Essay: Fathers and Sons (1862 novel) (Page 2 of 2)

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  • Published on: January 23, 2019
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As the story unfolded, all forms of the ideologies were presented. Younger generations conflicted with the older generations as ideologies between the two are different. Differing views on political and social classes also collided. The issues that were presented in the novel were also likely to be applicable to the rest of Europe. I do think Turgenev used the novel to bring up these topics to push an agenda in the 19th century society.
 
The characters all have their own interesting ideology. In the novel we meet Arkady Nikolaevich who is a nihilist, but his ideology only seems to be so encouraged because of his mentor and friend, Evgeny Vasilevich Bazarov. Throughtout the novel Arkady’s character develops and progresses. We see him move from being a nihilist that reflects what his friend Bazarov is. It is the opposite of what he was raised, his father being a romantic and conservative, as his uncle Pavel who served in the military also a conservative. When Arkady and Bazarov go to visit Anna and Katya, Arkady listens to songs played on the piano by Katya, which would be against nihilist beliefs of tearing down anything and everything. We also see his romanticism develop as well, he becomes affectionate and falls in love with Katya. At the end of the book, after his marriage and moving with Katya to his father’s farm, we learn he has turned the farm around and has become more liberal. He adopted new progressive ideas and had the farm flowing smoothly.

Bazarov is a true nihilist, he doesn’t believe in authority, nor does he believe in showing affection, and has the true nihilist belief that everything must be torn down and everything must be condemned. Nothing can be believed and not the word of anyone should be believed except for scientific fact of what can be proven.

After Arkady graduates they both arrive at Arkady’s home. We meet Arkady’s father, Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov and uncle Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov, both are conservatives in the aristocratic class. Nikolai being romantic as well. I also think Pavel could also be a bit of a materialist, he seems to always wear fragrances and is always dressed nicely. He and Nikolai have an argument after some time with Bazarov. Pavel cannot bring himself to accept this nihilism and begins to despise Bazarov. The argument breaks out as Pavel can’t keep quiet any longer. Arkady hears the argument and steps in to side with Bazarov, Bazarov being the one arguing more fiercely in the belief of the nihilist view. During the argument Pavel says, “You’re condemning everything or, to be more precise, you’re pulling everything down, but surely you’ve got to build something as well.” (50) Bazarov replies with “That’ s not for us to do. First we’ve got to clear the ground.” (50) Arkady buts in “The contemporary state of the peasantry demands this, we must fulfil these needs, we don’t have the right to give in to satisfying our personal egoism.” (50) The book says that Bazarov is “displeased” of what Arkady added, being that his addition “smacked of philosophizing” which he relates to romanticism. (50) Here I think is when we see that Arkady isn’t truly involved in being a nihilist, only trying to follow his friend and mentor. A short time after the argument had taken place, Nikolai is in the garden. He is thinking to himself and reflecting, recalling how his brother Pavel had said their ideology was in the right. He seems to be having trouble with the nihilist ideology and how someone could “reject poetry” and “have no sympathy for art and nature.”(57)

Sometime after the argument Arkady and Bazarov head into town to take up on the invitation of Arkady’s relative to visit. There they meet Viktor Somich Sitnikov who we learn is a liberal. They also meet Avdotya Nikitishna Kukshina is a feminist that lives in a nearby home near where they’re staying in the town. Lengthy conversation takes place in the home of Kukshina. Kukshina is very talkative, her stance on women’s rights and feminism is shown. During a conversation Sitnikov says “Are you standing up for all these silly women?” (70)

Kukshina responds “Not for silly women, no, but for the rights of women, which I’ve vowed to defend to the last drop of my blood.” (70)

After this conversation, they head to the governor’s ball. Where they meet Anna Sergeevna Odintsova. During the ball Arkady is interested in her, but it seems she looks down on him. Bazarov doesn’t join in the conversation and sits by himself. They are invited to her house, so they join her. We learn that Anna Sergeevna has been married before but is widowed. She married for money and was left with everything she could ever need or want. I think Anna is our biggest representation of materialism. She does indeed have anything and everything she could want. She keeps order about how things are ran, otherwise she would become bored. She is also another example of liberalism, she shares in the ideas of progressives.

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