Friday, February 28, 2014
Bednaya Sonya (Poor Sonya)
Near the beginning of our discussion of War and Peace, Kelly said in class that she feels bad for Sonya. At first, I was not in a position to relate, because we had hardly seen anything from this character. During Book Eleven, however, my sympathetic feelings for Sonya really came alive. When the Rostovs are packing to leave Moscow, the Rostovs treat Sonya almost as their servant girl, asking her to do, for lack of a better word, the bitch-work. Meanwhile, Petya and Natasha run merrily through the walls, clearly not recognizing the weight of what is happening around them. This scene solidified my notions that Tolstoy intends for our sympathy of Sonya. Right before describing Sonya's hardworking attitude compared to Natasha's and Petya's lack thereof, Tolstoy gives us minimal, but present, access to Sonya's feelings about Nicholas's potential engagement with Princess Mary. There is no connection between Sonya's feelings about Nicholas and her doing all of the packing other than the fact that she is simply a pitiable character. This proximity of what I've come to think of as "Bednaya Sonya" moments solidifies any strong assumption to identify Tolstoy's intention to make us feel bad for Sonya. If this is the case, I am somewhat upset with Tolstoy for granting us so little access to Sonya's feelings, while Natasha's frivolous feelings are all over the damn place. Where are we in terms of Sonya and Natasha? I have felt increasingly sympathetic toward Sonya, but my feelings toward Natasha have wavered between sympathy, pity, annoyance, and sometimes a simple lack of respect. At this point, Tolstoy will have to do a lot for me to gain confidence in Natasha as well as Tolstoy's portrayal of female characters. I'm right on the edge, but haven't jumped off yet. I'm pretty damn close, though.