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The Book: War and Peace - Essay Example

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Writer Customer English Literature 9 December 2012 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace” as the name suggests is a tale of wartime and in-between times of tranquility and peace in Russia commencing from 1805 during the reign of Tsar Alexander I and leading up to 1812 when Napoleon invaded Russia…
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The Book: War and Peace

Download file to see previous pages... The novel depicts a story of five aristocratic families; the Bezukhovs, the Bolkonskys, the Rostovs, the Kuragins and the Drubetskoys. He amalgamates their life stories with the French invasion of Russia and the times prior to the invasion and reiterates the manner in which the people of these families suffer during the times of war. Although the Bezukhovs, were very rich, yet they were a fragmented family as the old Count, Kirill Vladimirovich, had many illegitimate sons. The Bolkonskys were an old established and wealthy family living in Bald Hills. The Rostovs also had many estates, but never enough cash. Their family was a closely knit and a loving family who lived for the moment regardless of their financial state. The Kuragin family had three children with questionable character. While the Drubetskoy family belonged to a noble class bordering on being bank corrupt consisting of an elderly mother and her only son, Boris, whom she desired to push up the career ladder. Tolstoy played a pivotal role in bringing a new kind of consciousness to the genre of novel. His novel’s narrative structure is noted for its god-like ability to hover over and within events as it is observed that throughout the novel the presence of the writer is felt deeply at every point. His use of visual detail has a cinematic quality to it and he uses the literary equivalents for close-ups or the wide shots for the dramatic effect in his narrative in both the ballroom as well as the battle scenes. Although the credit for incorporation of all these techniques in the novel as a pioneer cannot be given exclusively to Tolstoy yet he played a vital role in re-evaluation of the style of depiction of a novel during the nineteenth century. Some of the most important aspects that Tolstoy explores through his novel include a variety of human behaviors and emotions ranging from hatred, jealousy and frustration to love, affection and friendship, the unbreakable human ties which are formed on the basis of blood, love and even hatred. Then again a significant part of the novel is the writer’s personal musing about the importance of history in making of the present and the future and the tarnishing of reality based on hypothesis or assumptions. He also philosophizes about the role or necessity of war in life of human beings and in this world in general. Although it is apparent that in his long narrative he does not provide the readers with definite conclusions in fact he leaves them to draw their own conclusions though the novel ends with a happy ever after. Yet it is not all about joy of life and bliss in fact at times it becomes brutal in terms of grotesque descriptions of wartimes and bloodshed. Furthermore the complex nature of human psyche and relationships and their indecisiveness that is explored in the novel does not project man as an epitome of wisdom and happiness. There are numerous instances throughout the course of the novel when the readers realize that there is a subtext to the lines as they appear to be or the general observation that Tolstoy remarked about actually relates to them directly or indirectly. For example it is stated in the text that, “We can know only that we know nothing. And that is the highest degree of human wisdom” (Tolstoy 345). This simple observation encapsulates the gist of human existence. Then again while reading the novel it is apparent th ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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