War and Peace Book Club discussion

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New reader skips parts!

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message 1: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (cal506) Started reading a while ago and am about one-third through. Am enjoying the read BUT
could. not get through it without skipping some sections. (Pierre's theological musings for example.)

How do other people feel about this?


message 2: by Edward (new)

Edward Mendoza I found Pierre's musings, along with all the other content in the book to be very interesting. For example, I disagree with Oprah's recommendation of skipping the Battle of Borodino section in this novel. It gives me the feeling that she skipped it because she felt it was "that war scene" and there is no need to read that part, the killing part, and that in her mind it was, therefore, unnecessary.

I am an atheist so I find Pierre's esoteric explorations fascinating but I'm also objective about it, probably more so than most people who read W&P. The self-discovery aspects of the main character's search for meaning is very important to the overall development of how the entire story unfolds. The search for meaning is a fundamental human need that was researched extensively by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who a Holocaust survivor and was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. This makes Tolstoy's theological musings all the more interesting precisely because he published his masterpiece in 1869, when he was around 41 years old. Arguably, this reflects part of Tolstoy's own personal life experience. In Pierre, we also see Tolstoy.

On the other hand, if it bores you to death, then go ahead and skip it.


message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (cal506) I see your point. I'm half way through the book and I'm finding Pierre more interesting as he matures. However, don't think I'll ever read much more about the Masons.


message 4: by Edward (new)

Edward Mendoza I also see your point. I'm not a Mason, never was and never will be. The Masons, among other explorations by Pierre, were simply a discovery exercise in his search for answers about life. Many people have this searching experience at some point in there lives, and for some people this search lasts throughout their entire lives.

The "normal" method of expressing this curiosity is through the usual conventions of institutionalized religion, be it whichever religion of choice it may be (or the one that the parents chose).

I searched for the word, "Mason," in Wikipedia's file on Tolstoy and it doesn't even show up once. If Tolstoy had been a Mason then it probably would have been mentioned. Based on this, I believe that Tolstoy was not a Mason. Therefore, Tolstoy uses Pierre's 'phase' as a Mason to define his protagonist as an altruistic seeker of knowledge. The Masons are only one example of Pierre's intense search for making sense out of life, which is often cruel and barbaric (wars, senseless mass death, his own experience, his forced and failed marriage, etc, etc).


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