Sunday, September 03, 2006

A little discussion

I say this is a "little" discussion, because I'm not looking at larger themes or underlying philosophies. I'm just going to write about one of the characters I enjoy--Pierre. I liked him at the very beginning, and although he sometimes acts foolishly, he remains likable.

I'm still in the middle of the Battle of Borodino (trying to remember if, in history, Napolean ever did take Moscow or not--can't remember!), and I've just been marveling over Pierre. Who rides out into the middle of a battle just to see what's going on? It reminds me of the first few chapters in Anna Pavlovna's drawing room. Pierre was a naive young man, charging into the group and sharing his opinions without the least idea that he was ridiculous or unwelcome. And now he's doing the same thing on the battlefield! He chats with the officers or the soldiers without the faintest idea of what's really going on.

I don't think Pierre sees things as they are. I think he sees them as he is. And because he is generous, big-hearted, and open, he casts everything in his own mold, imagining that everyone is as happy to see him as he is to see them. He's not stupid, though. I'm curious to see whether he will remain so enchanted with the Masons. I suppose it depends on what Tolstoy thought about them, and that I don't know.

The further into the book we go, the more complex I find the battles. I know nothing about military maneuvers. The only "battlefields" I've been on are historic (like Gettysburg). I have been at a few re-enactments, though, and they are so loud! If you added to the noise of the guns and cannons the sounds of men and horses screaming...I can't even imagine. How can Pierre be so oblivious????

Well, I'm hoping to finish reading about this battle today or tomorrow. Where is everyone else? I know Isabella finished on time, but surely not everyone else?


Anonymous gina c. said...

Pierre has always been my favorite male character in this book too. He is flawed, human, earnest, searching, and I dont want to put in any spoilers so will stop with this. I still would like to know anything about his mother. I bought a book called Tolstoy and the Genesis of War and Peace by Kathryn Feuer which looks at the early drafts. If I discover anything more about the missing mother, I will post.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Just discovered this blog over the weekend...will the group choose another book when everyone finishes War and Peace? I think it would be fun to join in!

6:40 PM  
Blogger Isabella said...

I also really like Pierre. I keep trying to compare Pierre and Andrei — I think it's an after effect of Middlemarch actually, that I see them as almost the same person but following different trajectories because of a few key decisions or "accidents" of fate. I am very curious about the early life of BOTH those characters; I wish someone would write those books.

Pierre certainly does seem to walk around with his head in the clouds, and I think this helps him ultimately to find some of kind of heaven on earth, some semblance of happiness or meaning, at least he keeps looking, whereas Andrei finds it only in death. Pierre's disconnect from reality actually makes him more grounded in, or accepting of, it.

(I've had a number of extended weekends — my mind's been everywhere but on War and Peace. I'm still following along discussion here and hope to contribute something more next week...)

2:18 PM  
Blogger Isabella said...

Dixiegirl: there will be another book, but not sure what (well, a classic) or when (maybe November). Check back (or send your email address to for updates.

2:21 PM  

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