Should have read classics discussion

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Group Book Discussions > War and Peace: Parts 3-5

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message 1: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Topic features pages 221-469.


message 2: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Oh, how I feel sorry for Princess Marya. In the first part, I felt sorry for her being stuck in the country with a OCD father. Now upon further reading, it is apparent that he loves her greatly, and just wants her happy. Definitely not with Anatole. And Mademoiselle Bourienne, what is up with her? I'm confused at her role, is she a lady-in-waiting? I must have missed when her role was explained.


message 3: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Wow, all I can say is wow! Lots of things happen in this part.


message 4: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
I really do not like Rostov. He annoyed me in the first part, and he has not gotten any better. That and Dolohave is quite the interesting character. Can't wait to see where his part goes.


message 5: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Chandler (carolyncc) | 36 comments I don't dislike Rostov, but he's definitely immature. I think he's a good characterization of what a young man goes through - he's got a good heart, but he's highly open to suggestion and self-centered - aka, a classic teenage captain-of-the-team kind of boy. His self-centeredness doesn't seem to be as egotistical as Andrei's, though, who wants glory to be considered "great." With some rough life lessons for humility, I think Rostov will mature well but have a rough road getting there. I hope Andrei develops his emotional side. The two of them are interesting counterparts.

In one analysis I read, Dolokhov was described as "possibly sociopathic" which was interesting and alarming!


message 6: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Dolokhov has some definite scary attributes. He reminds me of the person that after a crime, neighbors say " He was a quiet man, kept to himself. Very polite". I don't know how far you are, but his character plays a bigger part in part 3-5.


message 7: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "I don't dislike Rostov, but he's definitely immature. I think he's a good characterization of what a young man goes through - he's got a good heart, but he's highly open to suggestion and self-cent..."

Yes, he is very much so immature. I don't get Andrei, can't figure him out yet.


message 8: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Chandler (carolyncc) | 36 comments Trying to avoid a spoiler, but to your question - I just finished the part where Rostov and Dolokhov play the unpleasant card game. Painful!


message 9: by Lisa, the usurper (last edited Jan 31, 2011 11:08AM) (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
That was hard to read. Just like watching a train
wreck occuring right before your eyes.


message 10: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Chandler (carolyncc) | 36 comments Lisa - I have the Pevear version - where do parts 3-5 end for you? Page counts don't work and I'm not sure if the parts do. Does your Part 3 start with a sentence like "Prince Vassily did not think out his plans?" And does part 5 end with a sentence like "Hey you! Another bottle!" he shouted. ?


message 11: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Chandler (carolyncc) | 36 comments Interesting to hear more about the Masons. I didn't realize they were so religious, and especially Christian (maybe the gnostic side). It's nice to see Pierre maturing somewhat, although he still has a long way to go.


message 12: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "Lisa - I have the Pevear version - where do parts 3-5 end for you? Page counts don't work and I'm not sure if the parts do. Does your Part 3 start with a sentence like "Prince Vassily did not think..."
Yes, mine has the same wording. That is nice to know, since the pages don't match up!


message 13: by Lisa, the usurper (last edited Feb 02, 2011 06:43AM) (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Carolyn wrote: "Interesting to hear more about the Masons. I didn't realize they were so religious, and especially Christian (maybe the gnostic side). It's nice to see Pierre maturing somewhat, although he still h..."

I have to agree with you about the Masons. I'm not really up to date on my Mason history, but I have never really connected them to Russia. Perhaps, after the revolution they went underground since the Church was outlawed in the Soviet Union. Pierre is having his midlife crisis early. Nice to see him trying to put himself back together again. Like Humpty Dumpty! LOL


message 14: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
What does everyone think about the book so far? Is it what you expected? Any favorite parts or parts that bothered you?


message 15: by Marie (new)

Marie (mariefromms) | 39 comments I am enjoying the book. The relationship between Pierre and Ellen is a strange one. Someone else seems to always talk him in to what they want him to do.
The mason part bothers me, because they use their own strength to combat the evil in the world.


message 16: by Carolyn (last edited Feb 07, 2011 10:32AM) (new)

Carolyn Chandler (carolyncc) | 36 comments I *love* the way Natasha describes people (I think it's in part 5) - how she describes Boris as "narrow, like a grandfather clock... and light grey" and how she describes Pierre as "dark blue with red edges... a rectangle." Such a strange and interesting way she describes their personalities with color and shape. I must say, despite the self-centeredness she shares with her sibling Nikolai, she's a fun spirit.

Parts bothering me - yeah, I'd really like to see Pierre grow a pair and stand his ground :) - he's so impressionable. We keep getting teased that it will happen, but his attempts (the duel, his conversion, his attempts at better treatment of his tenants) just don't have deep enough roots in his character yet.

I'm liking Andrei more now that he's softened up and rejoined the world.

