Here we get a visual chapter on the battlefield: the Russians stuck in the fog (literally and figuratively), and Napoleon on the high ground looking down and assured of victory. We get the last half of the chapter from Napoleon’s vantage point (though not his thoughts). Artistically this is exquisite writing – the color of the mist the sun, the glittering bayonets, the blue sky above. The danger awaiting.
The “Natasha… sabretache” scene is a very modern piece of writing – it’s almost stream-of-consciousness and it mimics exactly what it’s like to be thinking of something while falling asleep while trying to stay awake.
Interesting how Napoleon refers to the Russians as “hirelings of England” – language is important just as previously they referred to him as only “Head of the French Government”.
The chapter ends with the peasants mocking each other, “Go, Tit, thresh a bit!”. This sets the scene for how it would be impossible to carry out any battle plan – the men will do what they will do in whatever circumstance lends itself and no plan will change that. Tolstoy is carefully building up the failure of Russia at Austerlitz and making his case for only God running man’s fate.
We get a bit more insight into what Andrei wants when we listen to his thoughts on how badly he wants glory and the love of people he’ll never know. He wants to be Napoleon. This is symbolic in the since Peter the Great’s time Russia wanted to be European, but now that Europe was at their door, they were in for a bad deal.
After the disposition with Weyrother Andrei feels uneasy- the weather is foggy.