Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nicholas at peace vs. Rostovat war

During my first semester at college I have become a different person.  Being away from home, one cannot help but change.  This is also true for Nicholas Rostov in the novel, War and Peace.  Tolstoy emphasizes this character’s adaptation by referring to him as Nicholas at home, and Rostov at war. 
When Nicholas marched off to war, he became Rostov.  With this new name came a maturity that comes from being away from the comfort of home.  Even when he is away from the war, he is still referred to as Rostov by Tolstoy.   Nicholas, just like every person, has his moments of immaturity.  One example of this is when he had to tell his father about his gambling debts.  In these instances Tolstoy refers to him as Nicholas to point out his ill-considered actions and his immaturity. 
As a reader, do you believe that Tolstoy intended to change his name to show the character’s growth or was there another reason for the name change?


  1. I think the change in names is definitely meaningful. I find it really interesting that there are so many name variations in Russian and how they can carry different meaning. I think one of the ways Tolstoy indicates the relations between two characters is by what name they refer to each other by.

  2. What is interesting is when I first read this title I thought it meant that while nicholas was at peace in a setting he could understand in book 6-7, his family was "at war" with their finances and social standing. But the name change is also an interesting point obviously.