Literature Study GuidesWar And PeaceVol 2 Part 3 Chapters 1 6 Summary

War and Peace | Study Guide

Leo Tolstoy

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War and Peace | Vol. 2, Part 3, Chapters 1–6 | Summary



In 1809 Napoleon again declares war on Austria, but this time the Russians provide minor support to the French. Andrei has been living in Bogucharovo for about two years and, because he is more savvy and worldly than his friend, is actually making the reforms that Pierre just talked about, including freeing his serfs (Chapter 1). As a trustee for his son's estates, he travels to Otradnoe (near Moscow) on business in the spring to see the marshal, who happens to be Count Rostov. He notices Natasha with a group of girls as he comes up the drive; she runs toward his carriage and then runs away laughing (Chapter 2). Since he has to stay overnight, he hears Natasha singing and then speaking in the room above him, and "[i]n his soul there suddenly arose such an unexpected tangle of youthful thoughts and hopes, contradictory to his whole life."

Prince Andrei decides that life isn't over at 31, and it is time to reenter the world in a more active capacity, so that he might be known by others and do more practical good (Chapter 3). He goes to Petersburg in August, hoping to get a hearing for his ideas about how to reform the military (Chapter 4). While the tsar gives Andrei the cold shoulder because he stopped serving, he is well received by everyone. There is some romance attached to him as well, as someone who seems to have come back from the dead and because he is a widower with a young child. Andrei is appointed as a member of the commission on military regulations, but more importantly, he is recruited by Speransky, the secretary of state and chief counselor of Alexander, to help rewrite the civil code (Chapters 5–6).


After the Russians make peace with the French, they are forced to be their allies. Andrei has stayed out of the limelight but feels called to return to public life after he meets Natasha. He is deeply affected by the little contact he has with her, sensing the largeness of her spirit and her love of life. Natasha takes Andrei out of himself and reignites his desire to be known and to be of service in a larger sphere. He is already a little bit in love with her.

When he goes to Petersburg, Andrei is liked better because his previous severity of manner has softened, and he is a rich and eligible bachelor. Even though he is out of favor with the tsar, he is still a "gentleman of the chamber" and has some standing, which is why the minister of war agrees to see him. Andrei's freeing of his serfs puts him in the reformist camp, which is why the brilliant and influential Speransky takes an interest in him and taps him for his project to reorganize civil law.

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