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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 2, Part 3, Chapter 8 Summary

  • Pierre falls into another one of his depressive episodes. He lies around moping and doesn’t leave the house for three days.
  • He gets a letter from his wife, asking him to take her back.
  • He also gets a letter from one of his Masonic brothers, telling him that he shouldn’t be so harsh on his wife, and that forgiveness is what the Masons are all about.
  • He gets a third message, this one from his mother-in-law, who says she has something really important to tell him.
  • He’s too depressed to do anything. Without writing any of them back, he leaves for Moscow to get some advice from Iosif Alexeevich, the super-Mason he met in the roadside inn.
  • We then get a little piece of his diary, which lets us know that Iosif Alexeevich is living in poverty and ill health, but is positive and optimistic and setting a really good example. He explains to Pierre why the whole fix-the-political-institutions thing is a bad idea – because Masons are all about self-improvement, not politics. Then he tells him some mumbo jumbo about the numbers 3 and 7 and about squares.
  • The next diary entry says that Pierre is back with Helene, but they’re not sleeping together. They’ve made up spiritually, but Pierre thinks he’s supposed to be keeping all lust under wraps. (Should we take bets on how that’s going to go?)

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