Reading for Tuesday 18/11/08

Well, I think this is the absolute rock bottom for the Rostov family.  The count feels completely guilty, the countess is being nasty to Sonya, Nikolai is fighting with his mother, Natasha is slipping into a depression . . .

As the Count takes the girls to Moscow and Nikolai heads back to his regiment, there is a sense that we’re leaving the house, but not really leaving the troubles behind . . .

No neat finish to this book.

See you soon for Book 8.

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3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 7.13 – The Wheels Fall Off

  1. Yes, it’s a pretty gloomy ending to another part here. I’m sure that there are many families that can identify with this sort of situation. I guess it’s pretty hard for me to feel a lot of sympathy for the countess and yet, even so, Tolstoy portrays her with such humanity that, as much and all as we might feel how cruel and unreasonable she is being, we can’t help but feel her sadness too. There are a couple of times in this chapter when we see the countess being alarmed herself by the ferocity and intensity of her anger – and yet, even so, she is unable to back down. I think that kind of thing is a lot more common than it should be – families plunged into despair by people being unable to shift from their almost obsessive need to be right.

    And as we see, no one is a winner. The countess eventually relents, but the harm has been done, and no one is happy. It really has been quite masterful, I feel, the way Tolstoy has let us see this family change almost imperceptibly before our eyes – to disintegrate from all its happiness and warmth into something that even Dr Phil would probably feel a bit stumped by. Not that it takes much to stump him, mind you.

  2. I think what’s happening with the countess is that she’s just plain scared. That’s the trouble in a situation where the women are unable to work, to bring in income – where whatever they had to begin with is managed by their men. When things go wrong, they want to do something, but are powerless.

    In today’s world, a woman can just go out and get a job, can help out with financial matters. But in Tolstoy’s world, all a woman can do is work with what she’s got. Her husband and/or sons can sell the whole shootin’ match, including her own holdings, to their nearest neighbour, and there’s not a damn thing she can do about it.

    Countess Rostova is angry with Sonya for capturing her son’s heart.

    Something ironic, when you think of all these families in War and Peace . . . each tries to hold up the myth that they have money, but each are conscious of what their children can bring in by way of marriage.

    Kinda’ funny when you think of it – it’s just one whole lotta’ people, with a whole lotta’ trouble – all they need to do is get together and work together and they’ll be alright.

    Tolstoy’s got a good eye for this; he might even think of them doing just that in the end – and no, I have no idea about the end – other than having a boo at the 1950’s version with Hepburn, I don’t really know how it ends up – I haven’t read that far.

    It’s the Moscow property the Rostov’s want to sell . . . I think this is the wrong thing – they don’t strike me as being St. Petersburg people really – they’re more ‘Moscow’ people. I guess the Moscow’s property’s bigger and would bring in more money – dunno’.

    But isn’t this exactly the kind of thing we do today? We buy, we sell, we buy, we sell and we move on.

    Then we die and whatever money’s left over goes to our kids who might use it to open some yuppie business, and blow it all in a couple of years.

    That’s life, eh?

    ………………………………

  3. Notes I made on reading this chapter a couple of days ago . . .

    I’m proud of Nicolai – he’s stood up to his mother and told her he intended to marry Sonya.

    I’m disappointed in the Count – being the jolly fellow he is, I expected he would defend the young couple.

    But this is not so – and now the Moscow property must be sold so they’d have money.

    But why, might I ask, is this such a terrible monstrous thing? They’re ok in the home they’re living in, why not give up the other property? Aren’t they going to make money when they sell the other one? Surely that would be enough.

    And why are all these people living with them? Bloody freeloaders!

    ……………………………………

    I have nothing for the character count here – it’s still 626.

    (BTW – I am working on my new blog – I’m hoping to get some stuff on there very soon – I’ll give the link then.

    This blog right here will be one of the first links I’ll share on the blog.

    I don’t really know what I’m doing – I’m in the process of figuring out how to get a picture up, how to categorize and everything. I think I know how to do it . . . haven’t had to holler HELP! . . . yet.)

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