A very brief chapter, but a very interesting one.  Vasili comes around to try to give Pierre flack about his marriage, and Pierre suddenly gets some backbone and stands up to him!  Like he did with Helene, in the last part, he suddenly has had enough.

Should also say, as a final note on the Masonic issue, my endnotes from my Maude edition state that Tolstoy actually researched all the Masonic stuff pretty thoroughly and so the descriptions of their rituals are pretty accurate.

Philosophically, as far as Tolstoy was concerned, he liked the aims of the Masons, but thought their methods were misguided and crazy.  So there you go.

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 5.5 – Pierre’s Backbone

  1. I think the thing I got most out of this Chapter was the way it showed the enormous gulf between our ideals and our capacity to carry them out. Here, after all this intense ritual and indoctrination about the virtues of humility, brotherliness, goodwill to everyone, and all the rest of it, Pierre is faced with such a deep, personal attack from Vasiliy (albeit in Vasiliy’s characteristic politeness), and clearly all he wants to do is clobber him. He’s so angry, and is so unsuccesfully trying to hide it, that Vasiliy thinks he might even be unwell. It’s a sensation that I think all of us have known – and not just that sense of apoplectic rage that we feel could explode in a nanosecond if we let it, but that sense of contradiction between the rage we feel, and the goodwill and humility that we believe we should feel.

    Like you say, Matt, it’s a very short Chapter – but a significant one.

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