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War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

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Pierre Bezukhov

Pierre Bezukhov

Pierre Bezukhov

Pierre Bezukhov

Pierre, whom many critics regard as a reflection of Tolstoy himself, attracts our sympathy in his status as an outsider to the Russian upper classes. His simplicity and emotional directness contrast with the artificiality of fakes such as the Kuragins. Though the attendees at Anna Pavlovna’s party consider Pierre uncouth and awkward, this very awkwardness emphasizes his natural unpretentiousness. We see his love of fun in his expulsion from St. Petersburg for excessive partying, and his generosity in his bank-breaking largesse toward friends and acquaintances following his inheritance. Pierre, though intelligent, is not dominated by reason, as his friend Andrew is. Pierre’s emotional spurts occasionally get him into trouble, as when his sexual passions make him prey to the self-serving and beautiful Helene. His madcap escape into the city of Moscow and his subsequent obsessive belief that he is destined to be Napoleon’s assassin show his submission to irrational impulses. Yet there is also a great nobility in Pierre’s emotions, and his search for meaning in his life becomes a central theme of the novel. We feel that his final marriage to Natasha represents the culmination of a life of moral and spiritual questioning.

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Wrong answer

by sabinkamalinka, October 22, 2013

I am currently taking Russian Literature- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and I know for a fact that the chronology for War and Peace goes throughout 18th century! You should really consider changing the answer on the War and Peace quiz!

19th century begins in 1800

by tothetin, October 23, 2013

The events of War and Peace begin in 1805 and proceed to around 1812. The century that begins in the year 1800 is referred to as the 19th century.

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Correction to plot summary, Book 12

by keepbabbling, April 27, 2014

"Natasha takes Mary into the room where Andrew is lying, and Mary is shocked to see her brother looking soft and gentle. Mary knows this appearance to be a sign of his approaching death."
Natasha tells Mary there has been a change recently in Andrew, and while Mary expects that means he has become soft and gentle because he is dying, she is shocked to find it is the opposite -- he has become hard and indifferent. His mind has became fixed on the next life and so he no longer has any emotions for anything in the current life.

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