War and Peace Saturday: Chapters 120-126

We depart momentarily from the politics and see the Rostovs preparing for a big ball that the Emperor will be at. It is Natasha’s first ball, and after a shaky start she makes a wonderful impression on everyone, especially Andrew, who almost convinces himself to marry her and loves that she’s unique, simple, and genuinely happy and enthusiastic and not fake like everyone else seems to be. I wonder if he does end up marrying her if he will still adore her or if he will see her as too simple and stupid–not “deep” enough to be worth his time and start to hate her as he did his first wife?

After the ball it’s back to business, but Andrew sees that he doesn’t really fit in with the people manipulating the national policies and decides that real business is useless and it should be his job to find joy for himself. He decides to take his son’s education back under his control. Hopefully he will not have the iron fist about it his father has.

Then we start to see Berg trying to make his way up the social ladder with his wife Vera Rostov. These two don’t seem to get along at all and throw a boring party (“exactly the same as everyone else”). Pierre attends and is his usual dim but endearing self.

I’m kind of missing the war. Now that I got to see some action all this social time/politics is not as entertaining as it had started to be. I think part of the reason is that I feel like Tolstoy is basically telling us through his narration and the key characters’ attitudes that all the details behind who in society is doing what and what reforms are going on and how they come into affect aren’t important, so I find myself skimming through paragraphs to get to the parts that actually are important.

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