Chapter 10 of Book 4 introduces a completely new side of Dolokhov compared to how he has been described previously in the book. Until now, we looked at Dolokhov as a character who did not seem capable of having a nice personality. He was very one sided, always causing trouble, and he did not seem to have many positive traits. This changes when Tolstoy describes how Dolokhov acts around his mother. His mother loves him passionately, and describes him has having a “lofty, heavenly soul” (286). Dolokhov continues to describe how he doesn’t care what other people think of him, as long as the ones he loves think highly of him.
So, the question is, who is the real Dolokhov? I understand that every human being is multi-dimensional. But I feel like these are two complete extremes of Dolokhov, and he has to be acting a little bit in at least one of his situations. He could be acting much tougher and arrogant than he actually feels. Or, he could be deceiving his mom into thinking he is a perfect gentlemen. Maybe he really is just very complex, and genuinely loves his mom and his family members and genuinely loves to stir up trouble.
I love how, just when it feels Tolstoy has given us a simple character, he adds the perspective of Dolokhov’s mom to remind us that every human has many characteristics and dimensions. So what do you guys think? Do you think that Dolokhov is really kind-hearted or mean-spirited? Or that maybe he has a little of both?