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Part I of Book II opens with Nikolai Rostovís arrival home and ends with his departure to the battlefield. In this short span of time, many things happen to transform Nikolai from a fun-loving youth to a disillusioned man torn with remorse. Nikolai arrives in Otradnoe with expectation and is delighted to receive a hearty welcome. He enjoys his stay, filling his days with fun and fulfillment. He is happy with the attention and love he gets from his family and friends. In turn, he extends his hands of friendship to all those who ask for it. Thus, he befriends Dolokhov and provides him with the moral support he needs. However, Dolokhov betrays his trust and inveigles Nikolai to gamble and lose a huge amount of his money. Nikolai regrets his action and hates himself for getting into the trap laid by Dolokhov. Thus, Nikolai Rostov who came home with joy and pride in his heart, is forced to leave it with guilt and remorse.
Another man who repents for his mistake in this part of the novel is Pierre. Earlier, Pierre had married Ellen in haste and under pressure. Now, he repents for that action. He had expected Ellen to play the part of a loving wife but she had betrayed his trust. Ellen took advantage of his power and position and flirted with other men. She was unmindful of hurting his sentiments and carried on her shameful behavior under his nose. Dolokhov who had sought shelter in their house had also carried on an affair with Ellen. When Pierre suspects Dolokhov of having an affair with his wife, he challenges the latter for a duel and overpowers his rival. However, he is not satisfied taking revenge on Dolokhov, he desires to severe his relationship with Ellen who had cheated on him and caused him pain. Thus, Pierre gets separated from his wife and wins his freedom but loses his peace of mind at the end of Part I of Book II.
In contrast to Dolokhov is Denisov. Denisov is a disciplined soldier and a respectable man. He values friendship and respects the bond. He likes Nikolai and when the latter invites him home, he accepts his friendís invitation. He charms the whole Rostov family with his pleasant manners, refined habits and spotless behavior. No wonder, Natasha admires him and showers attention on him. Denisov mistakes it for love and proposes to her. However, when she rejects his offer, he bows out respectfully and resigns himself to the situation. To avoid embarrassment, he leaves Moscow for his army camp. He does not nurture any feeling of hatred or revenge for the Rostovs, but takes the matter in his stride. Denisov is a good man who accepts defeat as gracefully as he does victory.
Prince Andrei is one more character who feels disillusioned in this part of the novel. He arrives home just in time to see his wife alive. He feels guilty for having neglected her and regrets his arrogant behavior towards her. He feels sorry for his infant son and feels protective towards him. Lisaís death makes him wiser but philosophical. Leo Tolstoy shows himself up as a master psychologist who probes into the mind of his characters in order to ascertain their state. The readers are able to peep into the thought process of Pierre as he undergoes turmoil after he suspects his wife of infidelity. The psyche of Andrei is analyzed as he looks at the lifeless face of his innocent wife. And the mental trauma of Nikolai is exposed after the latter loses a large sum of money in gambling. Tolstoy so convincingly projects the mind of all these characters, that the readers are likely to visualize themselves in similar predicaments.