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War and Peace

War and Peace

by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 4, Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

  • OK, this chapter is disturbing, so Shmoop is recommending some stress-relieving activity right afterward. Or maybe even in the middle. Take a walk. Do a little yoga. Trust us, you’ll need it.
  • Here we go. All the Russian prisoners, including Pierre, are taken from the mansion into a field. There’s a post in the ground, and behind the post a big hole has been dug. (Get it? They’re going to be tied to the post, shot, then dumped in the hole.)
  • The prisoners are lined up. Pierre is number 6.
  • The soldiers decide to shoot them in pairs.
  • Men are led to the post like animals, not really understanding that their lives are about to end.
  • Soldiers shoot the prisoners, cut them down, then dump them into the pit. Each soldier is more horrified than the next at what’s happening.
  • This is clearly murder.
  • The soldiers are shaking and pale as they keep going. One of them can no longer stand, he is so overcome with emotion.
  • The fifth man is taken away and shot. Pierre doesn’t realize that this means that he has been spared and is just there to watch. He is catatonic with fear and horror.

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