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War and Peace
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message 1: by Marta (last edited Nov 06, 2017 05:15PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marta (gezemice) | 214 comments Week 2 - oct-08 - oct-14: Book 2

Please post your comments about this section of War and Peace.

This week's discussion question:

Tolstoy describes the mental state of the men in the front line at Schöngraben: “Again, as on the Enns bridge, there was no one between the squadron and the enemy, and there lay between them, separating them, that same terrible line of the unknown and of fear, like the line separating the living from the dead. All the men sensed that line, and the question of whether they would or would not cross that line, and how they would cross it, troubled them” [p. 188]. He characterizes the actions of Tushin’s artillerists as “merry and animated” [p. 192]. Nikolai’s shifting thoughts are conveyed as he rushes into battle and is wounded [pp. 188–90]. What is Tolstoy like as a psychologist of men at war?


Michelle (mich2689) | 219 comments Just finished Book 2. I’m quite behind but it looks like I’m not the only one. This book was harder to get through than the first. There were more characters introduced and I got a little bit confused.


message 3: by Marta (last edited Nov 06, 2017 05:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marta (gezemice) | 214 comments I am behind also. I have discussion questions but I need to know where they come up, so I will post them as I reach that part of the book. See this week's question above.

This book is during the war and its seemingly random tides of losing and winning battles.

For the question:
When I saw this question, I was surprised, because I have highlighted this same passage. I feel that Tolstoy does understand the soldiers, but also romanticizes the battle a bit. Of course I might just be unfair to expect the sensitivity of All Quiet On the Western Front, because that is not what anyone in the nineteenth century did. He does a good job conveying the confusion and conflicting emotions.

My biggest surprise was the utter incompetence of the Russian generals, and the indifference of the officers. They only cared about their promotions. Don't seem to care about the soldier's lives at all, or the wounded. They have no battle plans, the soldiers do not know what to do, and the only people who behave bravely, the artillerists, are berated instead of praised. No wonder Andrei Bolkovsky is disillusioned.


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