TPAOL Question #23 ~ And in the end...

by James Meek

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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TPAOL Question #23 ~ And in the end...

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:20 am

The ending…Why do you think Balashov kill Matula? Were you surprised?
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Unread postby gemini » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:36 am

Why do you think Balashov killed Matula? Were you surprised?

I think the answer lies in two conversations he had earlier with Mutz and Samarin. After re-reading them I was not surprised.


In the conversation between Mutz and Balashov. Mutz asked him to tell Anna to leave and he said no he loves her. Mutz said she will die if Matula fights and Balashov asks Mutz to protect her. I think it was this conversation that convinced Balashav that Matula must die because he would make a stand against the Reds and Anna and the town would be in the middle of the battle.

He had also come to realize in his conversation with Samarin that he still loved Anna. When Samarin asks Baloshov to castrate him he refuses saying that is not where love comes from. His love came from the heart and had nothing to do with sex, romance, or his religious beliefs. It was merely putting the needs of others literally above his own life.
Last edited by gemini on Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:08 pm

I think Balashov beleived God wanted his destiny to be as such. He realized he must martyr himself for the people, then he would save everyone from worse disasters, thereby allowing himself to become a true angel. :-/ Much like the story of Pegasus.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:46 pm

gemini wrote: Why do you think Balashov killed Matula? Were you surprised?

I think the answer lies in two conversations he had earlier with Mutz and Samarin. After re-reading them I was not surprised.


In the converstion between Mutz and Balashav. Mutz asked him to tell Anna to leave and he said no he loves her. Mutz said she will die if Matula fights and Balashov asks Mutz to protect her. I think it was this conversation that convinced Balashav that Matula must die because he would make a stand against the Reds and Anna and the town would be in the middle of the battle.

He had also come to realize in his conversation with Samarin that he still loved Anna. When Samarin asks Baloshov to castrate him he refuses saying that is not where love comes from. His love came from the heart and had nothing to do with sex, romance, or his religious beliefs. It was merely putting the needs of others literally above his own life.


I agree, Gemini. I think the visit from Samarin was the turning point for him. I think many things became clear for him there. I think he realized what was really important.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:43 pm

I have to agree that his conversation with Samarin was important. If he had already been riding the horse before that conversation, I wonder if he had been comtemplating it and the conversation with Samarin decided it for him? I also think he saw it as a way into heaven, or at least as a way to end his earthly suffering and the suffering of the others.
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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:02 pm

I believe Balashov killed Matula to save Anna, Alyosha and the village. I agree his conversation with Samarin was important, I think that conversation and the crisis brought him back to the man he was before castration.
No, I wasn't surprised, probably due to the conversations with Samarin and Anna.
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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:08 pm

Linda Lee wrote:I believe Balashov killed Matula to save Anna, Alyosha and the village. I agree his conversation with Samarin was important, I think that conversation and the crisis brought him back to the man he was before castration.
No, I wasn't surprised, probably due to the conversations with Samarin and Anna.


Oh, yeah. That thought passed my mind when I read the book. Balashov's love, and where it comes from. In the end he did the right thing. Thanks for posting that Linda Lee. :cool:
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Unread postby Endora » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:39 pm

No, I wasn't surprised. But I was a little disappointed in Meek. He'd been so tough with his characters up until almost the end, then he let B. redeem himself. And Samarin too, with his sudden urge to be castrated. That was disappointing. I was sorry these two characters didn't stay true to their convictions.

But then perhaps that's what the whole thing is about, disappointment. And the fact that sometimes it's harder to change your mind than to keep to the road you planned out for yourself.

A bit rambling, I'm afraid. I hope you see what I'm getting at.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:11 pm

Endora wrote:No, I wasn't surprised. But I was a little disappointed in Meek. He'd been so tough with his characters up until almost the end, then he let B. redeem himself. And Samarin too, with his sudden urge to be castrated. That was disappointing. I was sorry these two characters didn't stay true to their convictions.

But then perhaps that's what the whole thing is about, disappointment. And the fact that sometimes it's harder to change your mind than to keep to the road you planned out for yourself.

A bit rambling, I'm afraid. I hope you see what I'm getting at.


I do see what you are getting at, Endora. It was all too neat and tidy--a little like A Long Way Down, but not quite so positive for everyone. It was the direction he chose for their characters and conveyed the message he wanted to give. And I have to say that I preferred the direction they took.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:09 pm

I seem to find that quite often, the ending is either rushed or neatly tied off and not quite up to expectation.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:03 pm

I admit I never saw the killing coming! I had no idea what he was up to when the group came walking down the street with the horse. I did wonder why he had previously been riding the horse though. I think Samarin had a weak moment, or a human moment if you will, but in the end he disappeared to continue down his chosen path of destruction (we assume).
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:55 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I admit I never saw the killing coming! I had no idea what he was up to when the group came walking down the street with the horse. I did wonder why he had previously been riding the horse though. I think Samarin had a weak moment, or a human moment if you will, but in the end he disappeared to continue down his chosen path of destruction (we assume).


I had NO CLUE either. Just in hindsight. I thought he was going to GIVE the horse away to Matula, who would use it to fend off the Reds! :lol:
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Unread postby Lady Jill » Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:42 am

I felt that the black horse, in the getting away from the train incident, had a very significate roll in the book. So I was not surprised that it ended up in the capable hands of Balahov, the lover of horses! I wasn't that surprised either, when I read about the scene where it looked like he was going to give the horse to Matula and instead killed him. I cheer'd him on, actually.

Linda Lee, I agree with you and may also add that his character arc swung into dedemption for what he did to his family. And for himself. . . what a way to go, out like a rocket saving everyone in the town ! What else could he have done??

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:50 am

I must have missed something I didn't connect the horse that Balashov had with the train accident, I assumed it was the one he rode away from the war on, and had kept hidden. :perplexed:

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Unread postby suec » Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:40 am

GG, I also am a little puzled about the black horse. Matula doesn't recognise it all and wonders where he has stolen it from. I would expect him to know the horse.

I wasn't surprised by the ending. I think it is there where he talks to the horse about the sword he has seen. I think that part of him gives up, when he knows he can't live up to his ideals. He has recognised that he isn't worthy enough to be an angel after his vision. It is there in the conversation with Samarin. I think, actually, he becomes more like what he aspires to be, in his reaction to Samarin, kissing him, and in deciding to sacrifice himself for others, for his family. Anna knows what he is going to do, when she takes the photograph and it is there when he says "we did love each other". His final act is inevitable, and foreshadowed at various points in the novel - not that I can claim to have spotted them on my first reading. But during the second reading, I did notice times, e.g. Alyosha has a dream about (his father?) cutting someone in half.
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