Reading for Thursday, 26 February

And in this little vignette, we see Natasha packing rugs. There’s nothing particularly outstanding about this activity in general, but I think it’s just another great example of Tolstoy’s characterisation that he actually manages to make rug (and china) packing sound so interesting.

Of course, all of this is overshadowed by the arrival of the wounded Andrei to the house . . . are the star-crossed lovers to be re-united?

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 11.14 – Packing Rugs

  1. It really is a clever little vignette here – and I think, for me, it is mainly because of the extra insight it gives us into Natasha. For all her child-like exhuberance and charm, we see here that Natasha is still very much the aristocrat – and an aristocrat who, what’s more, is very much used to getting her own way. That, to me, is what we see in this chapter – Natasha has to be in control. It’s not that she really cares whether the rugs are packed this way or that way, but rather that they are packed her way, because now, at this moment, it’s what she has thrown herself into. I tend to think that in another author’s hands, this would come across as little more than little rich girl’s spoilt tantrum – but, in Tolstoy’s hands, it’s a lot more subtly and complexly nuanced than that. Like you say, Matt, is such a small, almost banal, incident – and yet it sheds such an unexpectedly interesting light for us on the person of Natasha.

  2. I think in some way she knows she’s going to have to face the reality of life and take some responsibility – she knows her life is going to change big time.

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