Reading LN Tolstoy’s story “After the ball,” we are witnessing how events of just one morning can completely change the fate of a person.
The hero, on whose behalf the story is conducted, is “all respected Ivan Vasilyevich,” in whose fate the event played a decisive role. In his youth he was “a very cheerful and lively fellow, and even a rich one,” a student of a provincial university, dreaming of enlisting in the military. Each day he lived was like a holiday: study did not take much time, and the young man happily indulged in fun and entertainment. The main pleasure of his life was called parties and balls. One of these balls left a deep mark on his heart.
By that evening, the young man was preparing especially carefully, because it was supposed to be attended by a beloved girl – Varenka, “tall, slender, graceful and majestic” with a tender and always cheerful smile. The whole evening Ivan Vasilyevich danced with Varenka and “without wine was drunk with love.” Waltzes and mazurkas were replaced by quadrilles and polka, champagne flowed with a river, supportive smiles and views of Varenka, her gentle laughter circling her head. Ivan Vasilievich was full of happiness. The dance of Varenka with his father, a handsome, stately old man in the rank of colonel, made a particularly vivid impression on him. After dinner, Ivan Vasilievich again danced with Varenka, and “his happiness grew and grew.”
But in the morning there were events that abruptly changed his mood, and his whole life. Arriving home after the ball, the young man realized that his feelings overwhelming him would not let him fall asleep, and went out for a walk, unconsciously heading to where his beloved lived. But here the happy dreams of Ivan Vasilyevich dispelled the scene of the terrible punishment of the runaway Tartar, conducted through the formation of soldiers armed with sticks. The commander of this action was Varenka’s...
For all his life Ivan Vasilyevich remembered this terrible picture. With other eyes he looked at the surrounding people – and on himself, too. Unable to change or stop the evil, the young man refused to participate in it.