War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 85-98

I have a lot of pages to cover from the past two weeks. I can’t say anything too exciting has taken place, though. We spent a lot of time with Pierre, who has come to a moral crisis. He’s feeling like is life has gone to waste and he’s a miserable excuse for a person when this stranger approaches him on the train and starts preaching to him. The guy turns out to be a Freemason, and gets Pierre converted. I don’t know much about Freemasons, except I think in the Disney treasure hunting movie with Nicholas Cage they were some kind cult that was hiding a secret treasure of gold and knowledge over the centuries, but I never actually believed that. They’d be a whole lot more interesting if they were, though. I’d be interested to know if Tolstoy was a Freemason and what his actual opinion on them was.

Anyway, Pierre is a just the simple mind they need to believe their convictions wholeheartedly–not that there’s anything inherently wrong with their convictions; it’s just a really drastic change for him. He leaves them wanting to free all his serfs and make life better for every poor person around him, but the people working for him just take his change of heart as an opportunity to take even more advantage of him than they already were, but he believes he’s made everyone’s lives better even though he’s really made their lives worse, and he’s happy.

Then he visits the Bolkonskis, and they all love him. I think his simple, optimistic outlook is refreshing for them–and the more jaded of the group really enjoy the chance to argue with him. Pierre would have been a great match for Andrew’s sister if he hadn’t already married that other chick because she’s just as simple and religiously convicted as he is.

Then there’s Andrew. He’s completely changed since his time in the war and since his wife died. The war is going on as fierce as ever, but he doesn’t want anything to do with it. He claims to be living just for himself and not to please anyone else, but he seems completely miserable. Poor Andrew.

And that was about it this week. I’ll finally make it to the 100 chapter mark next week. Yay!

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