Well, welcome back everyone.  I felt a bit naughty skipping a chapter of Tolstoy yesterday, so I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyway, we get right back into it with Petya and his burning desire to be in the army.  I think the funniest thing about this chapter (and it is meant to be a funny chapter) is the parallels that it has all those years ago with Nikolai and his love of the Tsar.

Nikolai would do anything and was desperate for that personal meeting with the Tsar (which ultimately never came about) and there is a very similar theme in this chapter with Petya hoping to walk right up to the Tsar and ask to be enlisted.

My favourite moment is the bit where he climbs up on a cannon, is looking down at the crowd, and can’t tell which of the four figures he is looking at is the Emperor Alexander.  Ultimately, the one he ends up deciding is the Tsar and getting all emotional about is not the Tsar.  Very amusing.

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 9.21 – Petya and the Tsar

  1. I, too, thought this was quite a hoot of a chapter. Of course, the bit about it that is not all that funny is the realisation that people like Petya, still really only a boy, really were, and really are, sent off to war.

    But, anyway, that’s not our concern at the moment, and we can just enjoy the fun of this scene, with Petya trying so hard to look grown up and then ending up making a complete spectacle of himself by fainting in the middle of the crowd.

    The other thing I liked in this chapter was the whole description of crowd hysteria in the presence of a hero. I found something somehow sobering in the thought that it was just as crazed back then as it is now.

  2. Guess I oughta’ read (re-read) this one before I insert my illustrious opinion, but it seems horrifying to think of that kid joining the army – I know he’s gonna’ do it, however, and who the heck am I to tell Tolstoy what to do with his characters?

    OK – re-read . . . what a delightful little story in itself, Petya’s attempt to see the emperor. He had an exasperating time there in that mad crowd, but he went home with the feeling of having had a fine time.

    I like the way these kids threaten to ‘run away’ if they don’t get their own way.

    Fifteen! That’s how old I’m figuring him to be, seeing his friend as that age. Imagine a 15 year-old joining the army! I know they do it in middle-east every day.

    Ahhhh! ‘Twas a good chapter!

    (I’ve got a sheetload of characters to add to the list here!)

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