A brief summary of LN Tolstoy’s “Childhood”
Immediately after arriving in Moscow, Nicholas feels the changes that have taken place with him. In his soul there is a place not only for his own feelings and experiences, but also compassion for someone else’s grief, the ability to understand the actions of others. He realizes all the unhappiness of the grief of the grandmother after the death of his beloved daughter, he rejoices to tears that he finds the strength to forgive his elder brother after a foolish quarrel. Another striking change for Nikolenka is that he shames with embarrassment the excitement caused by the twenty-five-year-old maid Masha. Nikolenka is convinced of her ugliness, envies Volodin’s beauty and struggles, though unsuccessfully, to convince herself that a pleasant appearance can not make up the whole happiness of life. And Nicholas tries to find salvation in thoughts of proud solitude, which, it seems to him, he is doomed.
The grandmother reports that the boys are playing with gunpowder, and
With the new tutor-Frenchman, Nikolenko does not have a relationship, he does not sometimes understand his audacity with respect to the educator. It seems to him that the circumstances of life are directed against him. The case with the key, which he inadvertently breaks, it is unclear why trying to open his father’s portfolio, finally takes Nikolenka out of mental equilibrium. Deciding that all have deliberately turned against him, Nikolenka behaves unpredictably – strikes the tutor, in response to the brother’s sympathetic question: “What’s the matter with you?” – Shouts, how all nasty to him and disgusting. They lock him in a closet and threaten to punish him with rods. After a long confinement, during which Nicholas has a desperate sense of humiliation, he asks Father for forgiveness, and convulsions are made with him. All are afraid for his
After this incident, Nikolenka increasingly feels lonely, and his main pleasure is secluded reflections and observations. He observes the strange relationship of the maid Masha and the tailor Vasily. Nicholas does not understand how such a rude relationship can be called love. Nicholas’s circle of thoughts is wide, and he often gets confused in his discoveries: “I think that I think about what I think, etc. Mind for the mind came in…”
Nikolenka rejoices at Volodya’s entrance to the university and envies his adulthood. He notices the changes that are taking place with his brother and sisters, he watches the way an aging father appears to his children with special tenderness, experiences the death of his grandmother – and he is insulted by talk about who gets her inheritance…
Before entering the university, Nikolenka remains several months. He prepares in the mathematical faculty and studies well. Trying to get rid of many of the shortcomings of adolescence, Nikolenka considers the main one to be a tendency to inactive mentality and thinks that this inclination will bring him much harm in his life. Thus, attempts at self-education are manifested in him. To Volodya often come buddies – adjutant Dubkov and student Prince Nekhlyudov. Nikolenka talks to Dmitry Nekhlyudov more and more often, they become friends. The mood of their souls seems to be the same for Nikolenka. Constantly to improve oneself and thus to correct the whole of mankind – such a thought comes to Nicholas under the influence of his friend, and this important discovery he considers the beginning of his youth.