Reading for Friday 17/10/08

And we return to Pierre again – trying to change the world, as always.  I’m on my way to another concert, so I don’t have a lot of time to comment, I’m afraid, but this is a fantastic picture of the disillusionment that can creep in when you’re inside an organisation.  Pierre looks around but he can’t help but be dissatisfied with the conduct of the other Masons.  And then when he suggests that they should band together to try and change society, they’re quite opposed to it . . .

A similar debate is running in Christian circles currently.  Is it meant to be purely an individual thing, where your focus is just on changing the individual personally, or is it meant to be something that looks to change society as well?  Obviously, at least for this bunch of Masons, society seemed far too political for them.


3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 6.7 – Changing the World

  1. I suspect this Chapter is a very accurate portrayal of some of the issues that were bubbling away in the whole Masonry scene back in the early 19th century – but, much more than that, I saw it as a very incisive portrayal of what seems to go on in any group that is trying to achieve big, profound change in the world – as point out, Matt, it’s part of the Christian scene at the moment and, for me in my own area of passion and involvement, it’s also very much a part of left wing politics. People are involved for different reasons and in different ways, and there are always the different factions, pouncing on one another, and labelling one another, for what they say, and for every idea, always a myriad of interpretations. All of that should be good, really – allowing ideas to form, to clash, and to reform: but, as we see in this Chapter the reality is usually a lot more hostile and ugly than that. I’ve never been even vaguely interested in Masonry or lodges, but I was just very much struck by how similar Pierre’s experiences here have been to some of the things I have myself seen and been through (and still go through) in my own involvement in political parties and movements.

  2. This particular passage made me like Pierre even more; I started out NOT liking this character at all. I also felt the same way about Andrei. Yet now I like both of these men – it’s hard to decide which I should have a ‘literary’ crush on . . .

    I even like the actors who play their parts in the Russian movie.
    At first I didn’t like Sergei playing the part of Pierre at all.


    Let’s see if I have any people to add to my count . . . NO! There are none!

  3. Yes, I too think they’re both great characters, Carly. Probably Andrei is the one who develops the most – but then, at least as I saw it, he had a lot of developing to do when it all began.

    I also think they are both very good in the movie, especially Andrei. Bondrachuk is maybe just a tad too old for the part of Pierre – not that I can remember Tolstoy ever actually referring to his age.

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