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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 2, Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary


  • At the beginning of 1806, Nikolai goes home on leave. Denisov goes home with him.
  • Nikolai is crazy excited, yelling at the horses to go faster and running into the house as fast as possible.
  • He wants to surprise everyone, but it’s too late. Everyone runs out to hug and kiss him.
  • Sonya is ever prettier than before, and he’s into it.
  • He introduces the family to Denisov, and Natasha kisses him too. It’s kind of embarrassing, but Denisov plays it off really well.
  • The next morning, Nikolai and Denisov sleep in, and finally Natasha and Sonya come to wake them up. Only, girls aren’t supposed to see boys in their undies, so they wait outside. Nikolai’s little brother Petya busts into the bedroom and starts playing with a sword.
  • Finally, Nikolai and Natasha get to hang out a little bit. It’s awesome, and they have as close and as loving a sibling relationship as possible. They are extremely normal and functional and happy, which is a nice change from some of the other families we've seen.
  • Natasha tells him that Sonya still loves him but no longer wants to be engaged. To which he’s like, oh, I love her too, but yes, I agree that I should keep playing the field.
  • Meanwhile, as we know, Natasha doesn’t love Boris any more, and apparently now she wants to be a ballet dancer. Oh, and she also asks if Denisov is nice. She’s kind of prone to crushes, isn’t she?
  • That night at dinner, Nikolai treats Sonya a little formally. Everyone notices this, but Vera just busts out and calls him on it. Like everything she says, it’s spot-on but also inappropriate.
  • Meanwhile, Nikolai is floored to see how snazzy, dapper, and charming Denisov is with the ladies.

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