War and Peace: Volume I, Part II

by Charlotte Reads Classics

Plot

The first war bit. The battles are proving a lot more difficult for me to get the facts straight as I am reading, but I’ll try:

  1. October 1805
  2. Russian army lead by General Kutuzov
  3. Stationed near Braunau, Austria

Prince Andréy Bolkónsky experiences a mixture of diplomatic missions and battles, mixing with various ranks of the Russian army. 

Nicholáy Rostóv is fighting with the Hussars (cavalry) but becomes confused during his first battle and loses touch with the rest of his unit.

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Themes

Tolstoy seems to set up part ii as the destruction of idealism. The Russian army is often seen to be at war with itself, as generals can’t agree with each other, there is a lack of clear communication, the soldiers steal from one another… All of which serve to contradict the idea of a singular, united army the people at home believe are fighting Napoleon. Both Andréy and Nicholáy are disillusioned by their wartime experiences; there is less heroism than they had thought.

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