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MonkeyNotes-War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Book IV: Part I

Summary

Life in Petersburg goes on as ever. Its people are yet to hear about the invasion of Moscow. They are still celebrating the success of Borodino. At Anna Pavlovnaís soiree, the guests talk about the prowess of Kutuzov and the courage of the Russian soldiers. A few days later, when they hear about the conquest of Moscow, they denounce Kutuzov for committing such a blunder. The Tsar who also receives the news after the capture of Moscow, feels disturbed and contemplates retaliating in the future.

The latest news circulating in the Petersburg society is about the illness of Ellen but nobody is aware of the real cause of her illness. Some presume it to be a case of dejection, which had resulted in ĎAngina,í while others believe she had consumed too many sleeping pills out of depression. Shortly afterwards, when Countess Bezukhov breathes her last, the rumors die with her. However, a pall of gloom envelops the society.

After being taken as a prisoner, Pierre is kept in a guardhouse. Later, he is taken to another hideout. He is made to watch the execution of his fellow prisoners and witness the anguish they experience. He watches innocent men lose their lives and expects his own life to be taken away soon. However, he is not killed. Instead, he is taken to another guarded place. He meets all kinds of prisoners and observing their attitude, turns philosophical.


Nikolai Rostov remains unaffected by the moves of Napoleon. Along with his troops, he reaches Voronezh. Here he meets Princess Marya, who had come down from Moscow to stay with her aunt, Malvintseva. He undergoes the same emotional turmoil he had faced while meeting her in Bagucharovo. He admires her grace and dignity but feels restricted to profess his love for her because of his commitment towards Sonya. He desires freedom from his emotional bondage. In answer to his wish, he receives a letter from Sonya releasing him from her bonds. He is relieved but restrains himself from proposing to Marya for want of a better opportunity. However, he informs her about Andreiís fatal injury and his stay at Yaroslavl with the Rostovs. Shortly afterwards, Marya leaves along with her nephew to Yaroslavl.

After a strenuous journey, she reaches the home of the Rostovs. She is received heartily by the family and showered with hospitality. Soon Natasha appears on the scene and posts Marya with Andreiís deteriorating condition. Marya understands the gravity of the situation and decides to provide comfort to her brother in the last few days of his life. thus, she accompanies Natasha to meet Andrei. She feels disturbed to see Andrei looking weak, frail and distant. However, she keeps her emotions in check to look after her brother along with Natasha. It is with torture they wait for the inevitable but when he dies, they find it difficult to reconcile to the fact.

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