Monday, September 22, 2014

Love, "Marriage", and Duels.

Hello all,

My thoughts while reading book four were all over the place. In the beginning, things were incredibly happy with the homecoming of Nicholas and Denisov. People were joyous and kissing and hugging and creating new memories. However, things quickly changed with their presence. Things were tense with Sonya and Nicholas. They were so obviously in love with each other. Tolstoy does an incredible job, in my opinion, of depicting the thoughts and emotions of a man the age of Nicholas. I find it so interesting that these types of emotions are so relatable and recurrent throughout history even though cultures change entirely.  I was puzzled, however, how they so openly knew about their love but decided to act against it. Love, an incredibly complex emotion albeit, seems to triumph even in reality. Why does Tolstoy choose not to act upon their love? Is it an attempt to appeal more to the reader? What were your guys' thoughts throughout this?

Pierre is incredibly unpredictable in my opinion. His actions, declaring a duel against Dolokhov, threw me entirely. Also, even though he came out the victor against the man who was presumably Helene's other partner, Helene's opinion of Pierre lessened. She thought that it was foolish of him to do something of this nature. I would think, in a society that one can declare duels in, that the victor of such a conflict would run away with the girl. This is not the case. Why do you think Tolstoy did this? With Pierre losing Helene, do you think that Tolstoy was just emphasizing the fact that Helene was in the marriage for his fortune? After Helene declared that she wanted a portion of Pierre's fortune amidst the separation, my thoughts towards this theory strengthened.

Let me know what you think! Thank you guys,



  1. Yes Sonya and Nicholas are obviously in love with each other but there is a lot more to be considered and those things are what keep them apart. It would be great if they could end up together but things are not as simple as that. There is the money factor and how the countess would never let Nicholas marry Sonya who is virtually penniless. There is also the consideration that though in love they are both incredibly young and has already seen through Nicholas and Boris once they experience new things and surroundings and emotions , this leads to promises and especially priorities changing. P.S. Great blog!

  2. I believe the only reason Helene married Pierre was because of Vasily's pressures and to gain his money. Your point about Helene thinking less of Pierre after the duel is interesting. When reading I kept thinking how stupidly Pierre was acting, especially since he had essentially never shot a gun before. Pierre is acting on his emotions, childishly choosing to duel out his problems rather than solve them in an more mature manner. His childish behavior has never appealed to Helene and choosing to resolve his conflicts in this manner definitely would not increase Pierre's desire/appeal for Helene (if there was any to begin with - obviously besides all of the money).