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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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He is so preoccupied with the thought of death that he can’t see the good in anything else. The “cruel truth” of life is death. Everyone on earth has at least one common thing that happens to him or her and that is, in the end, they die.
     The two drops of honey in Tolstoy’s life are the love of family and authorship. The love of family is no longer sweet to him because he doesn’t know why they should live. Either they live in a lie or they live knowing the “cruel truth” of life. Tolstoy doesn’t know why he loves his family or why he should guard or raise them. He knows his family lives all end in death and this is why they are not sweet to him anymore. Authorship is also not sweet to Tolstoy anymore. All reflections of life in the form of art used to give him pleasure but when he began to look for the meaning of life and when he contemplated the necessity of his own existence, art became useless and even painful. He could no longer comfort himself through art and began to think it was stupid and desperate.
     Tolstoy says that he can no longer keep himself from seeing the truth and the truth is death. I think he means that during his whole life he has been trying to ignore the fact that one day he is going to die. He has been living a good life. He has a good family and he likes his kids. He is very successful and has been enjoying life. At this point in his life, his “honey drops” aren’t sweet to him anymore. These two things have kept him from thinking about death and the “truth”. Now that these aren’t sweet to him anymore, he feels as if his life isn’t important anymore. He thinks that life is pointless and no matter what a person does or accomplishes, everyone has the same ending and that is that they die. I don’t think that he is making the mistake of supposing that to be valuable, something must live forever, I think he is just upset that one person can accomplish one thing and another person can accomplish a hundred things and in the end they get the same “reward”, which is death. I think that Tolstoy is having a midlife crisis because he thinks that the next part of his life is all down hill. Tolstoy thinks that the best part of his life is behind him and he didn’t accomplish as much as he thought he should of.
     When I read an essay like My Confessions I look for new insights as well as beautiful expression of what I already know. I think that I am an open person so whenever I read something, I’ll try to look for new insights. On the other hand, I have my own opinions about some things that I won’t change. As an example, I can see how Tolstoy could of thought that someone was playing a mean trick on him by creating him. Maybe some higher being is playing a trick on all of us by creating all of us. I don’t agree when Tolstoy says that the cruel truth of life is death. I think death is just a part of life like eating and sleeping. It happens to everyone, so how can it be cruel. If some people believe that the cruel truth of life is death, I would ask them why isn’t birth the cruel truth of life because without being born, how could you die. I think that the way a person answers a question like this directly correlates to his or her own life. I think there is a lot to be learned from a question like this and the answer. If someone were a very negative person they would answer the question one way. If the person were a very positive person, they would answer the question another way. I think a person can learn weather they are searching for the truth of just for confirmation from this question. I think with the ideas a person already has, they can either expand there knowledge from this reading or they can use is to compare there truth to the stories truth.
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