“Sevastopol Stories” by Tolstoy in short summary

“Sevastopol Stories” by Tolstoy in short summary


Sevastopol in the month of December

“The morning dawn is just beginning to paint the sky over Sapun Mountain, the dark blue sea surface has already thrown off the darkness of the night and is waiting for the first ray to sparkle with gay brilliance, from the bay it bears cold and fog, there is no snow – everything is black, but the morning sharp the frost suffices for the face and cracks underfoot, and the distant incessant rumble of the sea, occasionally interrupted by rolling shots in Sevastopol, one breaks the silence of the morning… It can not be that at the thought that you, too, in Sevastopol, is of courage, pride and so that BL did not quickly apply to your veins… “Despite the fact that in the city are fighting, life goes: traders sell hot rolls, and the men – sbiten. It seems that the camp and peaceful life here are strangely mixed up, everyone is fussing and frightened, but this is a deceptive impression: most people no longer pay attention to either shots or explosions, they are engaged in “everyday business”. Only on the bastions “you will see… the defenders of Sevastopol, you will see there terrible and sad, great and amusing, but amazing, soul-raising spectacles.”

In the hospital, wounded soldiers tell of their impressions: the one who lost his leg does not remember the pain, because he did not think about it; in a woman who carried a lunch to her husband’s bastion, a shell hit her, and she was cut off her leg above the knee. In a separate room, bandages and operations are done. The wounded, waiting for their turn to the operation, are horrified to see how doctors amputate their arms and legs to their comrades, and the paramedic indifferently throws the cut off parts of the bodies into a corner. Here you can see “terrible, breathtaking spectacles… the war is not in the right, beautiful and brilliant system, with music and drumbeat, with fluttering banners and prancing generals, but… the war in its present expression is in blood, in suffering, in death… “. A young officer, who fought on the fourth and most dangerous bastion, complains not about the abundance of bombs and shells falling on the heads of defenders of the bastion, but on the mud. This is his defensive reaction to danger; he behaves too boldly, cheekily and at ease.

On the way to the fourth bastion less and less non-military people meet, and increasingly there



are stretchers with the wounded. Actually on the bastion the officer-gunner behaves calmly. He tells how, during the assault on the fifth day, only one active weapon remained on his battery and very few servants, but on the next morning he again burned out of all the guns.

The officer remembers how the bomb hit the sailor’s dugout and put eleven people to rest. In the faces, posture, movements of the defenders of the bastion, “the main features constituting the strength of the Russian are seen: simplicity and stubbornness, but here on each face it seems to you that the danger, the malice and the suffering of war, in addition to these main signs, have paved traces of consciousness of their dignity and high thought and feeling… Feeling of anger, vengeance to the enemy… is hidden in everyone’s soul. ” When the nucleus flies directly to a person, it does not leave a sense of pleasure and fear at the same time, and then he himself expects the bomb to explode closer, because “there is a special charm” in such a game with death. “The main thing, the joyful conviction that you have borne, is the conviction that Sevastopol can not be taken, and not only take Sevastopol,

Sevastopol in May

Six months have passed since the beginning of hostilities in Sevastopol. “Thousands of people’s pride have had time to be offended, thousands were satisfied, inflated, thousands – to calm down in the embrace of death.” The most just solution is to resolve the conflict in an original way; if two soldiers fought, and the victory would be for the side whose soldier will win. Such a decision is logical, because it is better to fight one on one than one hundred and thirty thousand against one hundred and thirty thousand. In general, the war is illogical, from Tolstoy’s point of view: “one of two things: either war is insanity, or if people do this madness, then they are not at all rational creatures, as for some reason we are supposed to think”

In the besieged Sevastopol on the boulevards go military. Among them – an infantry officer Mikhailov, a tall, long-legged, stooped and awkward man. He recently received a letter from a friend, a retired ulan, in which he writes how his wife Natasha watches the newspapers with enthusiasm for the movements of his regiment and the exploits of Mikhailov himself. Mikhailov bitterly recalls his former circle, which was “so much higher than the present that when in moments of frankness he happened to tell infantry comrades how he had his droshky, how he danced at the governor’s balls and played cards with the civilian general” , he was listened indifferently, incredulously, as if not wishing only to contradict and prove the opposite

