And oddly enough, Petya’s death is the catalyst for Natasha emerging from her shell. As soon as she sees the grief that the rest of the family suffers, she is there at her mother’s side.

It’s quite powerful, because we realise that for Natasha to be able to understand and comfort that level of loss, it can only be because of all that she understands from her own loss of Andrei. Quite beautifully done. And in Countess Rostova, we see the same grief symptoms that Natasha showed in the previous chapter.

In the meantime, I meant to post this up a long time ago, but here is an article that shows that War and Peace is one of the books that people are most likely to have lied about reading to impress someone else. The winner is 1984.

If you’re still with us, you won’t be one of those people who lie about War and Peace. What you do with 1984 is your business.

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3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 15.2 – Shared Grief

  1. Well, I have never read, nor claimed to have read “1984”, but I am sure that there were quite a few books in High School that I lied about reading – book which, since then, I really have read and come to love enormously. It’s funny how even the greatest literature can lose its allure when it becomes compulsory!

    But as for this chapter – it certainly is a very powerful portrayal of grief … this time grief at its most raw. Natasha’s attempts to comfort her mother, to help her bear that grief, are heart-rending and it is perhaps here, maybe even more than her scene with the dying Andrei, where I feel we see that Natasha has grown from the impetuous, self-absorbed, child, into a passionate and compassionate woman.

    And in the midst of describing the intensity of that grief, Tolstoy also reminds us of the senselessness of all that has led to that grief, when he tells us of the countess’s attempts to “save herself from reality in a world of insanity”.

    I remember, incidentally, the intensity and the shock of the countess’s cry of “Petya!” in this scene in the Bondarchuk film – some incredible acting, superbly directed.

  2. I’ll be honest – I meant to read 1984 but did not get into it – have always meant to try it again. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.

    It’s interesting to see what was predicted in books like that, just to see if it did work out the way the writer said it would.

    (War and Peace – I once started it – didn’t read too much of it)

    I’m amazed that someone your age, Matt, would get into it. I don’t find the twenty-somethings are interested in reading the whole book.

    My youngest daughter is in her thirties, and she’s not interested.

  3. It’s funny you should say that – I’ve always been a bit weird, in that I enjoy experiencing things in life that are revered: so I like watching films with a reputation for greatness, I love listening to classical music that people have respected over the years, and I like reading books that have a reputation for greatness.

    It doesn’t mean that I don’t like my light fluff – I do. But I also like to experience great works of art.

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