Reading for Monday 13/10/08
And here we have, in a neat circle, Andrei’s return from the Rostovs and Tolstoy masterfully has the scene where the oak is in full bloom, symbolising for Andrei the fact that life doesn’t end at 31.
I’m rather glad of that, actually. That’d only give me another year to go if that were the case.
But this chapter, in a way, is rather amusing, because Andrei is looking for an excuse to return to life at St Peterburg. Remembering that when we first met him, he was wandering around Anna Pavlovna’s soirée, fed up to the back teeth with anyone and everyone there.
And finally, in the last couple of paragraphs, Tolstoy gives us a little glimpse of Marya – she who is of much more steady emotions than her brother. Sadly, Tolstoy is condescending towards her (and women in general) with her comment about how intellectual work dries men up, but I think the point of the comment was more that she mistakes Andrei’s irritability for him thinking too hard – when we know that it’s because all sorts of emotions are stirring in him.