Tuesday, March 4, 2014

War as Related by the Narrator

Once again at the beginning on Book 13 we see the narrator pontificating about the insignificance of individuals in the face of larger historical laws. However, this section immediately follows Pierre's close encounter with death and the death of Andrew. Do these individuals really count for nothing?

The theme of universality seems to carry over, as Andrew accepts the unearthly love of death just as humans should accept the inevitability of the tides of history. I am continually baffled by the narration of War and Peace, as the intricate details of a few characters are painstakingly told, then immediately followed by philosophical ruminations on the inconsequentiality of humankind.

Does this juxtaposition echo Tolstoy's own uncertainty about the meaning of life? Are readers supposed to choose either individuality or universality as the take-away of the "novel"?  

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts on this, Hanna, are that the reader should grapple with the same issues the characters do. Their, and our, lives are caught up in the details, in the insignificant, but are also part of a larger movement we can call history. How do we and they come to terms with this difficult "truth" (as Tolstoy sees it)