Daily Archives: December 22, 2015

12% done with War and Peace


Just imagine, spectators at a battle. That had actually been the norm for centuries, now everyone is a combatant.

The accountant spectator mirrors what happens later with Pierre when he too, in a white suit and white hat, is a spectator for the great battle.

Bagration is the very image of the perfect commander. He is calm, the men respect him, and he takes credit for everything without giving any orders.

12% done with War and Peace


Tushin is Tolstoy’s invention to get us to see the Russians as humans, not just as cannon fodder. He is small, maybe even weak looking, but smart and curious, and quite unlike what we think of as military types. He stands out and he’s our calm anchor to the storm about to blow, we care about this unusual little man. Tolstoy even narrates saying “we” and “our” for the first time in the novel. Tushin is our captain.

11% done with War and Peace


Captain Tushin, my favorite minor character. Tolstoy is genius with Tushin: we first meet him with his boots off and being scolded for it. Yet we never see him upset, he just smiles as if everything is OK. In fact the closer we get to the front the more orderly and “fun” everything is, we even get Dolokhov arguing with the French followed by the fake French pantomime. But it’s all serious. The guns remain.

11% done with War and Peace


More trickery! This time we see what an opportunist Kutuzov is, but also how smart Napoleon is (in not falling for the truce ruse). Tolstoy does not throw Napoleon many bones so this is about the only compliment we get.

This chapter’s narrative is unusual in that it’s getting closer and closet to what will eventually Tolstoy speaking (preaching) directly to us. He’s leading up to his philosophical musings