War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace Men and Masculinity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Volume.Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
Pierre considered Prince Andrei the model of all perfections, precisely because Prince Andrei united in the highest degree all those qualities which Pierre did not possess and which could be most nearly expressed by the notion of strength of will. Pierre always marveled at Prince Andrei's ability to deal calmly with all sorts of people, at his extraordinary memory, his erudition (he had read everything, knew everything, had notions about everything), and most of all at his ability to work and learn. If Pierre had often been struck by Andrei's lack of ability for dreamy philosophizing (for which Pierre had a particular inclination), he saw it not as a defect, but as a strength. (220.127.116.11)
Is Pierre right to idolize his friend? Do the qualities Pierre admires – and maybe wishes he himself had – prove useful to Andrei? Would Andrei be better off if he were the kind of guy who could "dreamily philosophize" a bit more? Why or why not?
"What's with me?" said Prince Andrei, stopping in agitation. "Understand that we're either officers serving our tsar and fatherland, and rejoice in our common successes and grieve over our common failures, or we're lackeys, who have nothing to do with their masters' doings. Quarante mille homes massacrés et I'armée de nos alliés détruite, et vous trouvez là le mot pour rire," he said, as if clinching his opinion by this French phrase. "C'est bien pour un garçon de rien, comme cette individu, dont vous avez fait un ami, mais pas pour vous, pas pour vous." [Forty thousand men massacred and the army of our allies destroyed, and you find jokes for laughing. [...] It's all right for a worthless fellow, like that individual you have made friends with, but not for you, not for you.] Only schoolboys can have fun like that," Prince Andrei added. (18.104.22.168-7)
Andrei wants the war to be taken seriously – not surprising given the serious and committed kind of guy he is. But compare this with the idea we talked about in the "Courage" quotation section: that to do brave things, soldiers need humor, distraction, and dissociation from their surroundings. What do you make of Andrei's outburst now? Does it change how you react to what he's saying?
Now going over his impressions of the past battle, now joyfully imagining the impression he would make with his news of the victory, recalling his leave taking from the commander in chief and his comrades. Prince Andrei galloped along in a post britzka, experiencing the feeling of a man who has long been awaiting and has finally achieved the beginning of the happiness he desired. As soon as he closed his eyes, the firing of muskets and cannon resounded in his ears, merging with the rattle of the carriage and the impression of the victory. Now he would begin to imagine that the Russians were fleeing, that he himself had been killed; but then he would hurriedly wake up and happily learn as if for the first time that none of it had happened and that, on the contrary, the French had fled. He would recall once more all the details of the victory, his calm manliness during the battle, and, reassured, would doze off. (22.214.171.124)
Ah, Andrei before his gloomy life-sucks period. We'd sort of forgotten how upbeat he could be. It's interesting that at this point Andrei's feelings are very much invested in external validation. Check out how he's dreaming about what it will be like to deliver the news to the emperor. We're guessing part of that might come from his having grown up with such a demanding taskmaster of a dad.