Friday, April 28, 2006


Oh my goodness! Prince Andrei! What?!?! So amazing...pages amazing...

Monday, April 24, 2006

"The man who will not give his name"

Pierre felt himself to be an insignificant chip fallen between the wheels of a machine whose mechanism he did not understand but which worked smoothly. - p. 1149

So, the question is, will it be Sonya and Nikolai or Natasha and Andrei?

I personally think - I think? - it will be Natasha and Andrei. Not that my personal parallels and cosmic signs I've been taking from this book have anything to do with that, who, me? No! ; )

But if that's true, I do hope Mr. T. has something waiting in the wings for Sonya. I feel bad for her.

I named one of the girls in my advanced conversation/writing class "Natasha" last week. It wasn't particularly a War and Peace thing, but I do love that name. In German class in high school, my name was Natascha, a slightly different spelling. Well, last week the kids in this class, whom I adore and will miss terribly when I depart and who have great conversation skills and write me fantastic compositions every time, asked me for new English names. They were bored, after years at Ding Ding Dang, with their "Tony" and "Tom" and "Carol" and whatnot. Like, every single class I teach has a "Sally" and a "Jenny" and a few "Joey"s and we foreigner teachers are ALWAYS trying to get them to let us pick more original English names when we start up new classes, but it's always this whole long drama and "Oh, they're too hard, the kids can't say them," whatever.

But my advanced kids can say a lot of things! And I teach them many things! And they love me! And I love them! So I was only to happy to give them new names: Torrance, Everett, Wayne, Donovan, Daphne, Angelina, Gisele, Meredith, and Natasha. I looked at them, pondered their personalities, and made my choices. Overall, they're pleased.

But I digress. Oh, Natasha. Everyone in this book seems so special and comfortable to me right now.

When Pierre was on trial, the little riff about trials and interrogations being less concerned with seeking the truth than eking out a desired result was good food for thought.

There are six days left in April. Just thought I'd mention that.

(It may seem this post was not about The Book, really. And yet it was, it was...)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"They saw everything upside down..."

Poor Ellen! Poor Moscow! And the poor Emperor!

I've slowly but surely been resuming my reading. Dipped a toe in here, done a wrist-deep splash there. This book has truly been my Korea companion. I've gone into hiding, I've gone into a haze of foreigners and activities and late nights, I've gone into a full plate of artsy activities, I've gone into give-work-your-all mode. And with each plunge headlong the book has been with me, mirroring my steady progress. The war keeps marching along, and the peace is always there waiting in the wings.

Moscow's inhabitants have fled to distant provinces and Tolstoy comments that people looking back at that historical period think everyone was engaged in heroic acts. People looking back do not see the personal human interest stories of the moment.

And yet actually those personal interests of the moment are always so much more significant than the general issues that because of them the latter are never felt -- not even noticed, in fact. The majority of the people paid no attention to the general course of events but were influenced only by their immediate personal interests. And it was just these people whose activities were of the greatest service at the time. Those who endeavored to understand the general course of events and hoped by self-sacrifice and heroism to take part in it were the most useless members of society...The law forbidding us to taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge is particularly manifested in historical events. Only unconscious action bears fruit... - pp. 1126-1127

This book is full of riches. Hoping to take part? I've done that. "Unconscious action bears fruit." Indeed.

Well, Happy Easter! Go in peace.