Mikhailov dreams of a promotion. He meets Captain Obzhogov and Ensign Suslikov, servants of his regiment, on the boulevard, and they shake his hand, but he wants to deal not with them, but with “aristocrats” – for this he walks along the boulevard. “And since there are a lot of people in the besieged city of Sevastopol, and therefore there are many vanities, that is, aristocrats, despite the fact that every minute death hangs over the head of every aristocrat and non-aristocrat… Vanity! It must be a characteristic trait and a special one the illness of our century… Why in our age there are only three kinds of people: some – the vanities that take the origin as a fact, need an existing, therefore just, and freely obeying him, others – accepting him as an unfortunate but insurmountable condition, and third – consciously slavishly acting under its influence… “

Mikhailov twice hesitantly passes by the circle of “aristocrats” and, finally, dares to come and say hello. “Aristocrats” are the adjutant Kalugin, Prince Galtsin, Lieutenant Colonel Neferdov and captain Praskukhin. In relation to Mikhail Mikhailov, they behave rather arrogantly; for example, Gal’tsin takes him by the arm and walks a little back and forth just because he knows that this sign of attention should give the staff captain pleasure. But soon the “aristocrats” begin to talk demonstratively only with each other, thus letting Mikhailov know that they no longer need his company.

Returning home, Mikhailov recalls that he volunteered to go next morning instead of a sick officer on the bastion. He feels that he will be killed, and if they do not kill, they will surely be awarded. Mikhailov consoles himself that he has acted honestly that it is his duty to go to the bastion. On the way, he wondered where he might be injured – in the leg, in the stomach or in the head.

Meanwhile, the “aristocrats” drink tea from Kalugin in a beautifully arranged apartment, play the piano, recall Petersburg acquaintances. At the same time, they behave not so unnaturally, as importantly and pompously as they did on the boulevard, showing their “aristocracy” around them. An infantry officer enters with an important mission to the general, but the “aristocrats” immediately accept the former “inflated” appearance and pretend that they do not notice the person who entered. Only after passing the courier to the general, Kalugin becomes imbued with the responsibility of the moment, announces to comrades that a “hot” business is to be.

Galtsin asks if he should go on a sortie, knowing that he will not go anywhere, because he is afraid, and Kalugin starts to dissuade Galtzin, also knowing that he will not go anywhere. Gal’cin goes out and starts walking aimlessly back and forth, not forgetting to ask the passing wounded people how the battle is going and scold them for retreating. Kalugin, going to the bastion, does not forget to show off his courage in passing: he does not bend over the whistling of bullets, takes a dashing pose on horseback. He is unpleasantly struck by the “cowardice” of the battery commander, whose bravery is legendary.

Not wanting to risk vain, half a year spent on the bastion of the battery commander in response to Kalugin’s demand to inspect the bastion sends Kalugin to the guns, along with a young officer. The general orders Praskukhin to notify Mikhailov’s battalion of redeployment. He successfully delivers the order. In the dark under enemy fire, the battalion begins to move. At the same time, Mikhailov and Praskukhin, walking side by side, think only of what impression they make on each other. They meet Kalugin, who, not wanting to “expose himself” once again, learns about the situation on the bastion from Mikhailov and turns back. A bomb explodes near them, Praskukhin perishes, and Mikhailov is wounded in the head. He refuses to go to the dressing station, because his duty is to be with the company, and besides, for the wound he is given a reward. He also believes, that his duty is to take the wounded Praskukhin or make sure that he is dead. Mikhailov crawls back under fire, is convinced of the death of Praskukhin and returns with a calm conscience.

