by Leo Tolstoy The historical fiction book, " War and Peace", by Leo Tolstoy, is a story chronicling the lives of the Russian royal family from 1805 until 1815. The story begins at a cocktail party being held at the home of Anna Pavolvna, a rich St. Petersburg socialite, however, most of the action takes place in Moscow, at the home of the Rostov family, and at the battle front in the war with Napoleon. The protagonists are Natasha Rostov, a teenage girl who grows and matures throughout the book and Pierre Bezuhov, the illegitimate son of Kirill Vladmirovitch Bezuhov, who spends much of the novel contemplating his purpose on earth; and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, the head of the Bolkonsky family and a great war hero. The antagonists are: the protagonists themselves, as they torment themselves, and, Napoleon Bonaparte, (Buonaparte to some who believe him to be an impostor) the Emperor and military leader of
France, bent on world domination. Secondary characters are the families of Bolkonsky and Kuragin; Anna Pavolvna, a famous St. Petersburg socialite and Kutuzof, the military leader of the Russian forces. The basic conflict is the effects of the changes to the protagonists throughout the Napoleonic wars. One important event occurs when Prince Andrei is wounded during the battle of Austerlitz, as he is given a chance to recollect on his wartime experiences.. Another important event occurs when Pierre is taken prisoner by the French, (because he has the chance to delve into his feelings and come to peace with himself. The climax of Pierre's story occurs when he is held before a firing squad by the French. This is his climax, because he is convinced that he is going to die, and, after he is spared, he becomes more philanthropic and caring and it is obvious that he will continue on this course until the end. The climax of Natasha's life occurs when Andrei dies, because it makes her reconsider the way she has lived her life, maturing her further from her state of mind as a seventeen year-old. The climax for Andrei occurs when he is mortally wounded while attempting to protect Moscow from Napoleon's forces. This is his climax because his outlook on life becomes so negative and morbid that he can only wait to die, and it is obvious that he won't have it any other way. The story ends with the defeat and exile of Napoleon and the emergence of Russia as a world power, and the meeting of Natasha and Pierre after several years of absence. " War and Peace" is a classic because it is the best-known of Leo Tolstoy's works, and perhaps the best example of his strengths of writing. The characters are fleshed out, to the point that you think they are real people. He can transition from one topic to the next without dropping anything. Most of all, he can write to keep your attention. It is (almost) never boring. That is why War and Peace qualifies as a classic.
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