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War and Peace: Novel Summary: First Epilogue

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Summary
The First Epilogue begins in 1820 (seven years after Book Fifteen) and looks back over the intervening period. The reader is told of Pierre and Natasha's marriage in 1813 and of how her father, Count Rostov, dies the same year. Rostov makes a return from Paris on the news of this death and assumes responsibility for his father's debts. He reluctantly joins the civil service in Moscow in order to take care of his mother primarily.
His first meeting with Princess Maria in Chapter VI is disastrous as he is cold towards her (because he does not want to be seen as only being interested in her wealth), but in 1814 they marry. It is pointed out that Rostov sorts out his debts without selling any of her estate as though to demonstrate that he is indeed honorable. The Rostovs move to Bald Hills and Sonya comes too.
By 1820, both Princess Maria and Natasha have children to their spouses and Natasha is described as matronly and completely absorbed in her family. Prince Andrei's son (Nikolai Bolkonsky) also lives with the Rostovs and he worships Pierre, but there is a little friction between Nikolai and Rostov. This section ends with Nikolai Bolkonsky wanting to do something that Pierre would be proud of.
Analysis
The First Epilogue offer closure to the lives of the main characters (such as the Rostovs, Pierre and the Bolkonskys). The narrative has jumped forward to 1820 and in comparison with the expansiveness of the rest of the novel this Epilogue is condensed in that seven years are covered in only sixteen chapters. The characters are portrayed as having matured and this is fitting as their development into adulthood has always been a significant narrative thread of this work. This maturity is balanced, however, with the depiction of minor jealousies suffered by Natasha, Princess Maria and Rostov. These failings exemplify the notion that development is not necessarily tied to the ageing process and that it is continuous through life.
It is evident that Pierre is continuing to care about the nation as, after his trip to Petersburg, he tells the other men how things are falling apart in Russia. His care for the nation and the worship of him by Nikolai Bolkonsky (the son of Prince Andrei) are significant end points for this novel that has taken such lengths to question the inhumanity of the human race.




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