Memento Mori
Brian E. Denton

What I find interesting in this chapter is the return of the strange look upon the faces of the French soldiers when Pierre questions them about the sick Russian prisoner. It’s the same look Pierre encounters during the execution scene several chapters ago. The French are steeling themselves for some heinous action against the ill prisoner. What Tolstoy seems to be saying is that acts of cruelty and barbarism are not within the norm and this perhaps implies an inherent goodness in man. This goodness can be overridden as we see in this case with the French but it’s not natural for us to engage in barbarism. This is an encouraging development.

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