In a similar vein, the overbearing theme of Christian beliefs pervades Book 5, as Pierre seeks a new mentor to follow almost unthinkingly. The narrator seems to have a condescending tone when describing Pierre's induction to the Freemasons, followed by Prince Andrew's denial of these beliefs. I wonder whether the seemingly flowery language associated with Pierre's lofty ideals was typical of Russian society and how prevalent atheism (albeit hidden) was in the early 1800s in Russia.
Finally, the absence of women in this section provides a nice relief from Book 4, as Helene and Mary provide stark contrasts as tempter and sympathizer. Again in contrast, Pierre and Andrew come to the fore as irrational naivete combats pessimistic wisdom. Does Tolstoy truly believe characters and beliefs can be so black and white? The dichotomies are so glaringly demonstrated, yet neither of the options (Helene vs. Mary; Pierre vs. Andrew) seem optimal for living one's life ideally. Tolstoy seems to establish that such extremes are not to be desired and should be approached with caution.