Reading for Tuesday, 13 January
Here’s another chapter that I’m sure would hit the cutting-room floor in an abridged version, but only helps to build a more realistic period of Russia in 1812. And add to the suspense.
The Bogutcharovo peasants, and their superstitions are all conspiring to delay the safe escape of Marya from the Bogutcharovo estate . . .
It’s at this point that the actions of this chapter are most interesting. A few chapters ago, Alpatitch was something of a passive character. He just did whatever his master told him to without questioning anything. And in his relationship to Old Bolkonsky, that’s where he sat.
But when dealing with these peasants, Alpatitch steps right up and is much more assertive in dealing with the situation in the village. And I couldn’t help but be impressed by the little detail of him selflessly giving up the means to his escape to help Marya get away. I think that’s why war stories are always so interesting – we see how different people react in situations of extreme turmoil. In Alpatitch’s case, I’d say he acted like a hero.