The title of War and Peace seems pretty straightforward and simple, which for the most part it is, however, I have still been pondering Tolstoy's choice. (After writing such a massive book, I imagine thinking of an adequate title would be quite trying.)
In class, we often remark as to how we are about to read a "war section" (groans abound) and then we go back to a "peace section." I'm not sure I see the distinction quite that way though. As I was trying to think of a way to try to express my ideas in writing I kept saying to myself: I don't see the title as "War... and ....Peace" but more like "WarandPeace." The first metaphor that came to mind was that of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Most people don't eat one piece of bread with peanut butter and then proceed to eat another piece of bread with jelly. The sandwich itself is indeed made up of two separate things jelly and peanut butter, but in my mind the result is a new mental object/association — the "peanut butter and jelly sandwich." The peanut butter and the jelly become inseparable. To me, when I read War and Peace I feel as though whether I am reading of a battle or of a Russian dance, both the peace scenario and war scenario are ever-present in my mind. I feel that this feeling is also true for many characters as well. While the men are at war, their mental state is still influenced by their family at home. Based on my observations, it seems that in many character's minds, such as Andrew, Nicholas, and the Old Prince, the events of peace time and war time must mix together in this mushy mess of chaos in their minds.
Thus, it seems to me that one way to interpret War and Peace would be rather than comparing the state of characters in the peace time to the war time, to instead observe how characters' lives are shaped by this ever-present mind of "mushy war peace mess of chaos."