Turgenevs Fathers and Sons


Fathers and Sons is a story about differences and conflicts, differences in
how people think, new vs. old and the conflict that having different views can
The story begins with Nikolai Kirsanov and his servant Piotr who are
awaiting the arrival of Arkady, Nikolai\'s son, who has just graduated from collage
and is returning home for a visit. Arkady arrives with a friend that he introduces as
Bazarov, Nikolai is pleased to meet the friend of his son and all four begin to head
back to Nikolai\'s farm that he calls Marino. Arkady and his father get into a
separate coach than Bazarov. On the ride back the father and son begin to talk
about how the farm has changed since he\'s been gone, and also warns him of the
fact that he is living with a servant, which is usually considered inappropriate. We
then begin to see Arkadys new way of thinking first show because he shows
himself as being unimpressed and not caring and assures his father that their quest
Bazarov doesn\'t care either.
At the arrival to Marino they are met by Prokofitch who is described as a
simpering old servant. Arkady is then met by his uncle Pavel, Pavel shakes hands
with Arkady but abruptly puts his hand away when he is greeting Bazarov. We can
see from the actions of Pavel that he immediately doesn\'t like Bazarov. After
Arkady and Bazarov leave to go to their rooms, Pavel begins to ask about the
"hairy creature" that is visiting with Arkady, and Bazarov begins to mock Pavel by
comments his European demeanor and finds him "terribly affected for someone
living so far out in the country"(ch4). Arkady and his father are also having
problems at this time, Nikolai tells Arkady of his relationship with Fenichka,
Arkady responds with saying that "You know my philosophy of life, and I would
hardly want to interfere with your life or your happiness"(ch5). Nikolai can tell
that his son has changed and he does not know how to accept these new ideas and
is thrown in to confusion by them. This is the start of a conflict between the two.
In the mean time while Bazarov is out catching frogs and Pavel ask Arkady about
his friend and is told that he is a Nihilist, Arkady explains that a nihilist is a
person who "examines everything from a critical point of view, a person who does
not bow down to authorities, who doesn\'t accept any principle on faith, no matter
how hollowed and how venerated the principle is."(ch5). Pavel is the extreme
opposite and believes that without principles it is impossible to exist. When
Bazarov comes back in, a conflict escalates between the two when he is greeted as
"Mr.Nihilist"(6) by Pavel. The argument between the two is a result of their
different views.
When the two are alone Bazarov makes several comments about Pavel,
Arkady defends Pavel by demanding that Pavels life story deserves some
sympathy, he then tells the story of Pavels life. Bazarov listens to the story about
Pavel and remarks that "a person who stakes his whole life on the card of a
womans love, then withers and sinks to the point of becoming incapable of
anything when that card is trumped, isn\'t a man, isn\'t a male."(7) Bazarov\'s
statement is important because we see that at the end of the story his own beliefs
are dismissed for the love of Madame Odintsova.
After a few more run in\'s with Pavel and with Arkady and his father not
being able to see things on the same basis, since Nikolai can\'t understand Arkadys
views even when reading them, the two boys decide to leave Marino and visit
Arkady\'s uncle Matvei Kolyazin, who invites them to a ball. This is where they
meet Viktor Sitnikov an old acquaintance of Bazarov\'s. At the ball is Odintsova, a
woman who has very liberal views. Arkady talks to Odintsova through out most of
the ball and begins to believe that he is in love with her. but she shows no interest
in Arkady and wants to know more about his friend Bazarov. When she finds out
that he is a nihilist she wants to meet him since she never met "someone who has
the courage not to believe in anything"(15). Arkady agrees to call upon Madame
Odintsova at her hotel. At the hotel we see that Bazarov is embarrassed in the
presence of her and is bothered