I must admit, I find the tangents that War and Peace takes towards the end more noticing than at the beginning of the novel. At the beginning, everything is new, and you don’t know who will be a main character or what you should pay attention to.

By the end, you’ve got your main characters that you’re following, and you’re interested in their welfare – and yet here we are sitting around a campfire with a bunch of soldiers that we’ve never met before.

Why? It would kill an ordinary novel.

But this is life. This is one of the places that Tolstoy wants us to visit to understand the effect this war had on the soldiers. What’s amazing is that the conversation is so jovial, when the topics are starvation, mass death, and the need for shoes . . .

2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 15.8 – Campfire

  1. Yes, I think this scene here relates back to a point which you made quite some time ago, Matt – that, whereas many novels are plot driven, or character driven, War and Peace is “life driven”, and this chapter is a great example of that. It’s a scene that is really not important to the plot, nor to the characters that we have come to know. But it is important to life – firstly through its glimpse of that rough, raucous camaraderie amongst the soldiers and then that wonderfully moving image of them noticing the stars spread out above them.

    The sky plays such an important and interesting role in War and Peace, when you think about it. It’s almost, at times, the most central and influential character of all.

  2. We’re getting close to the end here, folks – but there are two epilogues; guess we gotta’ go through that. Can’t be cowboys if we don’t read the prologues and epilogues.

    I know the first epilogue has ‘some’ story in it, but the rest is philosophy of war, etc.

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