War and Peace Readalong: Vol. 3

Friday, February 11, 2011

This is my third post (here's the first and second) for the War and Peace read-along hosted by A Literary Odyssey.

I hit a wall in Volume 3. This was partially due to a huge ice storm that hit us. When you’re dealing with icy roads and fallen tree branches everything takes longer than expected. So I lost my momentum and struggled a bit with this section. I made it through in the end, but it was rough.

A few interesting bits in this volume:

Petya, the youngest Rostov, decides to head off to war despite his family’s protestations. I felt like this was the first time we got a real glimpse of Petya.

I loved Nikolai’s letter to Sonya (p. 645), but was then shocked to see him considering marrying Marya. After everything he put Sonya through, he finally commits to her and now changes his mind? I couldn’t believe it. It seems like a horrible match and if Nikolai is truly honest with himself I think he would admit that he’s only thinking about it because he’s caving to his parents’ desire and is trying to solve their financial problems by marrying a rich woman.

What was with Pierre and his silly obsession with the numbers? (p. 665) Did any of you figure out what your own names would be using the French number/letter system? I was curious and tried out my name, thankfully not 666.

I liked Tolstoy’s description of Marya and Mlle Bourienne’s outlooks on life. There’s such a stark contrast between the two women and I found it interesting that he made Marya such an unlikeable character.

“Marya was the same timid, plain, aging maiden, uselessly and joylessly living through the best years of her life in fear and eternal moral suffering. Mlle Bourienne was the same coquettish girl, pleased with herself, joyfully making use of every moment of her life, and filled with the most joyful hopes for herself.” (p. 628)

My heart broke for Prince Andrei when he visited Bald Hills, his father’s deserted manor. It was so bleak. His whole story in this volume was not a happy one, but I did love the moment when he sees Anatole losing his leg after the battle. Maybe I shouldn’t have liked that so much, but it made me feel like there was a bit of justice in the story.

I felt like Natasha finally matured a bit and realized how her decisions were affecting those around her. On page 657 there’s a passage that talks about her tears of regret choking her and how laughter acted as a blasphemy against her grief. I don’t think she’ll grieve forever, but I think this has made her grow up a bit, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

So now I’m off to tackle the final 300 pages. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tolstoy wraps up everyone’s story.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

I'm so late commenting. I held off reading your post until I finished reading Volume III. I just finished today. Shame on me!

This volume was rough. All of the tactical war chapters were a bit overwhelming and made me dread picking it up.

I too smiled to find that the vain Anatole lost his leg. He was such a sleaze. Justice was served.

I'm curious to see what happens with Nikolai. Poor Sonya. I don't think she's going to have a happy ending. Good luck with the last bit.