War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy Character Analysis Natasha Rostov

Natasha is Tolstoy's ideal woman. Attractive and bewitching as a child, her expressiveness and spontaneity are the natural outpourings of a creature imbued with life forces. She is compassionate, intense, with a soul responsive to music and dance, Tolstoyan symbols of her emotional spontaneity, and every moment of her being manifests the qualities of"instinctive life." Tolstoy equates her with springtime, Andrey's"renascence," Nikolay's affirmation of the"intensity of life" after his humiliation from Dolohov, and she is, as well, the agency of love for her bereaved mother and the reconciler of family quarrels.

Vehemently opposed to women being sexual objects, Tolstoy sees the feminine destiny entirely constrained within the limits of childrearing and familial harmony. Sexuality for Tolstoy must be directed toward its natural end of reproduction, else it is decadent and destructive. His own passionate nature attesting to sensual temptations, Tolstoy believed the only"safe" women were those who sublimated their seductiveness into the natural cares of womanhood. Thus Natasha is her author's example of a successful woman: As she grows stout with child-bearing, she directs her enthusiasm and affectionateness toward her household responsibilities. Her femininity is no longer an empty gesture as in the days of Anatole, but now is participant in the biological continuity of life.

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