Reading for Wednesday, 24 December

And in this chapter, Nikolai gets the call to go off into battle.  I won’t say too much about it, because the beauty is in the description and the way we are slowly drawn from the beauty of the rising sun on the road into the danger of the battlefield – all in one smooth arc of storytelling, exactly as if we’re watching a continuous take on a film.

The main difference is Nikolai – who was spectacularly scared when he went off to war seven years ago – is now brave and fearless, simply by thinking of anything but the battle.

Things change with time.

One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 9.14 – Without Fear

  1. Yes, this chapter really does give a pretty awesome description of the sunrise, and of the magnificent yet simple beauty of nature, through which Nikolai and the rest of the army are marching, ready for war. For me, the harsh contrast of this beauty with this terror is conveyed nowhere more strongly than in the lines: “A few minutes later, the sun appeared still more brightly on the upper edge of the cloud, tearing its edge. Everything lit up and glistened. And along with this light, as if in response to it, cannon fire rang out ahead.”

    It seems to be a device Tolstoy uses a bit, and it’s always effective, I think – using the enormity of nature as the backdrop to the struggles and concerns of people. We saw it when Andrei noticed the massive sky, or when Pierre saw the comet and now, albeit with less attention being drawn to it, when Rostov sees the sun rise. Maybe this is Tolstoy’s way of reminding all of us that there is something bigger and grander out there.

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