The role of Dolokhov becomes more pronounced in this chapter.  In fact, we realise he’s pretty much engineering everything just for his sheer amusement.

This chapter, again, has a fair amount of sly humour which – assuming you can enjoy it while worrying about Natasha, not to mention Andrei – is actually quite funny.  Especially Balaga the horse-killing coach driver.  Okay, so there’s nothing really funny about killing horses, but I don’t know – I got a bit of a chuckle out of it.

But the main thing to note with this chapter is that it’s the complete opposite of everything that Natasha is hoping for.  Here she is, dreaming of this romantic man that’s going to sweep her off her feet, and here’s Anatole, Dolokhov and Balaga the horse-killer all planning to sneak her away and make a bigamist of her . . .

Can’t wait till tomorrow.


7 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.16 – Plotting

  1. Actually, in his chapter I saw Dolokhov almost being the voice of reason, with his final, last-ditched attempt to talk Anatole out of this elopement plan, which, nevertheless, Dolokhov himself has helped set up. I guess this whole scene between Dolokhov and Anatole is sort of like a male counterpart to the scene we just had between Sonya and Natasha – but it’s clear that neither the feminine, emotional pleading of Sonya nor the male, logical reasoning of Dolokhov, is going to make on iota of difference to the outcome.

    And, I’m afraid I just couldn’t get the same chuckle out of the bit about the mad Balaga and his poor horses as you did, Matt – but I do see what you mean. It’s rather like an 18th century version of hoons!

  2. Yes, I had to give Dolokhov credit when he advised Ratbag against going through with this. It was sensible advice.

    But we gotta’ admit – wherever trouble is, Dolokhov’s there.

    Thank God for the smart intervention of The Dragon Lady . . . Anna M (there’s two, I know – I mean the older one).

    She really takes that situation in hand and is firm with Natasha – had this happened at home, with her parents there, she might have gotten away with more.

    I like the Rostov couple – they’re a lot more real to me than some of the others in this book – like that lot at the beginning (the soiree), but they need to be a little smarter in parenting.

    All that in the beginning with Natasha and Boris . . . and there’s Countess Rostova sitting there talking about her little girl is in love with Boris and Anna M. pointing out – cousinage is dangerous . . .

    Seems to me the Count and Countess oughta’ have been a little more astute with that – letting the kids romance each other, even when Boris came back!

    Then the Countess sat him down to point out that she wouldn’t allow a marriage!

    Why go all that time?

    What would our parents have done! I know darn well I wouldn’t have gotten away with carrying on with my cousin . . . he smelled like cod liver oil anyway (soaked his worms in it – thought it made good bait – ha!)

  3. Ha ha! There I am, rambling on again . . . no, I haven’t done any character counting. I’ve been working in the first few chapters because I am moderating a discussion on W & P at Reading Group Guides.

    But I will return!

  4. Actually, I don’t think Dolokhov was being the voice of reason at all. I’m almost certain that if you look closely, he’s just doing this because he *knows* that it makes Anatole more determined to do it.

    After all, it was Dolokhov that worked out the whole plot anyway. So where was his voice of reason then? No, I’m pretty sure that he was only suggesting to Anatole that he back out, because it amuses him to see how fired up his friend gets about going through with it. (I confess that I have done this kind of thing with friends – not setting them up with shonky marriages – but nay-saying something just because it’s amusing to watch how passionate people get about it.)

  5. Actually, yes, that makes a lot more sense and in fact not only fits in a lot more with what we know of Dolokhov, but also makes this scene even more of a shadow of the one with Sonya and Natasha in the preceding chapter.

    And just one small (slightly pedantic, I know) think about Sonya and Nikolai – they weren’t first cousins, they were second cousins (which means one of Sonya’s parents was a first cousin to one of Nikolai’s parents) … so that’s not really all that close for a romance, I think.

  6. Most likely, Dolokhov is afraid of getting some of the ‘flack’ spilled on himself when it all comes to light.

    He went along with Anatole, then starting thinking twice about the wisdom of the scheme, once they got that far into it.

  7. I think the cousin thing has to do with the sex of the parents – two cousins, who have parents of the opposite sex – meaning they’re the children of a brother and sister – they are called ‘cross cousins’. And ‘cross cousins’ is supposed to be (biologically) ok.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s