And now Dolohov enters for what I think is his last major story segment in War and Peace. I can’t remember. Oddly enough, there’s not the wild crazy man element that used to be there right back at the beginning.

The only thing that remains is the lack of compassion for most other human beings. Denisov doesn’t really want to kill prisoners, especially not the drummer boy. Dolohov wouldn’t take those sorts of chances.

Petya sits in the corner and is uncomfortable, but feels that if this is what the grown-ups think, it must be true . . .

This reminds me a bit of the execution scene in the last book. When it’s war, and people are accidentally getting killed by bullets and cannons, that’s bearable. It’s the cold-blooded murder of other men that is far more disturbing, and that’s brought out here.

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One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 14.8 – Dolohov vs Denisov

  1. I guess in some ways the little French drummer boy is the pivotal character in this chapter. It’s through him that everyone else is portrayed, to some extent. We see Denisov, protecting him without making an issue of it; we see Petya, feeling torn between his childlike compassion for him and his adolescent longing to be seen as “one of the men”, and Dolokhov who, like you say, Matt, remains almost oblivious to the humanity of the young lad and, instead, sees him as an opportunity to score some points at others’ expense. It’s interesting, and I think rather clever, that we really only get to know this little drummer boy in terms of his impact on other people … even his name has been changed to what others want to call him. It’s as if he is the archetypal symbol for that unnamed, anonymous innocence that is the real prisoner, the real victim, of war – the other side of the coin that bears the silhouette of the unknown soldier.

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