Reading for Friday 14/11/08

A day late again – sorry!  Anyway, in this chapter, we see Natasha in the throes of absolute boredom.

Takes me back to being a teenager all over again.  Your emotions are in turmoil, and so the ordinary ordered life of everyone else just makes it worse.  How can the world go on functioning as normal when you’re completely upset about life?

Tolstoy brings this to life as Natasha bosses servants around, lets her imagination run wild and tries to distract herself with random snippets of music.  Or is it just me that relates to this?

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One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 7.9 – Absolute Boredom

  1. No, Matt, I don’t think for one moment that it’s only you who can relate to this. I think we all can – but,as I read it, it when far further than just teenage boredom.

    I’m not totally sure why, but I found this to be an incredibly sad, almost disturbingly sad, chapter. I think it’s the sense of utter aimlessness and dislocation that seems to come across to me in Natasha, as she wanders through the house, feeling no joy or excitement in anything. Maybe it’s partly because this is just so unlike her – this young girl, who normally lives life to the full, is now so utterly bored with it all. And I don’t get the sense that it’s just a spoilt little rich girl sort of boredom. It’s something much deeper than that. Everything around her has become predictable and empty and, most importantly, devoid of Andrei.

    As usual, there’s a passage that stands out above all the rest for me and, in this chapter, it’s the bit where Natasha starts imagining that maybe Andrei came to see her yesterday and she has simply forgotten. Once again, I’m not altogether sure why, but I just find that passage so deeply, deeply sad – so hopelessly empty. They are lines, incidentally, that are set with heart-wrenching beauty in the Prokofiev opera: although Prokofiev places the lines in a rather different setting, transferring them to a scene that actually happens a little later in the book.

    Anyway, I’m not sure if many people read this chapter the way I do, let alone if it’s how Tolstoy intended it to be read – but to me it just feels like an almost classical case study in depression. And, of course, that’s the sort of writing that I just love!!

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