As we continue reading, I think we can all recognize that Nicholas has gone through some difficult experiences. He has seen war; he knows what it's like to feel like a coward. Nicholas also lost a large sum of money. Regardless of how unaware Nicholas is of money, it was still difficult for him. Yet, Nicholas continues to disappoint. He's like the endearing boy that says something really rude at a family gathering but which everyone forgives because he's such a pet. Why can't we criticize Nicholas like we do others? For example, I think that originally I let him off the hook too easy. He could have done more for Denisov. However, since he was so caught up in his anger towards the French and Boris' role, he didn't try to get Boris on his side. At first, it's easy to justify Nicholas' anger because I can understand his anger at feeling like a pawn. Yet, on further inspection, it's Nicholas' pride that's hurt- not his ideology: "Rostov had been out of humor from the moment he noticed the look of dissatisfaction on Boris' face..." (358). We've seen Nicholas grow, but has he actually matured?
One of the other facts that convinces me that Nicholas has not matured is his adoration for the tsar. The way he idolizes him reminds me of the infatuation of the narrator to the other little boy in Childhood (I apologize for not remembering the names but I'm at the Posse Plus Retreat and didn't bring my book with me). Our narrator consciously justified the actions of the other boy in order for it to fit with his feelings for him. Nicholas is doing the same thing. I think our narrator purposefully makes Nicholas look silly tin order to demonstrate his child-like nature: "Beside himself with enthusiasm, Rostov ran after him with the crowd" (361). Can we imagine Andrew behaving is way? I don't think even Pierre would chase after a Freemason in this manner. Finally, I was disappointed that Nicholas had the opportunity to mature as he was asking the right questions: "Terrible doubts rose in his soul... Next he thought of that self-satisfied Bonaparte... liked and respected by Alexander. Then why those severed arms and legs and those dead men?" (364). Nicholas could have continued exploring these doubts and dealt with internal conflict as we see Andrew do it. Instead, Nicholas drinks. Is Nicholas maturing at all or at a slow pace?