Archive for October, 2012

JUST TO SAY HELLO

Monday, October 29th, 2012

It has been a while since I have posted, so I wanted to check in with my readers and say hello. I also wanted to wish you all the very best during this unprecedented storm that we will very soon be experiencing. Even biblically, we are cautioned to heed warnings, so I am asking all of you to do just that. Be careful during this difficult week.

I also want to thank those of you who have written lovely, helpful and encouraging comments. I so enjoy reading them! However, there are many people who are using my website to advertise their products. My web-mail should be comments or questions from my readers, not free advertisements among people who do not want to pay for their own advertising on their own websites or any other socially acceptable means. Please do not use my website for your personal advertising. I only delete it as spam, and it becomes a waste of time and energy for you and for me.

I am completing my reading of War and Peace. When I reach the very last page, I will write a few more posts on my feelings pertaining to characters, theme and philosophies within this epic novel. It is a wonderful experience for me to read this momentous novel, which I never previously had the time to read and meditate upon. I hope some of you are reading it, too, or will enjoy reading my posts anyway.

As the winds and tides escalate, again I hope you all will be very carfeful. I know most of you in low-lying areas have already evacuated, but for the rest of you who are at home in the tri-state area, please stay off the roads, be cautious and use discretion in enduring the next few days.

And remember! I do want to hear from all of you, but in comments, not personal advertisements!

God bless all of you!

Until my next post,

Cheryl

Post # Eight re: “WAR AND PEACE”

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

I just wanted to let you know that I am slowly finding my way through Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” Each day that I can, I spend an hour or so reading it and a great deal more than that reflecting upon it. I am more than half-way finished with this epic novel, but at my slow and cautious rate of reading it, I probably won’t finish the rest of the novel (as well as the two hundred page epilogue) until the middle of November. Of course, it is not important when I finish it. But I am eager to see how everything finally comes together. There are so many characters and sub-plots that only a genius like Tolstoy could satisfyingly put it all to rest.

Today I will discuss Countess Natasha Rostov, one of my favorite characters. She is very young and inexperienced in life; yet, her parents have allowed her to become engaged to Prince Andrey, the widower, who seemed to have felt affection for his sweet little French wife only after she died in childbirth. For a while he was depressed and ready to give up on life totally after his young wife died. From his comments to his friend, Pierre, and from his thoughts and actions, he certainly seemed to have been a misogynist and had not brought any happiness to his wife, Lize, during the course of their marriage.

Then, after spending a night with the adult Count and Countess Rostov, at their lovely home, he suddenly discovered the existence of the fair and accomplished Natasha. Even though he is apparently a grown man in his late twenties or early thirties, he falls passionately and very suddenly in love with sixteen or seventeen year-old Natasha. Within a very short period of time, he asks for her hand in marriage, although he insists upon a year’s engagement period, during which he will convince his disgruntled, crabby father to bless the marriage. The senior Prince, Andrey’s father, doesn’t seem to love anyone or anything, even his own children, so it is unlikly that he will ever approve of poor Natasha, who has convinced herself that she is in love with Andrey. She doesn’t seem to take into consideration that, if Andrey’s father approves of the marriage, and it does take place, she will also be marrying in a sense Andrey’s disagreeable father, his old-maid sister, Marya,(who has made it known in countless ways that she detests Natasha), a French woman who is Marya’s companion, and, of course, Andrey’s little son, (probably the nicest of the group) to whom Natasha will be a step-mother. (She is barely an adult herself, and yet she would be a step-mom if she went through with the marriage to Prince Andrey.)

On top of everything else already mentioned, Natasha does not even get to see her betrothed during the year they have to wait until their wedding. He is traveling abroad to regain his health, which had been compromised in war. (The Russians were at war with Napoleon’s forces during the early 1800’s.) What was poor Natasha to do? She spent most of her time experiencing extreme mood changes, crying, trying not to complain and worrying about her soon-to-be in-laws.

Finally, a friend’s brother, whom we discover is a scamp and scoundrel, meets Natasha at a soiree and flirts with her outragiously. Knowing she is young, foolish, but also very attractive, he writes love letters to her and attempts to seduce her. Prince Anatole’s plans to kidnap her from her home and then seduce her(when her father, the Count, is away) almost succeed because it is so easy to convince naive Natasha that Anatole is in love with her and that elopement is the only way for them to be together.

Yes, it is all very complicated, but the owner of the home in which the Rostovs are staying temporarily in Moscow, discovers Anatole’s dishonorable plans and actually, through her footmen and porter, frightens Anatole and his conspirators away. It was Natasha’s dear cousin, Sonya, who betrayed her confidence and told the lady of the house that Natasha was planning to run away with Anatole.

When her father returns to Moscow, he is shocked to learn that his daughter has rejected Andrey and nearly involved herself with Anatole, (who , it turns out, was already married). The old Count is inconsolable in his disgrace from his daughter’s actions. He reflects sadly that, if his wife, the elderly countess, had only been there instead of recuperating from illness back at home, Natasha’s terrible predicament would never have occurred.

This may all sound like a bit of a soap opera, perhaps, but, to me, an important theme is being brought out. Youth is often fickle and untrustworthy because of raging hormones, inexperience in life and lack of wisdom. Therefore, young people like Natasha should not be allowed to marry until they are over twenty-one and mature enough to make intelligent decisions that will affect their whole lives. Natasha should have been attending a school of higher education in Moscow instead of even considering marriage to Andrey or Anatole. But alas! Back in nineteenth century Russia, women were not highly educated; most men did not have a respectful attitude towards women; and war seemed to consume everybody’s minds. Some of this, but, thank God, not all, sounds like life in the twenty-first century as well. I guess some things do improve, but others, unfortunately, remain nearly the same. Such is life in this system of things.

Next time I will write about attitudes towards the Napoleonic Wars on the part of some of my favorite characters, as well as my own ideas about war. Until then, keep reading.

Cheryl