I did it! The book is finished! I can’t say I was too pleased with the second epilogue, but overall I did enjoy the book.
Basically in the second epilogue Tolstoy goes on a philosophical rant about how history is explained, which branches into another philosophical rant about free will or lack-there-of. He pretty much claims there is no such thing as free-will or freedom. Our every action is influenced in some way whether we are conscious of it or not, so in history when something unexpected happens it is not because of someone exerting their free will; it is just because we don’t know all the details we need to.
This conclusion is actually interesting and even thought-provoking but I had problems with the way it was presented, the main problem of which is PHILOSOPHY. I have not had good experiences with philosophy. It was my least-favorite college class. Mostly, I just really dislike the style all philosophers seem to use to make their points. For one, they labor on their points over and over. I’m the type of person who generally gets and idea the first time it’s explained. I don’t need things repeated over and over. I also hate that they always make up scenarios to supposedly support their arguments. As a person who regularly makes up stories and scenarios, I have a hard time believing that this made up story supports your argument you are trying to present as true and not made up. I don’t need a situation compared to beekeeping or whatever when it doesn’t have anything to do with beekeeping. Metaphors are fine in fiction, but they make no sense to me in philosophy. So that is why I really disliked the second epilogue.
But the second epilogue made me think about what purpose Tolstoy wanted from this book. Was he trying to use these stories and characters to make some kind of philosophical point? He probably was. I’m not really sure what it was, though. His characters didn’t really do anything to influence history. Just the historical characters, who I didn’t like and would have liked to see a lot less of. So I guess whatever meaning Tolstoy wanted me to get out of it, I just didn’t get.
But hey, now I can say that I’ve read War and Peace. (which I have already, several times). Is there a club I can join or something? Maybe I should start one…