“After the Ball”, analysis of the story by Leo Tolstoy

The story by Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy “After the Ball” is a bright protest against the unnaturalness of the inner world of a person who does not share good and evil. It is regret that it is impossible to find happiness in the world that generates this unnaturalness.

Compositional resolution is aimed at the possibility of complete self-disclosure of the hero: the work is constructed as a story in a story. In the frame the narration is conducted from Ivan Vasilievich , wise over the years and with life experience. This is a wise man, due to the fate of his fate, he thought a lot about the goal of human existence.

And in the central part of the work again his voice, but still young, rich, thirsting for new impressions, emotions. His whole being is permeated with delight of the first feeling, love for Varenka. Therefore, the usual provincial ball, from which the narration begins, is seen by the hero as something beautiful and amazing. “I was happy and blissful … I embraced the whole world at that time with my love”

And how beautiful is the circling, like a good champagne, head feeling, so charming is Varenka, graceful and airy. Her royal becoming charmingly wonderful, and the pink and white colors accompanying her image create a feeling of flight.

Also charming is Varenka’s father, the “colonel with silver epaulets.” She and her daughter are very similar, and Tolstoy, intentionally using the same details of the portrait, brings these images as close as possible, making them inseparable in the eyes of readers.

Despite the external lightness of events, some details are already preparing the reader for how future events will develop. For example, in a colonel, secretly annoying the narrator is his desire to be like Nicholas I and a suede glove stretched over his hand during a dance, because rules require it. An ardent and enthusiastic lover is not aware of the fact that there are things annoying him, but they are clearly understood by the person who rethought many times that very evening.

The second part of the story of Ivan Vasilievich sounds like a sharp antithesis. The first encounter with real, unvarnished life cruelly teaches a lesson to a young man who dreamed of happiness. The culmination of the story is the description of a cruel execution, this moment becomes a turning point in the fate of the hero. Among the black uniforms, the ripped back of the punished soldier stands out vividly; this spectacle shows the whole abomination of life, unstoppable and impossible. The feeling of bitter shame, experienced for involuntary complicity in this insane cruelty of Ivan Vasilievich, is opposed to the feelings of the colonel, for whom this execution is quite an ordinary thing.

The terrible spectacle and the understanding that harmony is unattainable in the world where one person has the right to torture the other person completely changes the hero. His whole life is a painful search for the meaning of existence and bitter disappointment, because he cannot change anything.

Ivan Vasilievich chooses the path of non-resistance to violence, his moral choice is to protect his soul from evil.

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