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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 1, Part 1, Chapter 20 Summary

  • Pierre goes into the room, which is laid out for a service, or final mass. Old Count Bezukhov lies holding a candle under a couple of icons. The priests conduct the service.
  • In the middle of it, there’s a passive-aggressive contest between the two sides. First Princess Drubetskoy crosses the whole room to give Pierre a candle. Then Prince Vassily and Catiche disappear to prepare the Count’s bedroom for his actual death. Oh yeah, baby, who’s important now?
  • After extreme unction is over, they move the Count to his room and Princess Drubetskoy gestures to Pierre to sit next to him and kiss his hand. The Count’s eyes are open but he is not really responsive.
  • Then he growls something they interpret as, “roll me onto my side facing the wall.” Pierre does that, and as he’s doing it, he freaks out at seeing his father’s totally dead stroke arm. The Count notices his disgust and smiles a little bit.
  • Seeing this smile sends Pierre over the edge, and he starts weeping.  It’s his dad, after all.
  • The Count dozes off, and Pierre and Princess Drubetskoy leave the room.

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