War and Peace

War and Peace

by

Leo Tolstoy

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Sonya Rostov Character Analysis

Sonya, 15 at the start of the novel, is Count Rostov’s cousin. The Rostovs have taken her in because she’s orphaned and without means. She has strong romantic feelings for her second cousin Nikolai. However, because of her loyal sense of indebtedness to the Rostovs, she refrains from pushing Nikolai to marry her since it would be a financially poor match for him. In 1806, she rejects a marriage proposal from Dolokhov. Sonya is a humble young woman whos usually in the shadow of her best friend, Natasha. When Nikolai lives at Otradnoe during the winter of 1810, Sonya and Nikolai rekindle their romance. In response to Countess Rostov’s mounting hostility, however, she eventually writes to Nikolai to release him from his promise to marry her, sacrificing herself for the family’s wellbeing.
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Sonya Rostov Character Timeline in War and Peace

The timeline below shows where the character Sonya Rostov appears in War and Peace. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Volume 1, Part 1: Chapters 7–11
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Count Rostov’s 15-year-old cousin Sonya and Nikolai remain in the room. The count tells a guest that, out of friendship... (full context)
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When Nikolai flirts with the guest Julie Karagin, Sonya storms out of the room, and Nikolai hurries after her. Countess Rostov says that children... (full context)
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...conservatory and hides among the plants, waiting impatiently for Boris to find her. Soon after, Sonya comes in crying, followed closely by Nikolai. While Natasha watches, Nikolai takes Sonya’s hand and... (full context)
Volume 1, Part 1: Chapters 14–17
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...table, Nikolai defends the war with awkward warmth, earning praise from Julie Karagin (which makes Sonya blush). Natasha, dared by her little brother Petya, speaks out of turn, demanding to know... (full context)
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...around the clavichord and harp. Natasha is asked to sing, but she runs to find Sonya first and discovers her friend weeping in a corridor. Natasha cries in sympathy. Sonya explains... (full context)
Volume 1, Part 3: Chapters 6–9
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...to tell her the news first, swears not to tell, then immediately runs and tells Sonya. The cousins cry together. To Natasha’s astonishment, Sonya confides that she’s in love with Nikolai.... (full context)
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...letter. The whole family crowds into the room to hear the letter read aloud. When Sonya hears Nikolai’s affectionate greetings for her, she runs to the ballroom and twirls with delight. (full context)
Volume 2, Part 1: Chapters 1–6
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...suddenly pounce on him from all directions, weeping, kissing him, and all talking at once. Sonya, now turned 16, beams at him. The Countess weeps on Nikolai’s new Hungarian jacket. Denisov... (full context)
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...and Denisov oversleep, and Nikolai’s little brother Petya bursts into their bedroom, leaving Natasha and Sonya laughing at the brief, forbidden glimpse of the men. Nikolai comes out in his dressing... (full context)
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...room, Nikolai can tell that everyone is watching him to see how he behaves toward Sonya. He greets her formally as “Miss Sonya,” yet they exchange a tender look which assures... (full context)
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...suitor. For his part, Nikolai feels he’s matured beyond childish activities, including secret kisses with Sonya. He’s now a hussar lieutenant with adult acquaintances, including a lady he visits in the... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 1: Chapters 10–16
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...is one of the happiest in Nikolai’s life. Because of so many young, eligible girls—Vera, Sonya, and Natasha—there’s a romantic atmosphere in their home. When Nikolai brings Dolokhov home for a... (full context)
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...Dolokhov are there. When Nikolai gets home that evening, he notices an unsettled atmosphere around Sonya and Dolokhov and realizes something must have happened between them. After dinner, he takes Natasha... (full context)
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...again, Nikolai takes Dolokhov aside and asks if he’ll accept a promissory note. Dolokhov mentions Sonya, saying he knows she’s in love with Nikolai. Nikolai feels totally under Dolokhov’s power and... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 1–6
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...rooms above his, then a girl leans out the window above and calls tearfully for Sonya to admire the moonlight. He listens to Natasha for a long time until, overcome by... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 11–17
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...It’s Natasha’s first grand ball, and all day long, she’s been feverishly perfecting her mother’s, Sonya’s, and her own outfits. (full context)
Volume 2, Part 3: Chapters 18–22
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...day at the Rostovs’. Natasha is pale with nervous anticipation; Prince Andrei is surprisingly shy. Sonya won’t leave her friend’s side. Natasha later confides in the Countess that she’d first fallen... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 4: Chapters 1–6
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...see his family. He finds his parents much the same, but fretful about their affairs; Sonya, now 20, still exudes love for Nikolai. He chats with Natasha about her engagement and,... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 4: Chapters 7–13
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...of Nikolai having to sacrifice for her. Yet when she sees Nikolai’s growing devotion to Sonya, she feels angry. She feels even angrier because Sonya is so kind, selfless, and devoted... (full context)
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...in their own costumes and decide to pay a visit to a neighbor, Mrs. Melyukov. Sonya, in a Circassian outfit with a painted mustache and eyebrows, looks especially striking, and her... (full context)
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...sign, but if she hears the sound of pouring grain, it’s a good sign. Boldly, Sonya says she would try this. (full context)
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Something about the costumes and merriment has made Sonya glow more than usual, and Nikolai notices. When Sonya puts on her coat to walk... (full context)
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As they head home, Natasha picks up on something between Nikolai and Sonya and insists that they share a sleigh. Nikolai drives home more slowly, gazing at Sonya... (full context)
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At home, Dunyasha has set up mirrors in Natasha’s room. Natasha and Sonya peer into the mirrors for signs of their future. After a few minutes, Sonya moves... (full context)
