Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tolstoy's "Family Happiness" *SPOILERS*

This blog contains spoilers so if you plan on reading this book turn back now.

My favorite part of all tolstoys works is that they can be interpreted in many different ways. Many see his works as terribly depressing, and others see them as uplifting. I am in the latter group,  and family happiness is on the examples that put me in that group.

Summery: This short story pries into the life of  Mashechka, a young woman in 1800's Russia. She believes that marriage is whimsical, romantic and full of love. She soon marries one of her fathers friends, Sergey, who had known her  since she was young.  Sergei was weary of the marriage because he believed that here youth would cause here to want to find adventure and excitement when he only wanted a happy and simple(aristocratic) lifestyle and especially detested the upperclass society of dances and city life. They lived on his estate in the country and had an easy and happy life. However, Mashechka wanted to go to St. petersburg and see the city. Wanting for her to learn of the horrbilness of the city life on her own, Sergey agreed and and they kept going back. However, she never does and keeps wanting to go back. Eventually they confront each other, but both are too full of pride to talk  it out. They eventually go back to his estate in the country and have a family. At one point Mashechka  full of despair, asks her husband why he does not have the same love and passion that he had for her when they first married. He explains that nothing has changed with his love for her, It is merely that they are not young anymore. While early in their marriage he loved her passionately, and their marriage was romantic, he  know loved her in a different way. She finally understood that she too did not want what they had in the past, but instead loved him as the father of her children and as an old friend. This gave her happiness that she had not had in a long time, and it stayed with her forever.

Many will believe that this is a depressing story about marriage that exemplifies how marriages can lose their passion and fall to pieces. However, I see this as a story that truly shows what it is like to grow old with one another, from the point of a passion filled new marriage to the days of a family where you see your spouse as an old friend who gives you happiness. "Family Happiness" is one of my all-time favorite's of Tolstoy's works.

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