Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Order to Adventure. Adventure to Order.
Up until Book Five, Tolstoy had presented the Rostov and Bolkonski as in direct contrast with each other. In his distinction between the two, he seemed to bringing up the ever debated question of Romantic versus Classical. I recognize that these exact terms are not used in Tolstoy's discourse; however, I do still think that the ideas are present in Tolstoy's writing. The Rostov's are seen as the ultimate Romantic family: loving, artistic (singing and dancing in their household), individualist (Nicholas' reverence of the Tsar). The Bolkonski family, in contrast, is known for their high standards of education, mathematic reasoning, and efficiency based routine. As I was reading Book Five, I noticed that the distinction between the two families was no longer so stark. The old prince leaves his routine life to get out in the world and serve as a recruiting officer. He also, for the first time in the novel, shows emotion with the possible death of Andrew and the actual death of Lise. Prince Andrew also has a shift away from strict Classical thinking when realizes his love for his newborn son. In the Rostov family, Tolstoy also presents some shifts away from their Romantic nature. The language he uses to describe Nicholas on page 345, when Nicholas rejoins his regiment, is very similar to some of the old prince's traits. Nicholas describes that in the regiment "all was clear and simple" (345) and that "everything was definite." Just as the old prince clings to regularity and predictability, Nicholas is also beginning to seem emotionally drawn to order and defined. As the book continues, will these families continue to stray from their Romantic and Classical characteristics? If so, will Tolstoy portray these changes in behavior as positive and productive or as detrimental to the individual and their family?