Pierre is going through a major identity crisis. He was uncertain of who he was from the beginning of the novel when he was introduced as the “awkward” and “illegitimate child.” He is an outcast from his physically awkward attributes to his sincerity that distinguishes him from the fake Russian aristocracy. He’s simply an outsider.
Furthermore, when he’s taken as a prisoner, he is traumatized by the unjustified executions and even more depressed then before. He then refuses to tell the French officers his true identity and it can be inferred that he is still uncertain of who he is. Pierre is need of hope!
Enter Platon Karataev, the saintliest peasant ever! Platon Karataev makes an important appearance in Book Twelve. Tolstoy presents him as an optimistic, kind Russian peasant who lives in the moment, forgetful of the past (he cannot even remember what he said a few minutes earlier!), and oblivious of the future. He quotes Russian proverbs at key moments, talks to the dog, and is pretty cheery. Pierre likes Platon's sincerity and enjoys his company.
What is your opinion of Platon Karataev? Knowing of Pierre’s sudden urges to pursue new ideas, do you think he will be influenced by Platon and have some kind of epiphany?