War And Peace Look At
In the first book of War and Peace, we are introduced to the primary families at Anna Pavalona's soirée in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1805. Anna Pavlovna converses with Prince Vassily Kuragin, the first guest to arrive at her soirée about the threat Napoleon presents to Russia calling Napoleon the Antichrist, declares that Russia must save Europe. Easily changing the subject, she tells Prince Vassily how charming his three children are, and that she knows a wealthy heiress to match with his profligate son, Anatole.
The lady is Princess Marya Bolkonsky, who lives in the country and is the lonely daughter of Prince Bolkonski, a wealthy and retired military commander.Pierre Bezukhov who also arrives at the social gathering is the illegitimate son of Count Bezuhov, an elderly man who is dying after a series of strokes. Pierre is about to become embroiled in a struggle for his inheritance. Educated abroad at his father's expense following his mother's death, Pierre is essentially kindhearted, but socially awkward, and owing in part to his open, benevolent nature, finds it difficult to integrate into Petersburg society. It is known to everyone at the soirée that Pierre is his father's favorite of all the old count's illegitimate children.Also attending the soireé is Pierre's friend, the intelligent and sardonic Prince Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky, husband of Liza, the charming society favorite.
Finding Petersburg society unctuous and disillusioned with married life after discovering his wife is empty and superficial; Prince Andrei makes the fateful choice to be an aide-de-camp to Prince Mikhail Ilarionovich Kutuzov in the coming war against Napoleon.The plot moves to Moscow, Russia where the Rostov family is introduced at a name-day party for Countess Natalya Rostova and Natalia Ilyinichna . Natalia Ilyinichna Rostova who is thirteen-years old claims to be in love with Boris Drubetskoy, a disciplined young man who is about to join the army as an officer. Nikolai Ilyich, a twenty-year old, is in love with Sofia Alexandrovn or Sonya his fifteen-year-old cousin, an orphan who has been brought up by the Rostovs. Nikolai swears he loves only Sonya, but she gets really jealous when Nikolai flirts with Julie Karagin.
Natasha and Boris are also in love, and they promise to marry each other when Natasha is older. The eldest child of the Rostov family, Vera Ilyinichna, is cold and somewhat haughty but has a good prospective marriage in a Russian-German officer, Adolf Karlovich Berg. Pyotr Ilyich is nine and the youngest of the Rostov family; like his brother, he is impetuous and eager to join the army when of age. The heads of the family, Count Ilya Rostov and Countess Natalya Rostova, are an affectionate couple but forever worried about their disordered finances.The men talk about war and the emperor's proclamation that he will defend Russia and her allies against Napoleon. Excited by the discussion, Nikolay cries out that the Russians"must die or conquer" and everyone applauds his youthful patriotism.
From the children's end of the table, Natasha's voice rings out as she impudently asks what dessert shall be. Everyone pretends to be horrified at her interruption, although her pertness amuses the guests. After dinner the men play cards, then there is dancing.
Feeling very grown up, Natasha asks Pierre to dance, and Count Rostov and Marya Dmitryevna perform a complex écossaise.At Bald Hills, Prince Nicholas Bolkonski's estate outside Moscow, the prince lives in seclusion with his daughter, Mary, and her companion, Mademoiselle Bourienne. After a difficult geometry lesson, Mary reads a letter from her friend Julie Karagina, who misses Mary and is sad that Nicholas Rostov has left to join the war. Julie also informs Mary of Pierre's inheritance. Mary writes back, counseling Julie to remember Christian patience and forgiveness.Mary's brother, Andrew Bolkonski, arrives at Bald Hills with his wife, Lise. Andrew tells Mary that he will be leaving for the war soon.
Over dinner, the family and a guest, Michael Ivanovich, discuss the war. The old Prince Bolkonski is contemptuous of Napoleon, while Andrew asserts the French emperor's grandeur. Mary is astonished at her brother's failure to revere their father, and finds him much changed. Andrew admits to his father and his sister that he is unhappy in his marriage to Liza. Prince Nicholas sends his son off to war with a letter to General Kutuzov requesting favors for Andrew.
Andrew bids farewell to his family and leaves.War and Peace: Book One SequelIt's December 1805 in Austria a war between the Russian and French armies is erupting. The Russian troops retreat over a river, pursued by the enemy. The military scene is chaotic. One of the Russian officers is nearly crushed on a bridge as the troops march over it. The Russian hussars, including Prince Nicholas, achieve in burning the bridge under enemy fire, although three Russians were killed.
The commanding officers somewhat selfishly weigh the lost lives against praise for the platoon.Meanwhile Prince Anderi receives a letter from Lise asking him when he's returning home. Anderi writes back stating that he is not coming home until the Russians defeated the French. He disclosed his unhappiness with their marriage in the letter.Despite rumors of Napoleon's retreat, the French troops are gaining ground against the Russian forces.
Andrei Bolkonsky is sent to the Austrian government with news of a recent Russian victory. Along the way he gives money to wounded soldiers and dreams of the battle. Disappointed that the Austrian Minister of War seems more affected by the death of Schmidt, an Austrian general, than by the Russian victory, Andrew then chats with his friend Bilibin, a highly regarded diplomat. Andrew shares his astonishment that the blundering Austrians are not appreciating Kutuzov's victories.
Andrew reflects that the recent victory is not significant compared to the loss of Vienna to the French. Bilibin speculates darkly about the fact that Austria is considering a separate peace with the French, though Andrew refuses to believe this rumor. Andrew and Bilibin's officer friends chat about women and Andrew's upcoming meeting with the Austrian emperor. The officers advise Andrew to praise the emperor's supply of provisions for the Russian army, even if he must lie in order to do so.During the meeting, the emperor, pleased with Andrew's news, confers state honors upon him.
Returning from official visits, Andrew is surprised to find that Napoleon is again pursuing the Russian troops. Bilibin advises Andrew to stay with him rather than heroically join his own army on the move. Andrew, however, staunchly remains faithful to his army. But when he watches the Russian soldiers on the road, rudely refusing right of way to a helpless doctor's wife, he muses that the army is a chaotic mob. Meeting with Kutuzov, Andrew expresses his wish to join the imperiled battalion commanded by Prince Bagration.
Kutuzov warns that the battalion is doomed, but Andrew says that is exactly why his presence is needed there. Meanwhile, Kutuzov tricks the French commander Murat into believing a ploy, ultimately weakening the French and earning Murat a chastising letter from Napoleon.A battle looms. Andrew witnesses Dolokhov chatting and laughing with the enemy across the battle lines. Drinking vodka, the troops muse upon life and death. The battle begins.
Andrew rides beside Prince Bagration, noting that Bagration reacts to news of events on the field as though he had planned for them to happen, and that his manner improves the morale of all who speak to him. The two men encounter many wounded soldiers at a site where a Russian detachment has been overwhelmed. The commanding officer begs Bagration to turn back, but Bagration refuses.Meanwhile, in the hussar lines, Nicholas Rostov is awaiting his first battle impatiently. Suddenly he is unsure who the enemy is, and whether he is wounded, as he feels blood and is pinned down by his fallen horse.
Nicholas sees the enemy approach and cannot believe that they would want to kill him, a person whom everyone likes. He awaits aid and dreams of home.Dolokhov is wounded while capturing an enemy officer, and wishes to be remembered for his heroism. Andrew wanders among the wounded soldiers.
One soldier asks for water and wonders whether he is to die like a dog. Andrew saves a captain named Tushin from wrongful accusations of incompetence Bagration has levied, but he is soured by the experience.
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