Thursday, July 15, 2010

Volume II, Book IV, Chapter VIII

Things were not cheerful in the Rostov house.”

That’s how this chapter ends. The Count is hemorrhaging money – he is aware of how much he is losing and how close he is to ruin, but he can do nothing to stop it. There are still about 20 people who live with them, people who come over and win money from the count at cards since he’s a bad player, and obviously many who take advantage of the Rostov’s.

The countess is trying desperately to get Nikolai to marry Julie Karagin, who is now rich, and her mother is open to it. She tries to talk to Nikolai, who only cruelly asks if he would sacrifice his happiness and desires for this match. The countess cannot bring herself to ask it, and just cries. He doesn’t visit Julie, and then goes back to the army still in love with Sonya. Sonya, meanwhile is above reproach but the countess still gets annoyed with her, precisely because of that.

Natasha gets word Andrei’s wound has re-opened because of the warm climate, or he would be coming back. He’s delayed, and she starts falling into sadness, feeling like she’s wasting herself.

Well, I can hope for a happy ending here since I like the Rostovs (even though, perhaps because of, their humanity and big hearts). It’s heart-breaking how they’re so themselves, isn’t it? The count is feckless and big-hearted, and doesn’t realize people are taking advantage of him. Nikolai is consumed with himself. The countess is self-sacrificing, but unable to muster the strength to take any control of the family. I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

The count walked about in his affairs as in an enormous net, trying not to believe that he was entangled and with each step getting more and more entangled, and feeling himself unable either to break the meshes that ensnared him or to begin carefully and patiently to disentangle them.

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