Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Collage 258

Here we are in Volume II, Part Two, Chapter XXI.

Nicolai Rostov is watching the Russian and French sovereigns together as Napoleon decorates a Russian soldier. These last few chapters are about Rostov's political awakening, a painful period for him.

"Rostov stood at the corner for a long time, looking at the feasting men from a distance. Painful work was going on in his mind, which he could not bring to an end. Terrible doubts arose in his soul. Now he remembered Denisov with his changed expression, his submission, and the whole hospital with those torn-off arms and legs, that filth and disease. He imagined so vividly now that hospital stench of dead flesh that he looked around to see where the stench was coming from. Then he remembered the self-satisfied Bonaparte with his white little hand, who was now an emperor, whom the emperor Alexander liked and respected. Why, then, those torn-off arms and legs, those dead people? Then he remembered the rewarded Lazarev and Denisov punished and unforgiven. He caught himself in such strange thoughts that it made him frightened."

I love this moment of questioning, soul searching. He is seeing things clearly -- and it is bitter. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 523-524 of original text
collage, ink
made 10/19/10

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