10 – Dolohov’s Mum

  1. The thing that I find so instantly endearing about Dolokhov’s mum here is the way, in just a couple of paragraphs, she basically rewrites the whole book so far, just to make her son look good. In fact, I think this might even be the first time we hear his first name, isn’t it? Those Russian diminutives can always make someone seem so much nicer.

    There’s something slightly amusing in it all, I think – but also something kind of reassuring and affirming. Even Nikolai has been won over – with Dolokhov now his new best friend. I don’t think for a moment that any of us are meant to actually think that Dolokhov (sorry … Fedya) is really a saint after all, but it is nonetheless another example of Tolstoy giving his characters some complexity, some humanity and, of course, some value – an important thing to do, if your view of things is that it’s the millions of little people, rather than a few big people, who make the world, and history, what it is.

    And always, for me, a visit to the Rostov’s comes as a breath of fresh air. That description of the family, with everyone basically in love and going around smiling at their own happiness, is exactly the sort of sunlight we all needed after the last several chapters, dominated so much by death and sadness and regrets.

    Anyway, I think I may have babbled on here for even longer than the chapter itself. The sunshine is beaming through the windows here at my home, as well as in today’s chapter, so I think I might take myself and my two little doggies outside to enjoy it some more.

    Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

  2. Governor General of Moscow –

    Rostov’s share in Dolokhov’s duel with Bezukhov was hushed up by the efforts of the old count, and instead of being degraded to the ranks as he expected he was appointed an adjutant to the governor general of Moscow.

    That was the only one I found to add to my count.

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