War and Peace: Volume I, Part III

by Charlotte Reads Classics

At Home

Pierre is married to Helene Kurágin, after awkwardly becoming infatuated with her. Probably won’t end well because although she is beautiful Pierre is aware that she’s also stupid.

Márya Bolkónsky decides not to marry Anatole, and chooses to stay with her father instead.

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At War

Nikoláy Rostóv is promoted to Officer, and becomes extremely patriotic after seeing the Tsar. He prefers acts of heroism rather than getting references from/for his superiors. Prince Andréy on the other hand likes to use his status as a means to help other younger men, like Nikoláy’s friend Boris.

There is one major battle in this volume, which is a defeat for the Russians due to a lack of decent planning and generally not being as good as Napoleon. During this battle Prince Andréy is bludgeoned in the head by the French. Whilst lying on the battlefield drifting in and out of consciousness, he is taken to a French nursing station, but is left behind as a lost cause. Nikoláy is sent with a message for the general or the Tsar himself. As he rides through the increasingly apparently defeated soldiers, he sees horrific amounts of dead and wounded comrades. Eventually finding the Tsar on his own, he can’t believe how human he is. 

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Themes

  1. Destruction of idealism and hero worship- at war and in love
  2. The fragility of human life
  3. The insignificance of war in the scope of the universe
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