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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 2, Part 5, Chapter 1 Summary

1811-12

  • After Andrei and Natasha get engaged, Pierre gets all depressed again. He’s still doing the Mason thing, but he’s just not feeling it anymore.
  • He decides to leave Petersburg and go back to Moscow, where he feels more at home. Another reason he goes is to get away from his gross wife, who is now just sleeping around under his nose.
  • It works – he’s immediately sucked back into Moscow life and society.  He’s spending money all over the place and returns to his frivolous lifestyle.
  • Everyone in Moscow thinks he’s awesome...in the same nonthreatening, asexual way a soft pillow is.
  • Every time he thinks about it, he is horrified by what he’s become...so he just drinks and chases women to avoid thinking about it.
  • He’s also having a huge crisis of faith. He sees hypocrisy everywhere, especially in his brother Masons, who don’t really follow the dictates of their secret society.
  • This crisis of faith is even more depressing, and he thinks about death and the moral abyss...which again is followed by more drinking.

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