Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vol I, Part Two, Ch XIX: Rostov in Battle

Pictured left: British actor Jeremy Brett, who played Nikolai Rostov in the 1956 movie.

Young Count Nikolair Rostov falls in battle. p. 189: "He remembered his mother's love for him, his family's, his friends', and the enemy's intention to kill him seemed impossible."

What is so interesting to me here is that Tolstoy evokes in the reader-- or, at least in this reader-- such a complex reaction: both pity and disdain (disdain for Rostov's narcissism and naivete, shown earlier in the novel as well). And at the same time, at the mention of a mother's love, Tolstoy elevates this one young man's reflections to a demonstration of the universal: how horrible is war!

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