Monday, September 19, 2011

Love and Be Loved

On page 288 Tolstoy describes the house of the Rostov's as saying "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is one thing we are interested in here," and I believe that this is Tolstoy's central message, at least up to the end of Book Four. Throughout this part of the book the only truly happy people are those who can love and be loved such as the Rostov's who radiate this loving and caring feeling. No where in the novel through book 4 is love shown as it is at the house of Rostov. With the exception of Vera they love and are loved by each other through these times of war and turmoil and prove to be one of though only places where there is some peace during this time. This feeling they radiate is alluring to others as those who spend time with them become infatuated with the family. Both Denisov and Dolokhov who stay at the house of the Rostov's become enamored with the family, and more specifically both of the daughters. They want to join this family and always be part of this exuberant, carefree lifestyle where this actually some happiness. "Believe me, I so adore your daughter and all your family that I would give my life twice over..."(301) says Denisov to the countess. Despite the fact that the Rostov's do have problems such as Nicholas' debt to Dolokhov, and the fact that the chance of their happiness lasting through the novel is very unlikely, I think that Tolstoy's true message is to "love and be loved" and to "seize the moments of happiness" as the Rostov's do.


  1. You make a good point, Jordy. It seems that our main characters, like Andrew, Pierre, Nicholas, and Boris are all looking for meaning and happiness in their lives, but the only people to have found happiness are the Rostovs. Tolstoy could be trying to say that status in society, which many of the characters are concerned with, isn't as important as having people to love.

  2. I also think it is interesting that the "bad" characters such as the Kuragins are portrayed as a less loving family. Helene, especially, does not seem to want love or a loving family at all, which Tolsoy uses to suggest that she is evil. Perhaps Tolstoy is suggesting that "good" characters love others and therefore are loved in return.