Monday, June 28, 2010

Volume II, Book III, Chapter XXIII

Andrei goes home to ask his father about proposing to Natasha. The old count doesn't like it (since it's change), and says it's a bad match for fortunes, etc. He asks why not wait a year.

Natasha meanwhile doesn't know why Andrei has stopped showing up. She is dejected, but one day gets up, puts on her happy dress and shoes and goes to sing to herself. I love how Tolstoy describes her talking to herself - "That morning she returned to again to her favorite state of love and admiration for herself. 'How lovely that Natasha is!' she said of herself again, in the words of some collective male third person. 'Pretty, a good voice, young, and doesn't bother anybody, just leave her in peace.' But however much she was left in peace, she could no longer be at peace, and she felt it at once.

Andrei comes at just that moment, and asks the countess for her hand, and Natasha. Natasha is so struck by him she doesn't hear the year, part, but then it sinks in "A whole ye-e-ear!" she says like a teenager. She bursts into tears, but then gets over it.

The engagement will be a secret. I love how no one has any simple emotions in this - they're carried on waves of complicated feelings. The countess seems almost sad and scared of the proposal, and is a little intimidated by Andrei. Andrei no longer feels the same youthful flush for Natasha, but suddenly feels how young she is and what weight there is in the proposal. It's a more serious and strong feeling. Everyone's emotions turn on a dime. So romantic - all stormy. Well, now we have to wait a year.

No comments:

Post a Comment