Study Guide

War and Peace Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 143 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of War and Peace.
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Class Conflict

Although there is not much open conflict between members of the different classes of this novel, there is an underlying tension between them.

Members of the older generation, such as Countess Rostova and Prince Nicholas Bolkonsky, verbally abuse the peasants who are under their command. In a patronizing manner, they openly discuss how lost the peasants would be without their guidance. At the same time, there are characters like Platon Karataev, a poor man who leads a simple and happy life.

The closest the novel comes to an open-class conflict is when Mary is confronted by peasants at Bogucharovo, near her family's estate, as she is planning to evacuate before the French arrive. Tolstoy is clear about the fact that they act, not out of resentment for the social privilege Mary has enjoyed at their expense, but because of their fear that they have no leader. They...

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This section contains 742 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the War and Peace Study Guide
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War and Peace from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.