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The strange thing that happened to Tolstoy was that he was overcome with perplexity and an arrest of life. He said it was if he didn’t know how to live or what to do. Eventually they went away but then those moments came back oftener and oftener. The arrests of life always appeared in the question: Why? Well, and Then.
I think that the perplexity Tolstoy is evoking in the phrase, “Why? Well, and Then?” deals with his thoughts about life and death. The why part deals why he should do anything in life. He talks about his son’s education and why he should be involved with it. If he can’t think of why he should be involved with it he cannot be a part of it. I think the well has to do with when he finally figures out why he is doing something he needs to find the best way to do it. The then is when Tolstoy does something; he needs to know what is going to happen when he is done. Tolstoy says without answering these questions he could not live.
Tolstoy feels like someone has played a mean trick on him by creating him. He believed that someone is having fun looking down upon Tolstoy and his life. Tolstoy felt this way because he couldn’t think of one single act in his whole life that meant anything to him or anybody. He thought that all of his accomplishments would be forgotten. He thought his life was a big deception. Tolstoy also believed that he had learned, developed and fully grown in his body and mind. He knew that the, potentially, best part of his live was in front of him and he thought there was nothing in life for him now and there never would be.
Tolstoy believes that the “cruel truth” of life is that most people see the bad in things and forget about the good. In the Eastern story about the traveler, the man is absolutely going to die. If he should fall down the well a dragon will eat him. If he climbs out of the well the infuriated beast will kill him. He is hanging by a branch that two mice are nibbling away at. He knows he is going to die. Then he sees some drops of honey on the leaves of a bush. He licks the honey off the branch and it gives him no pleasure.

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