Reading for Thursday, 15 January
As Marya talks to the peasants, you realise that they really are on their own wavelength here. But I think it highlights something universal that, certainly, most social workers would agree with.
You can offer help, but do people want it? Is what you think best for somebody what they think is best for them? In this case, even though the peasants were being offered safety and security, the idea of leaving was more obnoxious to them than being captured by the French.
Were they stupid? Maybe – but they had a connection with the land, and that can’t be ignored. I think it’s interesting, because it’s only now that Tolstoy is really starting to make these peasant characters emerge from the background. Previously, they were kind of just getting the horses ready and looking after the gardens.
But they are people themselves. As is everybody in War and Peace, really.