Let’s Read This Thing : War and Peace is the collected notes and thoughts that popped into my brain while reading through Tolstoy’s Montserpiece. Some Spoilers?
I’m freaking out a little bit because I’m supposed to completely finish this thing by the end of the month and I still have 215 pages to go. I suppose that isn’t too much, and thankfully my traveling is now complete for at least a few weeks. I can do this, right?
Though before I start thinking about the epilogue and beyond I should probably collect all of feelings on the final Part of Volume III- and what a ride that part was!
Tolstoy continues to weave his story, blending fact and fiction to create a tapestry that reflects the moods, feelings, and philosophies of the Moscovites in the earliest days of the French occupation. Military leaders on both sides give insight and context to the abandonment of Moscow. Kutusov questions how such a thing had ever came to be. Napoleon is despondent that his moment of triumph doesn’t happen, that his victorious march into the city is met by only beggars and drunks. The people have given up everything, but somehow they are not yet broken. These are dark days, though days not without hope.
The fictional characters find themselves with sacrifices and surprises of their own. Pierre abandons his privileged life, but remains firmly within the city (much to Natasha’s chagrin who wants to join him). His now-Catholic wife is going to divorce him (though she does get some good public shaming in the process) and he drunkenly plans to kill Napoleon. Thankfully he is waylaid by a chance encounter with a French soldier, and by the end of the section he has pulled himself out of his stupor… only to find himself a captive. Pierre will go through hell and back before this is all over.
The Rostovs too give up everything- both of their sons are now at war, they pack and leave the city, they open their home to the wounded soldiers, and they are surprised by the arrival of a wounded Andrei. Sonya, long-suffering Sonya, is also asked to give up even more – she’s coming to accept that her and Nikolai will never marry.
This part closes out Volume III by demonstrating how dire things have become, and how much has been given up. Yet at the same time there is always hope. The families flee their homes, but they do not give up. And in fact, their egress from the city is what will ultimately help to save their homeland. Napoleon may be able to conquer Moscow, but its citizens have taken all the things they need to survive, and the invaders are facing down a Winter unprepared.
We have just six parts left before it’s all over- thanks for sticking with me so far!