“Hundreds of fresh, bloodied bodies of people, two hours ago full of various high and small hopes and desires, with stiff limbs, lay on the dewy blooming valley that separates the bastion from the trench, and on the level floor of the dead chapel in Sevastopol, hundreds of people – with curses and prayers on dry lips – they crawled, turned and moaned, – alone among the corpses in the flowering valley, others on stretchers, on bunks and on the bloody floor of the dressing station, and all the same as in former days, the lightning over Sapun Mountain, the merz paled Starling stars, pulled a white fog from a noisy dark sea, a scarlet dawn lit in the east, the crimson long clouds on the bright azure horizon flared up, and just like in the old days, promising joy, love and happiness to the whole revived world, , a beautiful light. “

The next day the “aristocrats” and other military men stroll along the boulevard and vying with each other about the “business” of yesterday, but in such a way that they mostly state “the participation that they took and the courage that the narrator said in the affair.” “Each of them is a little Napoleon, a little monster and is now ready to start a battle, to kill a man a hundred for that just to get an extra star or a third of the salary.”

Between the Russians and the French, a truce is declared, ordinary soldiers freely communicate with each other and, apparently, do not feel any enmity towards the enemy. A young cavalry officer is just glad to be able to chat in French, thinking that he is incredibly smart. He discusses with the French how inhumane they started together, meaning the war. At this time, the boy walks on the battlefield, collects blue field flowers and looks at corpses with astonishment. White flags are on display everywhere.

“Thousands of people are crowding, watching, talking and smiling at each other, and these people – Christians who profess one great law of love and self-sacrifice, looking at what they have done, will not suddenly fall to their knees with repentance before the one who gave them life, put his love for good and beautiful with the fear of death, and with tears of joy and happiness, they will not embrace like brothers? No, white rags are hidden – and again the instruments of death and suffering are whistling, pure innocent blood flows again and moans are heard and curses… Where is the expression of evil, which must be Where is the expression of the good to be imitated in this story, who is the villain, who is her hero? All are good and all are bad… The hero of my story, which I love with all the strength of the soul, which I tried to reproduce in all its beauty and which always was, is and will be beautiful – the truth “

Sevastopol in August 1855

From the hospital, the lieutenant Mikhail Kozeltzov returns to the position, a respected officer who is independent in his judgments and in his actions, an intelligent, largely talented, skilful author of state securities and a talented narrator. “He had one of those vanities that merged with life to such an extent and which most often develops in some men’s, and especially military circles, that he did not understand another choice, how to excel or be destroyed, and that self-esteem was the engine of even his inner motivations. “

A lot of travelers were gathered at the station: there are no horses. Some officers heading to Sevastopol do not even have money to lift, and they do not know what means to continue on their way. Among the waiting there is also the brother of Kozeltsov, Volodya. Contrary to family plans Volodya for minor offenses went not to the guard, but was sent to the army. He, like every young officer, really wants to “fight for the Fatherland”, and at the same time and serve where he is the elder brother.

Volodya is a handsome young man, he is timid before his brother, and he is proud of him. Senior Kozeltzov suggests his brother immediately go with him to Sevastopol. Volodya seems to be embarrassed; he does not really want to go to war, and, besides, he, sitting at the station, managed to lose eight rubles. Kozeltsov of the last money pays the debt of his brother, and they begin to move. On the way, Volodya dreams of the heroic deeds that he will undoubtedly commit in the war with his brother, his beautiful death and dying reproaches to all the others for the fact that they did not know how to appreciate “truly loved the Fatherland” during their lifetime, etc.

Upon arrival, the brothers go to the farce of the officer in charge, who recounts a bunch of money for a new regimental commander, who has a “farm”. No one understands what caused Volodya to abandon a calm, violent place in the distant rear and to come without any benefit to the belligerent Sevastopol. The battery, to which Volodya is attached, stands on the Ship, and both brothers go to sleep over to Mikhail on the fifth bastion. Before that, they visit Comrade Kozeltsov in the hospital. He is so bad that he does not immediately recognize Michael, awaits a quick death as a way out of suffering.

After leaving the hospital, the brothers decide to disperse, and accompanied by batman Mikhail Volodya leaves for his battery. The battery commander suggests that Volodya spend the night in the cot of the captain, who is on the bastion itself. However, Venger’s cadet is already asleep on the bed; he has to give way to the arriving ensign. At first Volodya can not fall asleep; It is then afraid of the darkness, the premonition of a near death. He earnestly prays for deliverance from fear, calms down and falls asleep to the sound of falling shells.

