I’ll still have to hold my thoughts on music in the air for another day or two . . .
But back to War and Peace. Here we find out a bit more about Petya. The first thing I thought when I read this, was how well Tolstoy does families. Even though Petya is not the same as the rest of his family, there is, nonetheless, that same impetuousness that characterises the lot of them.
It makes the father gamble all his money away, it makes the mother lose her temper needlessly at Sonya and “donate” money to poor friends, it’s certainly been the characteristic of Nikolai, it made Natasha throw away her engagement, and here we see it in Petya who just wants to be out on the battlefield, riding a horse in front of people firing at him.
Brilliant, brilliant characterisation.
Then the second thought, which is much more obvious, is how much Petya is still a boy, even though he’s pretending to be a man. It reminds me very much of Nikolai at the banquet, back at the beginning of the book.
Which works beautifully, when we get his little touch of humanity in remembering the French drummer boy. In other circumstances, they’d probably run around and play games together, and Petya knows this. But in this case, there’s a war on . . .