And here we have a very short, but very human chapter.  I love this description of the conversation between Pierre and Marya because of the awkwardness that Marya feels in telling Pierre how she feels.

There’s something that I can completely relate to in this – does anyone else know that feeling?  You’d love nothing more than to share how you feel with someone you’re talking to – and yet, there’s always that invisible barrier that makes us pause, rather than express what we think.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what causes this fear of other people, but it’s there and real in most people.

Also, in a larger sense of the novel, this chapter is a remarkable contrast to the last one.  In the last one, everyone was being as fake as possible – in this chapter, we are in a far more real space.

Of course, this chapter doesn’t just work emotionally – plotwise, we see that Boris is now making a move on Princess Marya and that the engagement of Andrei and Natasha is still under a cloud as the 12 months draws to a close . . .


3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.4 – Pierre and Marya

  1. Oh yes, I’m sure most of us can relate to Marya’s awkwardness in this chapter – and maybe the barriers that we put up between ourselves and the people we wish to confide in are not all that different to the barriers that Marya is putting up here between herself and Pierre. I suspect she feels unworthy of her own feelings, her own sadness and while for her, those feelings of low self-worth are almosgt pathologcal, I reckon there’s probably a bit of that in all of us. And maybe, mixed in with that, is a fear of showing our vulnerabilities to others.

    It’s interesting what you say, Matt, about how the “realness” of this chapter contrasts with the fakery of the previous one – which is true and yet, ironically, everyone seemed so much more comfortable in the last chapter than in this one – which perhaps is a subtle but telling commentary on human honesty, and how confronting that can sometimes be.

    And I loved Pierre’s comment about the new fashionable way to chase a girlfriend. I never would have thought of melancholy as particularly seductive – so it just goes to show that everything has its time, it seems.

    Saw a fantastic production tonight of Verdi’s Otello, by the way.

  2. Pierre seems to be every woman’s ‘soul brother’, eh?

    I’m surprised that Tolstoy didn’t cook up something between him and Marya – those two would go well together – but there wouldn’t have been much in the way of ‘conflict’, I guess – there would have been no concerns over one of them not having enough money, for one thing.

    I don’t have any characters to add to this one.

  3. BTW, I don’t think Pierre was ‘making a move’ on her – I think he was just being kind. He’s in love with Natasha – that’s obvious.

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