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War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

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Andrew Bolkonski

Andrew Bolkonski

Andrew Bolkonski

Andrew Bolkonski

Andrew, though as noble a soul as Pierre, differs from his friend in important ways that make him a very distinct character, and that illustrate Tolstoy’s philosophy of life. Andrew has a highly intelligent and analytical mind, as we see in the profitable way he runs his estate. He is devoted to his country, returning to active duty even after nearly being killed at Austerlitz, and spending months helping Speranski write a new civil code for Russia. Andrew, though often detached, is emotionally honest and willing to examine mysteries in himself, as we see in his frank admission early in the novel that he is dissatisfied with marriage to his virtuous and lovely wife, Lise. But Andrew’s flaw is a spiritual one: his detachment is an intellectual advantage, but an emotional handicap. Andrew is free from Pierre’s disabling search for the meaning of life, but he is also unable to forge deep and lasting connections with others, and unwilling to forgive their misdeeds. When Andrew is first introduced, Pierre touches his arm; Andrew instinctively flinches, disliking the contact. This physical reaction reflects Andrew’s inability to be touched by others throughout his life. Ultimately, he is a lonely individual whom even the love of Natasha cannot save.

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