| Quote #4
At last the sleigh pulled to the right at the entrance; over his head Rostov saw the familiar cornice with its chipped stucco, the porch, the hitching post. He jumped out of the sleigh while still moving and ran into the front hall. The house stood as immobile, unwelcoming, as if it cared nothing for the one who had arrived. [...] Rostov, forgetting all about Denisov, not wishing anyone to announce him beforehand, threw off his fur coat and ran on tiptoe to the big, dark reception room. Everything was the same—the same card tables, the same chandelier in its cover; but someone had already seen the young master, and before he reached the drawing room, something flew out of a side door precipitously, like a storm, and embraced and began kissing him. A second, then a third such being sprang from a second, a third door; more embraces, more kisses, more shouts tears of joy. He could not make out where and who was his papa, who was Natasha, who was Petya. Everybody wept, talked, and kissed him at the same time. (188.8.131.52-18)
Let's take a close look at the description here. First the house is anthropomorphized. Anthropomorphism is the technique of giving human characteristics to non-human objects or animals. (Like every talking animal in Disney movies, for example, or, here, a house that has the ability to "care" or "not care" about Nikolai.) When Nikolai goes inside, the house is back to being an inanimate object that contains a bunch of other objects: the card tables, the chandelier. Finally, life is given its rightful place as the animation is transferred onto the people in the house, who are just one big undifferentiated mass of loving humanity. A pretty neat bit of psychology, too, as far as Nikolai is concerned.
| Quote #5
On approaching it [...] Rostov experienced the same feeling as when his mother, his father, and his sister had embraced him, and tears of joy choked him so that he could not speak. The regiment was also a home, and as unalterably dear and precious as his parents' house.
When he had reported himself to the commander of the regiment and had been reassigned to his former squadron, had been on duty and had gone out foraging, when he had again entered into all the little interests of the regiment and felt himself deprived of liberty and bound in one narrow, unchanging frame, he experienced the same sense of peace, of moral support, and the same sense of being at home here in his own place, as he had felt under the parental roof. But here was none of all that turmoil of the world at large, where he did not know his right place and took mistaken decisions [...] In the regiment, everything was definite: who was lieutenant, who captain, who was a good fellow, who a bad one, and most of all, who was a comrade. [...] there was nothing to think out or decide, you had only to do nothing that was considered bad in the Pavlograd regiment and, when given an order, to do what was clearly, distinctly, and definitely ordered and all would be well. (184.108.40.206-3)
For Nikolai, the army is a home away from home that's simpler and less confusing. What's also striking is the way people create the sensation of "home" regardless of where they are. In this novel, "home" can be formed anywhere there is some tiny shred of comfort or good feeling.
| Quote #6
Soon after Uncle's reappearance the door was opened, evidently from the sound by a barefooted girl, and a stout, rosy, good-looking woman of about forty, with a double chin and full red lips, entered carrying a large loaded tray. With hospitable dignity and cordiality in her glance and in every motion, she looked at the visitors and, with a pleasant smile, bowed respectfully. In spite of her exceptional stoutness, which caused her to protrude her chest and stomach and throw back her head, this woman (who was Uncle's housekeeper) trod very lightly. She went to the table, set down the tray, and with her plump white hands deftly took from it the bottles and various hors d'oeuvres and dishes and arranged them on the table. When she had finished, she stepped aside and stopped at the door with a smile on her face. [...] All this was tended, gathered, and cooked by Anisya Fyodorovna. All this smelled, and spoke, and had the taste of Anisya Fyodorovna. It all spoke of juiciness, cleanness, whiteness, and a pleasant smile. (220.127.116.11-15)
Here we have the essence of what creates the idea of "home" for this unmarried, family-less man. It's his housekeeper, who infuses everything with her Anisya Fyodorovna-ness. Look at the repeating word "all" in the last few sentences – "all this," "it all." How does the repetition of this word heighten the description? How would the passage sound without this kind of repetition?