This chapter is very sad. Old Bolkonsky, now in the direct line of march of the invading French troops, cannot bring himself to admit that the French have invaded and that the Russians are losing.
The denial is so bad, it’s almost the onset of dementia, and Marya, with her innocence, doesn’t realise the situation either.
You hear tales of old folks who refuse to go to retirement villages and give up their independence, but become very difficult to live with. This would be the time to suggest a retirement village – but let’s face it – the old Prince would never go.