Reading for Saturday 15/11/08
Actually, now that I’ve read 7.10, I can see more clearly how 7.9 works. I’m not sure what it is about being a teenager, but you feel everything much more intensely than you do as an adult. And life swings from one extreme to the other so much more quickly.
So at the start of the chapter, Natasha and Nikolai are both describing that sensation of being utterly miserable, when the rest of the world goes on around them. While it’s the kind of thing that can be felt by someone who is suffering from depression, it’s also quite scarily just part and parcel of being a teenager.
However, also part and parcel is feeling the high points of life much more dramatically. Which is what this chapter captures so beautifully. Natasha goes from being in a total gloom, till by the end (and it is quite a long chapter), the night is magical.
Granted, it sounds like a really fun night. Play-acting, dress-ups, and a night-time sleigh ride. Tolstoy describes it, making it sound like such exhilarating fun, that you wish you were there. And, if you’re really on his wavelength, it might cast your mind back to awesomely fun activities you undertook with your friends when you were young. Do you remember parties, camps, beach trips? The kind of stuff that was super-fun and exhilarating.
I don’t think it was so much the activities that were fun as just this constant swinging back and forth between utter depression and utter exhilaration on the other. (Studies show that this is a common teenage emotion, especially for girls.) So I think Tolstoy is taking us into the emotional world, as well as just describing some great Christmas fun.
Anyway, if that’s all too deep, seeing as we’re on our way to Christmas, I hope you enjoyed all the usual stuff like the sleigh ride and the deep snow. (Not that we get any of that here in Australia.)