War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 113-119

It turns out that Pierre is not the only hypocrite in his St. Petersburg Freemason chapter. He’s made the leader of it and is frustrated with the lack of care everyone else seems to have for improving themselves and helping others. He goes on a trip and brings back ideas for reform, but no one likes them. Then he is reluctantly reunited with his wife and makes it in name only. He sees her as stupid even though everyone else in the city thinks she is witty and smart and charming and all the people who visit want to impress her with their intelligence.

Boris has also become a Freemason because he sees it as a way to make connections with the powerful people involved. Pierre hates him. Then Boris starts hanging out with the Rostovs a lot because upon meeting Natasha again he is infatuated with her even though he knows it would be a terrible match because they are out of money and he wants to move up and not down.

Two things I’m noticing–one is that the Boris seems to have learned a lot from his mother. I didn’t see them as that similar before, but now it is obvious. He’s taking advantage of every connection he can make and using anyone he can to get higher in life. He has his weaknesses, but he knows how to work the system.

The other thing is that there seems to be a lot of attempts at reform right now–first Andrew then Pierre–yet both their attempts were foiled. I’m guessing that this is kind of what the atmosphere in Russia is at this time–a lot of things are going wrong and need fixed, but the people at the top and the people who want to get to the top (like Boris) want things to stay the same so they can keep working the system.

We’ll just have to see where this gets them in the end. I have a suspicion more tension is to come and bad things will probably happen because of it or it will be a pretty boring last 2/3 of the book.

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