Monday, October 28, 2013
A Feminist Interpretation of War and Peace?
When reading through book eight, I couldn't help but to think about the role of gender in War and Peace. In 19th century Russia, gender obviously had a much different role in society than now, but I still think that Tolstoy must have been trying to say something about the role of women in Russian aristocratic society through the character Natasha. I'm not very familiar with feminism or feminist interpretations of literature, but I think that it might be valuable to look at War and Peace through the lens of feminism. In just chapter eight, there is a lot of developments that could be important to a Feminist interpretation of War and Peace. Natasha's character has developed into what feels like a feeble girl that is controlled only by her passion. All of her thoughts and actions revolve around men, and the ease and speed with which Anatole seduced her makes it seem like Natasha is controlled by her suitor and doesn't have any willpower of her own. As Natasha matured, I feel like she lost her individual identity. Now that Natasha has reached young adulthood, her identity is based off of the man that most recently expressed his love for her. Natasha's futility as a character is contrasted by her hostess, Marya Dmitrievna. Dmitrievna is a widow that does not depend on anybody else. She advocates not only for herself, but for the Rostov family, taking charge of their downward spiral. Tolstoy includes Marya Dmitrievna to show that women in Russian society can have influence while maintaining the respect of the public. Marya has the unique position of being a widow, however. Tolstoy has made a lot of statements about marriage in the novel, but could all of the action surrounding marriage also be interpreted as Tolstoy's commentary on the position of women in Russian society?
Posted by Sam McDonnell at 11:02 PM