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Peace Thesis Statement

Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy that can be used as essay starters. All four incorporate at least one of the themes found in “War and Peace” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “War and Peace” in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “War and Peace” on our quotes page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

Topic #1 The Role of French in the Russian Court

One of Leo Tolstoy’s interests was the mixing of French language into upper crust Russian culture. Since Catherine the Great had adopted ideas of the European Enlightenment and brought the French language and culture to court, they held such great sway that many courtiers themselves did not speak their mother tongue, Russian. Tolstoy even wrote particular sections of War and Peace in French. Set during the time of Alexander I prior and during the war with Napoleon, the book explores not incidentally what Tolstoy sees as native values become obscured when the nobility has become enthralled with another culture. Choose a character, perhaps Helene, Vronsky, Anna, or Oblonsky and discuss the effect this isolation from what Tolstoy thought was the purer Russian culture has upon him or her. Then compare the character to the saintly Russian peasant Platon Karataev.

Topic #2 Family

Tolstoy explored the nature of the family in his second novel, Anna Karenina. The opening lines say this, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Nothing could be more true in War and Peace, families being one of Tolstoy’s favourite themes in his early work. One of the most unhappy families in War and Peace is the Kuragins. Examine Anatole in light of the corruption of his father.

Topic #3 An Exploration of History

One of the central themes of War and Peace is the nature of history. Rather than espouse the “great man” theory, in this case Napoleon, Tolstoy explores the many small elements, a sort of microcosm that brings about France’s invasion of Russian. Explore and analyse one or more of the battle scenes for Tolstoy’s vision of the individual’s contribution to history.

Topic #4 Nineteenth Century Realism

Tolstoy’s work in the first half of his career as a writer falls into the category of nineteenth-century Realism. Realism, championed by the great French writers Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, and Gustave Flaubert, concerns itself with verisimilitude, a blunt look at reality, not romanticizing circumstances or character but attempting to capture realistic detail like a camera. Analyse and explore the features of Realism in this selection.

“Heavens! what a virulent attack!” replied the prince, not in the east disconcerted by this reception. He had just entered, wearing an embroidered court uniform, knee breeches, and shoes, and had stars on his breast and a serene expression on his flat face. He spoke in that refined French in which our grandfathers not only spoke but thought, and with the gentle, patronizing intonation natural to a man of importance who had grown old in society and at court. He went up to Anna Pavlovna, kissed her hand, presenting to her his bald, scented, and shining head, and complacently seated himself on the sofa”

Here are a couple more to consider:

John Knowles' classic A Separate Peace explores how rivlary affects a friendship through character actions, dialogue and narration.

This sets you up for a body paragraph about character actions (Headmasters' Tea, Blitzball, the Winter Carnival), a BP that illustrates rivalry through conversation (in 10-11 Brinker talking about Leper and beginning to dominate Finny), and a really easy one narration(Gene tells his best secrets in 1-2 and 12).

A...

Here are a couple more to consider:

John Knowles' classic A Separate Peace explores how rivlary affects a friendship through character actions, dialogue and narration.

This sets you up for a body paragraph about character actions (Headmasters' Tea, Blitzball, the Winter Carnival), a BP that illustrates rivalry through conversation (in 10-11 Brinker talking about Leper and beginning to dominate Finny), and a really easy one narration(Gene tells his best secrets in 1-2 and 12).

A Separate Peace demonstrates humanity's struggle with maintaining relational peace through rivalry and character virtue.

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