ENGL 2210 World Literature II

Tolstoy on Patriotism, Military and Government: Study Guide

Read: Letter to A Non-Comissioned Officer; Patriotism and Government

Unless indicated otherwise, all questions should be answered "according to Tolstoy's views," NOT yours.

"Letter to a non-commissioned officer"
  1. How do governments justify war?
  2. How do governments pervert Christianity? Why do they do it?
  3. Who are the armies composed of?
  4. How are soldiers convinced to shoot at their own people?
  5. Why do armies believe falsehoods? What are some of these falsehoods?
  6. How are soldiers fooled into believing in fraud?
  7. How does the Orhtodox Church maintain the fraud?
  8. How can man become free of this fraud?
  9. What are some of the Biblical "fables" that Tolstoy says we should free ourselves from?
  10. What are some of the more important teachings of Christ that man should follow, according to Tolstoy?
"Patriotism and Government"
  1. What does good patriotism constitute?
  2. Why is patriotism harmful?
  3. What would be wrong in believing that your country is the best, greatest country in the world?
  4. How is patriotism irrational?
  5. How has patriotism ougrown its usefulness?
  6. How is patriotism antiquated and superfluous?
  7. Who benefits from patriotism?
  8. How do governments "kindle" patriotism?
  9. Tolstoy seems to think that governments need patriotism to justify their existence. How true do you think this is today?
  10. Do you agree with Tolstoy that governments are more evil than the evil they try to protect people from?
  11. Tolstoy says that, by the nature of their activity, governments are composed of unscrupulous, perverted people. Do you think there is any truth to that? In their basic character, then, are soldiers and government officials who kill or ordir killings as perverted as criminals who kill?
  12. Tolstoy advises us to destroy governments. What's his way of destroying governments?
  13. How can peace on earth be established, according to Tolstoy?
  14. What's Tolstoy's answer to the charge that "if there is no government, people will violate and kill each other"?