War and Peace Notes – Tolstoy on Marriage and Filial Piety

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Written for Slavic 90A: Introduction to Russian Civilization – Spring 2013. Read more of my previous notes on “War and Peace” here.

In a similar manner to the Rostovs, the Bolkonskys also respect their parents. However, Andrei is more sensitive to his father’s advice against remarrying. In last week’s reading, Prince Andrei promises his skeptical father to delay the wedding a year, despite how it torments his fiancée Natasha so much. Nikolai Rostov demonstrates his slight unhappiness that his sister Natasha should be married off, yet also doubts alongside his mother Prince Andrei’s intent to marry Natasha (525). As Rostov clearly points out, it should be quite easy for Andrei to ignore the elder Bolkonsky’s wishes to immediately elope to Natasha instead of waiting. Nevertheless, the characters all understand that they have a certain duty to be “obedient fils” et filles, sons and daughters (523).

Works Cited: Tolstoy, Leo, Louise Maude, Aylmer Maude, and Amy Mandelker. War and Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

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