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After Christmas, Nikolai tells his mother that he loves Sonya and intends to marry her. Though Countess Rostov has been expecting this, she tells Nikolai... (full context)
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A few days later, Countess Rostov speaks to Sonya with unexpected cruelty. She accuses Sonya of luring Nikolai and being ungrateful. Sonya feels ashamed... (full context)
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...put his affairs in order so that he can resign from the service and marry Sonya. Meanwhile, the Countess falls ill from the emotional strain. The Count needs to sell his... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 5–10
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At the end of January, Count Rostov arrives in Petersburg with Natasha and Sonya. They must sell the Moscow estate and prepare for Natasha’s wedding; Prince Andrei is expected... (full context)
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...time. Back at Marya Dmitrievna’s, however, she sobs in her room, longing for Andrei, while Sonya tries to comfort her. (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 11–13
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That night Count Rostov takes Natasha and Sonya to the Bezukhovs’ and is unhappy to find a frivolous crowd there. He keeps a... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 14–17
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When Sonya gets home that evening, she finds Natasha asleep in her room with the letter lying... (full context)
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Horrified, Sonya threatens to tell on Natasha; she feels ashamed for her friend. If Anatole isn’t comfortable... (full context)
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On one of their final days in Moscow, Natasha tries to talk to Sonya about Anatole, but they end up arguing about how Natasha will “ruin” herself. Sonya watches... (full context)
Volume 2, Part 5: Chapters 18–22
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The elopement plan was foiled when, earlier that evening, Marya Dmitrievna found Sonya crying in the hallway and got the truth out of her. She immediately locked Natasha... (full context)
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...to the successful conclusion of his estate business. When he finds Natasha ill and sees Sonya’s and Marya Dmitrievna’s embarrassed faces, he knows something must have happened between Natasha and her... (full context)
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Sonya intercepts Pierre on his way out. She says that Marya Dmitrievna has told Natasha about... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 1: Chapters 12–15
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...him to come home. Rostov tells them he’ll do his best. Separately, he writes to Sonya and tells her that duty calls him to war. However, if he survives the war... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 2: Chapters 13–14
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...same thing. He likes Marya—and her wealth would solve his family’s problems. Yet he made Sonya a promise. (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 10–14
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In the bustle surrounding Petya’s visit, Sonya is the only Rostov who deals with the practical details of leaving. Yet she feels... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 15–17
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...train of carts and carriages drives out of the Rostovs’ courtyard. Prince Andrei’s carriage catches Sonya’s attention, and when she learns who’s inside, she runs to tell the Countess. The Countess... (full context)
Volume 3, Part 3: Chapters 30–32
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The Count and Sonya go outside to look at the blaze; the Countess and Natasha stay inside. The Countess... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 1: Chapters 4–8
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Over supper, Nikolai remembers Sonya and panics, so before leaving the party, he takes the governor’s wife aside and, on... (full context)
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...doesn’t intend to propose, feeling this would be wrong because of his informal promise to Sonya, but he surrenders to (as it seems) irresistible circumstances, feeling that he’s being led somewhere... (full context)
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...in Princess Marya, the same temperament seems beautiful and angelic. He mentally compares her to Sonya, with whom he can picture a simple, predictable future life. But daydreams about Princess Marya... (full context)
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Lavrushka interrupts Nikolai’s prayers with some letters. The first letter is from Sonya. Nikolai immediately rips it open and, after reading it, stands wide-eyed with astonishment. Sonya has... (full context)
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Sonya wrote her letter from the Trinity monastery. Lately, Countess Rostov has been more and more... (full context)
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When the wounded Prince Andrei is discovered among the Rostovs’ wagon train, Sonya feels relieved. She knows that Natasha still loves Prince Andrei and that they’ll probably still... (full context)
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...stay at the Trinity monastery, Natasha has a long talk with Prince Andrei. She tells Sonya that she loves Andrei like before and can’t bear it if he dies. Sonya, too,... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 1: Chapters 14–16
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...approaches Yaroslavl, however, her grief over Andrei weighs her down again. When the carriage stops, Sonya and the Countess hurry to welcome her. The Count looks different from the last time... (full context)
Volume 4, Part 4: Chapters 1–3
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...like a child. The Countess is sobbing and beating her head against the wall while Sonya and the maids try to restrain her. Over the coming days, her mother retreats into... (full context)
Epilogue, Part 1: Chapters 5–7
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...to pay off the rest. He moves into a small apartment with his mother and Sonya. (full context)
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...realize how bad Nikolai’s situation is. He not only has to support the Countess and Sonya on a small salary, but to do so in such a way that his mother... (full context)
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In 1814, Nikolai and Princess Marya get married, and Countess Rostov and Sonya join the couple at Bald Hills. The marriage allows Nikolai to repay his father’s debts... (full context)
Epilogue, Part 1: Chapters 8–16
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...life. He treasures Princess Marya more and more. Marya knows of Nikolai’s past feelings for Sonya and tries to treat her kindly, but she secretly resents her. One day, after Marya... (full context)
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...at the dinner table, including his wife and three children, Natasha and her three children, Sonya, Marya’s nephew Nikolenka, and the late Prince Nikolai’s old architect Mikhail Ivanovich. From his gestures,... (full context)