Meanwhile, Kozeltsov the elder comes to the disposal of the new regimental commander-his recent comrade, now separated from him by a wall of subordination. The commander is dissatisfied with the fact that Kozeltzov returns prematurely, but orders him to take command of his former company. In the company Kozeltsova greeted joyfully; it is evident that he is highly respected among soldiers. Among the officers, he also expects a warm welcome and a sympathetic attitude towards the wound.

The next day, the bombing continues with renewed vigor. Volodya begins to enter the circle of artillery officers; one can see their mutual sympathy for each other. Especially Volodya likes Junker Vlang, who in every way foresees any desires of the new ensign. From the standpoint comes the good Staff Captain Kraut, a German, very correctly and too beautifully speaking in Russian. There comes a conversation about abuse and legalized theft in senior positions. Volodya, blushing, assures those gathered that such a “ignoble” thing will never happen to him.

At a dinner with the battery commander, everyone is interested, conversations do not stop even though the menu is very modest. An envelope comes from the chief of artillery; An officer with a servant to the mortar battery at Malakhov Kurgan is required. This is a dangerous place; no one himself is called to go. One of the officers points to Volodya and, after a short discussion, he agrees to go “to fire” Together with Volodya they send Vlanga. Volodya takes up the study of the “Guidelines” for artillery fire. However, upon arrival on the battery, all the “rear” knowledge turns out to be unnecessary: ​​shooting is conducted randomly, no nucleus by weight even resembles those mentioned in the “Manual”, there are no workers to repair the broken tools. In addition, two soldiers of his team are wounded, and Volodya himself is repeatedly on the verge of death.

Vlang is very much frightened; he is no longer able to hide it and thinks solely about saving his own life at any cost. Volodya is “a bit scary and fun.” In the dugout of Volodya, his soldiers also sit out. He talks with interest Melnikov, who is not afraid of bombs, being sure that he will die another death. Having mastered the new commander, the soldiers begin to discuss at Volodya how the allies under the command of Prince Constantine will come to their aid, as both warring parties will rest for two weeks, and for each shot they will then take a fine, as in the war the month of service will be considered year, and so on.

Despite Vlang’s entreaties, Volodya leaves the dugout for fresh air and sits until the morning with Melnikov on the threshold, while bombs are falling around and bullets whistle. But in the morning the battery and tools were already in order, and Volodya completely forgot about the danger; he only rejoices that he is doing his duty well, which does not show cowardice, but, on the contrary, is considered brave.

The French assault begins. Half-asleep Kozeltzov jumps out to the company, most sleepy awake, so that he is not considered a coward. He snatches his little saber, and runs ahead of all on the enemy, shouting encouraging the soldiers. He is wounded in the chest. Waking up, Kozeltzov sees the doctor examining his wound, wiping his fingers on his coat and sending a priest to him. Kozeltzov asks whether the French are beaten; the priest, not wanting to upset the dying man, said that the victory was for the Russians. Kozeltsov is happy; “he thought with an extremely gratifying feeling of complacency that he had done his duty well, that for the first time in his entire service he had acted as good as possible, and could not reproach himself in anything.” He dies with the last thought of his brother, and Kozeltzov wishes him the same happiness.

The news of the storm finds Volodya in the dugout. “It is not so much the kind of tranquility of the soldiers, how much the junker’s pathetic, unconcealed cowardice stirred him up.” Not wishing to be like Vlang, Volodya commands easily, even cheerfully, but soon he hears that the French are avoiding them. He sees very close enemy soldiers, it is so amazing that he freezes in place and misses the moment when you can still be saved. Next to him from the bullet wounded Melnikov. Vlang tries to shoot, calls Volodya to run after him, but jumping into the trench, sees that Volodya is already dead, and in the place where he just stood, the French are and shoot at the Russians. A French flag flies over the Malakhov Mound.

Vlang with a battery on the steamer arrives in a safer part of the city. He bitterly mourns the fallen Volodya; to which he really became attached. Retreating soldiers, talking among themselves, notice that the French will not stay in the city for long. “It was like feeling like remorse, shame and anger.” Almost every soldier, glancing from the North side to the abandoned Sevastopol, sighed with inexpressible bitterness in his heart and threatened his enemies. “



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“Sevastopol Stories” by Tolstoy in short summary