Reading for Monday, 30 March

This is another strange little chapter. Under normal circumstances, if you were arrested unfairly and thrown in a gaol cell with someone who smells bad and gibbers endlessly about this, that and the other, you’d be quite annoyed.

You’d probably rather be somewhere else.

But Pierre, after his experiences, views the meeting with Platon as a wonderful experience.

I love the whole flow of the chapter, from Pierre’s darkest depression yet in the opening paragraphs through to his joy at the end. Again and again, in this latter part of the book, we’re being reminded that all around us are human beings –  all with flaws – but very much human.

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 12.12 – Under Different Circumstances

  1. Yes, this chapter is just so perfectly placed – after such grimness, such depression, felt as much by us as by Pierre (because it’s Tolstoy writing), we find some comfort and hope in the most unexpected of ways – the idle, directionless chatter of a shabby, smelly peasant. I think it’s so important that it is Pierre in particular who meets Platon – Pierre, from his life of indescribable wealth, sees happiness with this humble little man and little mutt of a dog and a roast potato sprinkled with salt.

    I gather that Tolstoy saw Platon as capturing the essence of all that is good and noble in humanity – and it just seems so right that it is here, in this dark prison camp, that he appears.

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