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War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Volume 4, Part 4, Chapter 13 Summary

  • Now we know about Pierre's inner life. What about his outer life?
  • He’s become a really pleasant person to be around, mostly because he’s suddenly become a good listener and interested in people. Yes, that’s right, the secret to being well liked is to a be rich and listen to what other people are saying.
  • Pierre now chats up everyone, from his peers to his servants, and pays close attention to their stories.
  • Everyone is pleased with Pierre: his dependent (the princess his father was taking care of), the doctor, an Italian soldier, his valets…
  • In short, what’s happened is that Pierre is now a master of empathy.
  • Shmoop brain snack on the difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is when you feel bad for someone else. (“Oh, too bad that thing happened to you.”) You are watching someone else suffering and feeling pity for them. Empathy is a whole different ballgame. It’s when you can actually imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes, feel his emotions, and share his point of view. (“I’m sorry I did that thing and can really see how angry with me you must be right now.”) You are watching someone else’s feelings and seeing life through their eyes. Empathy is much harder to learn than sympathy, and much more useful in relationships.
  • Another change in Pierre is that he’s suddenly comfortable enough in his own skin to make money decisions. He pays off his dead wife’s debts without stressing over the decision or questioning himself.
  • Now that he’s feeling better, he goes off to Moscow.

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