by Andrea Elizabeth
Dickens and Tolstoy differ in their portrayal of women who forsake the world for a life of prayer. In War and Peace Natasha is very blessed to stay with her pious aunt who attends daily services. Dickens describes Esther’s aunt in Bleak House as pretty bitter and angry, and Arthur’s mother who constantly reads prayers holed up in her room in Little Dorrit as downright cruel.<
These negative characters are seen as greatly relishing the passages about God’s judgement and wrath. It fuels their indignation towards those who have personally wronged them. If there are such negative examples in real life, I believe it is because such people, in addition to not loving their enemies, misdirect those passages externally instead of internally. We are to take no pity on our own sins and to dash any part of ourselves that is unfaithful to God against the stones.