War and Peace by Tolstoy – Volume 2, Parts 4-5

*Potential Spoilers In This Post*

As we read on, we continue to get more and more insight into some of our characters. I felt that Part 4 started off with giving us more insight into Rostov. He was back in the regiment and enjoyed his life there. Yet, as more and more letters came from home explaining how things were getting worse there, he felt the pull to go home and try to bring a bit of happiness to his parents. But that pull wasn’t without it’s contradicting feelings. It says:

Reading these letters, Nikolay felt dismayed that anyone should want to extricate him from the environment in which he was living so quietly and comfortably, but off from all the complexities of existence. He felt that sooner or later he might have to plunge back into that maelstrom of life, with all sorts of things going wrong and having to be put right, stewards’ accounts, quarrels and intrigues, ties, society, to say nothing of Sonya’s love and the promise he had made to her.” (p. 534)

Nickolay does indeed return home; not without some discontent about it though.

Tolstoy plunges into a whole section where there is a hunting party and they all go out on the hunt. I have to admit, this wasn’t a favorite part. I kind of just read through it quickly and moved on.

Other events that unfold:

*We see more unjust treatment of Marya by her father. I feel so sorry for Marya! In dealing with her father, the girl is a saint! She continues to take his harsh words and treatment, even still speaking kindly of him. At one point, he got so angry with her that he told her he wanted her gone. Out of the house. Marya had done nothing but take care of him and love him and be a devoted daughter to him and it’s like he just suddenly completely turned on her. It is so hard to read these parts.

*As I mentioned in the last post, Natasha and Prince Andrey are engaged. Natasha’s mother didn’t feel too keenly about that match. In fact, it said she knew that there was something terribly wrong about it. But I don’t think she could quite put her finger on why. Andrey ended up going out of town and Natasha did well with the separation for awhile. Unfortunately, Anatole sets his sights upon her and tried to pull her away even though he was already married (a fact most people weren’t aware of). I got so frustrated with Natasha in this section. She ended up breaking off her engagement to Andrey on this simple whim. I mean, she had only seen/spoke with Anatole during this time like maybe three times. She decided to throw away everything with Andrey for this whim. And of course, as the readers, we know that Anatole wasn’t serious about her. He wasn’t going to marry her. He couldn’t.

Thankfully, the plans for her and Anatole to sneak away were foiled. In the end, Pierre told Anatole to leave town and he did. Natasha was so upset she started to poison herself; but after drinking just a bit of poison she realized she didn’t want to and ran and told Sonya what she’d done. She was given the appropriate medicines and she didn’t die. She started recovering but by the end of this volume, she was still in recovery from the incident. She did ask Pierre to ask Andrey to forgive her. Pierre had already had a conversation with Andrey before that, trying to encourage him to renew the marriage sentiments to Natasha; but Andrey would have none of that. He was done with it. Pierre told Natasha he would tell Andrey what she said and now I am anxiously waiting to dive into Volume 3 to see what happens!

*The volume ends with a scene with Pierre that I felt was very similar to a scene with Andrey. Earlier in the book, Andrey was lying on the battlefield injured and he looked up at the sky and marveled at it. As Volume 2 ends, we have a scene where Pierre has just left the Rostov’s and is heading home. He looks up at the night sky and marvels at it. It’s as if seeing the magnificence of the night sky helped Pierre distance himself from all that was going on.

This heavenly body seemed perfectly attuned to Pierre’s newly melted heart, as it gathered reassurance and blossomed into new life.” (p. 663)

I love how Tolstoy draws in beautiful descriptions of nature and the natural world. I also love how he depicts the impact nature and the natural world can have on a person. How we connect with nature and how nature can have such a powerful impact on us. Nature has a way of being able to bring us peace and beauty and joy.

Some more beautiful, descriptive writing from Tolstoy in this Volume:

“The first signs of winter were in the air now, with morning frosts hardening the earth after its soaking by the autumn rain…” (p. 539)

It was clear and frosty. A dark, starlit heaven looked down on the black roofs and the dirty, dusky streets.
(p. 663)

One thought on “War and Peace by Tolstoy – Volume 2, Parts 4-5

  1. Pingback: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy |

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