Overall, this is much more character-driven than I expected. Although it's sometimes difficult to understand without a better handle on the history, you can get past that by being drawn through with the characters. And I'm not struggling with the name changes as much as I thought I would - the context around the name helps in most cases.


message 17: by Aylin (new)

Aylin I'm liking Andrei more as well but I am worried about his temperament over the long haul and how it may impact Natasha if they do end up getting married. Natasha is certainly self centered but I think she may grow out of it.

The little princess Lise didn't seem like such a bad sort and at some point Andrei must have found her appealing as well.

I'd hate for Natasha to end up crippled by someone like Prince Nilolai (who sure did a number on Marya).


message 18: by Aylin (new)

Aylin Lisa wrote: "Oh, how I feel sorry for Princess Marya. In the first part, I felt sorry for her being stuck in the country with a OCD father. Now upon further reading, it is apparent that he loves her greatly, ..."

I do feel sorry for Marya- she's been so trapped and damaged. However, sometimes I feel like grabbing her by the shoulders and yelling- "wake up girl! This is not love! Leave!"


message 19: by Lisa, the usurper (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Aylin wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Oh, how I feel sorry for Princess Marya. In the first part, I felt sorry for her being stuck in the country with a OCD father. Now upon further reading, it is apparent that he loves ..."

Must agree with you. You feel sorry, but want to slap her and say "snap out of it!"
I'm a bit behind, but I just read about the return of Rostov to the army after his leave. I found it interesting to read the comparison between the two campaigns. We discussed in part 1 how disorganized the army was, rather like a bumbling buffoon. In this part the army is much harsher. There is no food, bad weather, etc. The part that sticks with me is when it said that they lost 2 men to battle but 1/2 the battalion to disease and starvation. Then the trial of Denisov and the trip to the hospital.. all just tragic. It looks like Rostov might be growing up after all.


message 20: by Aylin (new)

Aylin I wonder if Tolstoy liked the opera/ballet - alomost sounds like "not". Maybe he preferred the peasant dances which he seems to depict fondly.

(it also sounds like opera and ballet were combined in some of the descriptions -they go to the opera, but ballet is also described)....

p 564 (P&V) " One of the girls with fat bare legs and skinny arms, seperated from the others, went into the wing, straightened her bodice, came out to the center and started leaping and rapidly slapping one foot against the other"....

[not exactly an ode to ballet]

"one man with bare legs started leaping high in the air and shifting his feet (this man was Duport, who earned 60,000 roubles for this art)."

It's funny how he also keeps mentioning all the "naked" women in the audience- especially Helene Bezukhov with her completely exposed bosom. The interplay of all the drama in the audience mixed with the drama on stage makes for some lively passages.


message 21: by Aylin (new)

Aylin Vol II, pt. V (P&V)

As much as I was leery about Andrei really changing over the long haul, almost anyone (with the exception of the potentially sociopathic Dolokhov) would be preferable to Anatole (and that whole Kuragin clan).

P. 568 (P&V)- What the result of this courtship might be, Anatole could not reflect upon or know, as he never knew what the result of any of his actions would be."

I just can't take it!


message 22: by Lisa, the usurper (last edited Feb 11, 2011 06:59AM) (new)

Lisa (lmmmml) | 1864 comments Mod
Aylin wrote: "I wonder if Tolstoy liked the opera/ballet - alomost sounds like "not". Maybe he preferred the peasant dances which he seems to depict fondly.

(it also sounds like opera and ballet were combin..."


That sounds hilarious! I'm not quite there yet, but the descriptions are not very flattering. "Slapping one foot against another" is not what I picture when I think of ballet. What do you think of Helene? I'm still surprised that she can be accepted back into society.


message 23: by Aylin (new)

Aylin The rules of the society do seem perplexing. Helene seems to flourish in a society that makes erroneous assumptions about her based solely upon her beauty and not any actual merit.

Awkward, uncertain, fat, ruddy Pierre has to struggle and bumble his way through virtually every interaction- but at least he's slowly building on a solid foundation.

Maybe Tolstoy sees the ballet and opera as a symbol of the socialites- pretentious and not much substance, whereas he sees the others as the salt of the earth which is symbolized by the peasant/folk songs and dances.

When Natasha visited her uncle she was praised for having an intuitive understanding and appreciation of the peasant music and dance despite her lack of exposure to it.


message 24: by Aylin (new)

Aylin Vol II, pt 22 (P&V):

Pierre is observing this "huge, bright comet of the year 1812" which was said to portend all kinds of "horrors and the end of the world".

From Wikipedia- The comet was popularly thought to have portended Napoleon's invasion of Russia (even being referred to as "Napoleon's Comet")and the War of 1812, among other events.

The year 1811 turned out to be particularly fine for wine production, and merchants marketed 'Comet Wine' at high prices for many years afterwards.


message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy | 124 comments WOW Aylin, you did your home work. Thanks, I love those interesting little tibits. They seem to bring the story that much more alive for me. :-)


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