Thursday, October 10, 2013

Love is in the air! Keep your shoes on... or you might get cold feet

Natasha and Andrew have a love unlike any I've ever read about... It is both exciting and has a sense of foreboding. With Natasha and Andrew, it's definitely an “opposites attract” situation: Andrew is logical and calculating while Natasha is spontaneous and emotional. Sometimes marriages between opposites work well because the two personality types balance each other: Kate Middleton's bubbly personality contrasts Prince William's reserve, but it works for them. However some opposites like Katy Perry and Russell Brand attract and then repel.

Andrew was very unhappy in his last relationship, and he did not mourn for Lise as much as the typical widowed husband. He also decides to pursue Natasha on a whim: simply because she went and talked to her cousin before Mademoiselle Bourienne. This decision is strongly out of character for Andrew, as his decision is based on entirely false logic.

Natasha falls for Andrew pretty quickly, and seems happy about the idea of marriage. She tells her brother that “Oh, if only [Andrew] would come quicker! … I am growing old” (Tolstoy 460). However, in book 7, she says that “I know that I shall never again be as happy and tranquil as I am now” (Tolsoy 455). Natasha is clearly sad about leaving her happy childhood behind.

Clearly neither Natasha nor Andrew are 100% sure of their potential marriage, but everybody gets cold feet, right?
Do you think Natasha and Andrew's regards about their marriage are normal, or does it show the marriage is doomed to fail?


  1. As much as I love Natasha and Andrew's relationship, I am starting to worry that it is doomed to fail. The first major worry for me is their ages. 15/16 is very young, especially when compared to the age of Natasha's future counterpart. I know 16-year-olds aren't world-renowned for their intelligence, and the age difference is quite worrisome. In addition, Natasha's constantly changing, passionate emotions are sure to throw a kink in the relationship. She is either violently in love with Andrew or certain that she cannot be unhappy anymore, and if it gives the reader whiplash, it's certain to have an effect on Andrew as well.

  2. I think their nervousness and excitement are normal. I imagine (since I've never been in the situation myself) that many people freak out right before getting married. It's a huge step in a person's life, and it can be emotionally debilitating if you make a wrong choice. I do not believe that Natasha and Andrew's apprehension is the reason their relationship will fail (if it does at all). They both rushed into the engagement, as you said. Natasha has a history of becoming infatuated and forgetting about men within a few months. There is no way to tell whether she will really stick with Andrew, or if he will stick with her, but I don't think that these nerves have much to do with the success or failure of their relationship.

  3. I really appreciate how at the beginning of your post you compared Natasha and Andrew's marriage to some modern couples of today, since oftentimes I feel that modern readers fail to find meaning in older literature when they decide that the characters of hundreds of years ago are detached from the modern experience. In reality, I find that much of the beauty of literature lies in how humans, no matter what century, despite obvious differences in behavior, also have many similarities in how they emotionally process their surroundings. In regards to getting cold feet, however, I feel that it is hard to use this phrase in the historical context of War and Peace. In the context of Natasha and Andrew, marriage was much more final, since divorce, although an option, was not as common as it is today. While to us getting cold feet seems like a normal feeling, I think that in the historical context when Tolstoy was writing, the feeling is intended to be portrayed as much more foreboding. Nonetheless, I would agree with the commonality throughout time of anxiousness toward rushing into things.

  4. Lizzie, I LOVE your modern comparisons for the opposites attract- very creative! Unfortunately, however, I think that all of this foreboding is for a reason. Tolstoy wouldn't include such obvious foreshadowing if it wasn't for a reason. As much as I want Natasha to be happy, I'm just not sure that this particular pairing is going to work out. Hopefully, if that's the case, it will happen before they get married... Divorce was so difficult to complete back then!