Tolstoy is taking some serious artistic liberty with Dmitry Dokhturov, but it does prove a point: shut up and do your job and all will be well. Dmitry Dokhturov, though we never get his POV, we can assume he’s never a man who worries if he will be to blame for something going wrong (like the General and later the message running officer). He does his job, does it well, and is not vain. He’s a real hero.
It’s important to pay attention to the framing of this chapter. We begin and end with the impersonal narration of the war and Kutuzov’s staff. In the center is Pierre who laughs at being “…put it into a shed boarded up with planks!” – quite literally he’s imprisoned by the way but also is completely free of it. He has realized what his soul wants and who is he all while surrounded by the madness of war.
Pierre has arrived. This is another of the great chapters of the novel. We get the rising of the sun as if dawn in brightening in Pierre’s soul, we get his laughter at the idea that any man could own another’s soul (Tolstoy implies serfdom here, too – Pierre looks like one), that sky that Andrei saw but that Pierre sees even clearer. And Tolstoy is right, we are star stuff, a part of the entire universe.
“Dram-da-da-dam, dam-dam…” the noise the drums make is a fitting image to show how the French, who just the day before had been friendly with Pierre and the prisoners, are now cold and disdainful of the men they hold captive.
The image of the dead man leaning against the fence posts by the church makes me think the man had tried to fond solace in the church, but the French gunned him down. Terrible.
Tolstoy is showing us that we will be happier when we take away all that weighs us down: money, societal rules, status, things, are all quite useless and make us unhappy. And this is not a forgotten ideal, even he film Fight Club talked about this as a virtue “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”. But he understands who he still is and recognizes his responsibility to others
The opening of this (the first chapter in this section finally dealing with the main characters) uses the dog as the idea of how all men should see each other: not as breeds, but just as other men. Next we get the image of Pierre almost fully transformed from the pedigree he had been to the happy mongrel he is now. Pierre’s refusal of the soldier’s pipe shows where his heart really is now.