Reading for Monday 29/09 – 5.10
Another brief chapter, but one that actually made my blood boil. Pierre, now driven by his new Masonic principles, decides that he wants to free his serfs, but gets taken for a ride by his head steward. I think what got me so fired up about this chapter is that I can’t remember if Pierre ever sorts this matter out later on in the book, or what happens.
If so, I’ve been given a glimpse into the Russian serf world (a world that Tolstoy largely avoids for most of the book), and it’s not pretty. And the fact that something couldn’t be done because a) Pierre was incompetent and b) the steward was crafty, are pretty devastating.
But then again, that’s the way Tolstoy wrote it, and it’s meant to be a sad state of affairs. So I think I’m right on his wavelength.
Actually, I will be interested to hear if this pops up again, because it certainly got cut from the Russian film, and I don’t know if it showed up in any other. I shall watch the fate of Russian serfs with interest . . .
It makes me wonder, though. When we send our money off to aid organisations or stick pictures of hungry children on our fridge – how much help are we actually giving them? (Actually, that’s not quite fair. Aid organisations have to be pretty transparent nowadays.) But it is an interesting state of affairs. Does it also say something about us? We’re happy just to be seen to be trying to change something. If we see one child getting a meal, we feel good that we’ve done something. If we see one homeless person getting a pair of socks, we feel like we’ve done something.
All right. Off my soap box. Have a great day. See you tomorrow.