Not a lot to comment on in this chapter because it is so short, except that it’s interesting how the class distinctions have largely broken down in the light of the battle.  (Well, at least they’ve broken down for Pierre.) 

It’s also unusual because it contrasts so much with the previous chapters, where we see the Petersburg crowd totally out of touch with the reality of the war (Helene’s much more interesting to them).  But here, Pierre experiences the real thing in all its devastation.

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One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 11.8 – Leaving the Battlefield

  1. It certainly is a contrast with the Petersburg world of Helene, that’s for sure. I guess the enormity of what has been happening is, at least for Pierre, very much driven home when, near the beginning of he chapter, he is longing to return to his ordinary life and yet, as we are told, there is no ordinary life anywhere anymore. Everything has changed and, we can’t help feeling, I think, that it has changed irrevocably.

    But then, in the midst of all that devastation, we feel, with Pierre, the simple cameraderie of the soldiers, sharing some food over a fire – the best food that Pierre had ever eaten.

    I think Tolstoy is making it very clear to us that it is here, in this simple little scene by the fire, much more than in all the grandeur of Helene’s salons, that the real humanity lies.

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