Reading for Friday 03/10 – 5.14

A very brief reading today, but a very insightful one.  I love the description of how Pierre is loved and accepted in the Bolkonsky family.  After so long of seeing the dreadful way old Count Bolkonsky treats people, to see his affection for Pierre is amazing.

And can’t we all relate to that last line:

“When Pierre had gone and the members of the household met together and began to express their opinions of him as people always do after a new acquaintance has left, but as seldom happens, no one said anything but what was good of him.”

Okay, maybe we’re the only people that discuss visitors after they’ve left (sorry if that was you!) . . . but I think this chapter rings very true.


5 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 5.14 – A Family Friend

  1. Has anyone else noticed that in the last book or so, the most poignant sentences are the ones that close off the chapters? In the first book, he wpuld compare the narrative events to real life mid-chapter, but lately, it has felt more like he waits to close off he action, then comments.

  2. I think you’re right, cafedave. I’m not sure why that is – maybe it’s as simple as Tolstoy getting a particular kind of rhythm in his writing. I’ve no idea how he atually wote War and Peace – whether he wrote it sequentially, or all over the place – but there does seem to be some kind of patterns of style every now and then, and the one you pointed out seems to be one of them.

    I think the thing that was so heartwarming about this chapter was the way that Pierre had such a wonderful uplifting impact on the Bolkonsky household – a household that, so far, has hardly been renowned for its warmth and goodwill. And then along comes awkward, clumsy Pierre – talking a lot of nonsense, as the Old Prince says – and yet everyone warms to him.

    I think we all know people like that – people who, for some strange reason, probably something to do with their simple, unaffected, unpretentious, good nature – seem to manage to somehow bring out the best in people.

    And the image we get at the end of this Chapter is, I think, maybe the most heartwarming of all – the idea of the Bolkonsky household, which seems to hardly ever sit down together and talk with each other about anything, all chatting away about how nice Pierre is. It really is kind of special, don’t you think?

  3. Wait a minute! I do have some to add to the count . . .

    Amphilochus – Father Amphilochus –

    The pilgrim woman was appeased and, being encouraged to talk, gave a long account of Father Amphilochus, who led so holy a life that his hands smelled of incense, and how on her last visit to Kiev some monks she knew let her have the keys of the catacombs, and how she, taking some dried bread with her, had spent two days in the catacombs with the saints.

    (Michael Ivanovich has been mentioned again in this chapter – he seems to be staying at the Bolkonsky’s place – as well as ‘the architect’. I haven’t really figured out who Michael is)


  4. There was something I did want to comment on – Marya and her father, the old Prince. I notice he still refers to her as ‘his little fool’. But she doesn’t seem to mind.

    I think she kind of likes Pierre – maybe they’d make a good match. But we all know there’d be too much going against it – certain people have stronger powers of manipulation and wouldn’t let it be.

    I really enjoyed that chapter. It was good for everybody, Pierre, Andrei, Marya and the old man.

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