Again, by using the technique of limiting us to one character and his observations, we get a blinkered view of what’s going on. From Andrei’s perspective as he heads back to Kutuzov, the wheels are falling off everything. The incident with the drunken officer and the woman on the road only serve to highlight that the army seems to be breaking down in terms of discipline.
There is the rumour that the Austrians have betrayed Russia – but have they or haven’t they? We don’t know yet. It’s all rumours, and there is no truth to be found.
And then, the chapter finishes with Andrei’s death wish – or is that too strong a term? He meets Prince Bagration, being sent into a battle with the strong likelihood of losing most of his men – and Andrei begs Kutuzov to let him join Bagration.
Always, fascinatingly, with Andrei – is this desire to be a big hero, to do something noble. If it was peace time, he would probably be suffering from depression. But in war time, he finds an outlet for these dreams of making noble sacrifices and saving armies.
Have you ever felt like that sometimes? Like your destiny is somewhere else, but you can’t really break into it from the life you are currently in?