Reading for Saturday 18/10/08

Poor old Pierre.  Now quite depressed by his run-ins with his masonic colleagues, when he goes to visit the old guy who signed him up for it all, he gets a bit of a blurry answer that seems to say something like, “Well, work on yourself until you’re perfect, and then you can worry about everyone else.”  Or did I read it too fast and miss the point?  But that seems to me what the message is saying.

Of course, the problem is that for someone like Pierre, having a strong group of friends around him who can keep him on the straight and narrow is exactly what he needs.  When he’s by himself, he never seems capable of the things that he wants to do. 

Which is why, at the end of this chapter, we see that Helene has wormed her way back into his life . . . we’ll see how his marriage and his Masonic faith go as we continue to read . . . See you tomorrow!


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 6.8 – A Confused Pierre

  1. I think I remember you querying some time ago, Matt, whether or not Vassily’s wife had died – and I know that I, too, couldn’t for the life of me remember whether she had or not. But her reappearance in this Chapter at last resolves that little quandary for us.

    It’s sort of interesting that Tolstoy suddenly changes styles here, and allows us to see what’s going on in Pierre’s head by quoting his diary to us. I think it works well here, especially when the whole Masonry thing seems to be so much about inner knowledge, and inner reflection.

    It’s interesting, too, when we see how Pierre’s beliefs are put so much to the test when it comes to dealing with, and forgiving, his wife. I’m sure we all know that situation – where our beliefs and values are at odds with the reality of our own feelings towards people close to us, or who have touched us deeply in some way.

    But no, I don’t think you missed the point of Pierre’s chat with Iosif at all, Matt – it seems the Masons are intent on Pierre blaming everything on himself. If you ask me, these journeys of self-discovery can become terribly self-indulgent at times, and I think here, and over the next few chapters, we’re seeing some of the tensions that these sorts of approaches to life’s questions can give rise to.

  2. That was a bit fast for me – Pierre taking his wife back. It sort of whipped in there really fast and I wasn’t really expecting that to happen. It was as if he just couldn’t be bothered arguing about it – same way he got engaged to her.

    Masonic Brother –

    Following this letter one of the Masonic Brothers whom Pierre respected less than the others forced his way in to see him and, turning the conversation upon Pierre’s matrimonial affairs, by way of fraternal advice expressed the opinion that his severity to his wife was wrong and that he was neglecting one of the first rules of Freemasonry by not forgiving the penitent.


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