Friday, December 2, 2011

Pierre's Anguish about Karataev's Death

In Book Fourteen both Petya and Karataev die. Although the death of Petya is tragic, the death of Karataev has a greater effect on me. Karataev represents simplicity, kindness, peacefulness and, above all, hope. Karataev's story about the old man wrongly accused of murder, demonstrates that Karataev anticipates death. In fact, it seems as if he welcomes death. Pierre respects Karataev's perspective on life, including his approach to death; however, Karataev's feeble condition makes Pierre feel very uncomfortable. He avoids interactions with Platon and marches ahead of him in line. Although I believe Pierre has found peacefulness and a new appreciation for a simple life, his reaction to Platon's death makes me more skeptical of the permanence of his transformation. Pierre still fears death. Therefore, he is not completely at peace. When the blue-gray dog begins to howl beside Platon's corpse, after he is shot by the French soldier, Pierre does not turn around but simply exclaims, "What a stupid beast! Why is it howling?" (941) The dog's howling expresses Pierre's inner-pain, which he refuses to accept. I think Pierre's indifference is a measurement of his anguish as well as an indication that he has yet to accept death. He is therefore not truly at peace.

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