Thursday, July 22, 2010

Volume II, Part IV, Chapter XI

The fun continues at a neighbor's house - the one they were traveling to in the last chapter. It's a house with a widow and her 4 daughters. The matriarch is trying to keep them from being bored by dripping wax into water and trying to tell fortunes from it.
They all love the revelers, and pretend to not recognize them, then they all dress up. Someone tells a ghost story, and Sonya, uncharacteristically brave, volunteers to go into the barn to check it out.
Nikolai, who has been seeing Sonya in a whole new light (by the way, in the last chapter, Sonya felt her entire future would hinge on this one night - so you know what's going to happen), decides at the minute Sonya is going to the barn to go outside and get some air. He intercepts her, and they kiss. It looks like the deal is sealed.

Can I be ambivalent about this? I know it's not like the Russian aristocracy is going to last more than 100 years after this anyway, but I'm a little torn about this - Nikolai is loving Sonya, but now his family will more than likely lose its house and its lands, throwing everyone into poverty. I don't know that Natasha marrying Andrei will do anything about this. So there's a shadow over the whole thing.

They're obviously drawn to each other and have to do what they have to do, but I feel a little loss for the old way of life. I love the Rostovs, but it doesn't feel like they have any notion of how to save themselves.

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