Fathers and Children: a description of all the nuances

Turgenev Ivan Sergeyevich “Fathers and Children” – a brief analysis of the novel

“Fathers and Children” is a novel written by the Russian writer Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev in 1860 – 1861.

Explaining the intent of his work, Turgenev wrote that it was “directed against the nobility as an advanced class.” The creation of this novel comes at a critical moment in Russian society, when it is ripe for a split into two camps, two different generations with their own ideologies: “fathers” and “children”. One advocated a revolutionary way of fighting serfdom, the other – the reformist way. It is the conflict of changing generations that becomes the main theme of the novel – it is reflected in the title itself.

The plot

The novel takes place in 1859, almost on the eve of the peasant reform held in 1861.

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After graduating from university, Arkady Kirsanov returns to his family home in Maryino – to his father Nikolai Petrovich and his uncle Pavel Petrovich. Evgeny Bazarov, his comrade, arrives with him. Arkady is given a warm welcome, but Kirsanov’s relations with Bazarov do not work out. The point is that he is an ardent nihilist, which is acutely disliked by the aristocrat Pavel Petrovich. The difference in views leads to constant clashes between them, and neither of the two has any intention of giving in.

Nihilism is a philosophy that questions generally accepted values, ideals, norms of morality, culture.

The tense situation forces Bazarov to leave Maryino, and Arkady goes with him. In the provincial town they meet Kukshina and Sitnikov, who try to follow modern, progressive views, but are only a pale copy of the nihilists. Much more sympathetic to both young men is Anna Sergeevna Odintsova, whom they meet at the ball. In her presence, Evgeny Bazarov begins to behave differently than usual, it seemed to Arkady. Bazarov, who denies everything, including love, begins to have feelings for the young woman. Arkady also falls in love with Odintsova.

Anna Sergeyevna, however, rejects Bazarov, and Arkady becomes infatuated with her younger sister, Katya. The friends go to Evgeny’s parents for a while, where there is a rift between them: Arkady begins to doubt his companion’s ideals. Nevertheless, they soon leave Bazarov’s house together and return to Maryino.

The conflict between Bazarov and Pavel Petrovich reaches its peak when the young man kisses Fenechka, the lover of Nikolai Kirsanov. Pavel Petrovich challenges him to a duel, in which he is only slightly wounded. Bazarov returns to his parents and leaves him to his work. During the autopsy of a peasant who died of typhus, he accidentally cuts himself and gets blood poisoning. In fever, he asks to be sent for Odintsova, and before he dies he confesses his love for her.

Six months later, Arkady marries Katya, and Nikolai Petrovich marries Fenechka. Pavel Petrovich leaves the country. Life goes on as usual. And the tomb of the nihilist Bazarov is visited only by his aging parents.

Characteristics of the main characters

Evgeny Bazarov

Evgeny Bazarov is a novice doctor, a representative of a new generation, a follower of nihilistic views. “This is a man who does not bow to any authority, who takes no principle for granted, no matter how much respect is surrounded by this principle. ” – so says about his friend Arkady Kirsanov.

He denies everything: art, feelings, nature. And trusts only science, most of all values physical labor. Even towards his close people he behaves coldly and harshly. However, despite his outward firmness, Bazarov falls in love, which is completely contrary to his views. At the end of his life, he renounces his principles (or rather, his lack thereof).

Nevertheless, many situations reveal his nobility: for example, he gives a helping hand to Pavel Petrovich, who wounded him in a duel – bandaging the wound, calling for help.

Arkady Kirsanov

Arkady Kirsanov finds in his comrade, Bazarov, an authority, an example to follow. He is not at all like Evgeny; deep down he does not deny emotion and feeling, but tries to follow the new youthful current in everything. Even at first glance we can see that he is the opposite of Bazarov. In fact, he does not even understand the very essence of nihilism, completely succumbing to the influence of his friend. Eventually he realizes this, and his paths with Bazarov diverge.

Nikolai Kirsanov

Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov is Arkady’s father, a nobleman. Nikolai Kirsanov is a very gentle and kind man. Just like his son, he is a romantic, loves art – especially music and poetry. He took the death of his wife hard, but after a while he still found new happiness in the peasant Fenechka, whom he loved just as sincerely. Despite the fact that she was beneath him in social status, he eventually takes her as his official wife.

Pavel Kirsanov

Nikolai Kirsanov’s brother, Pavel Petrovich, is a true aristocrat. He pays a lot of attention to his appearance, manners. He is very ambitious and proud and considers himself a liberal, but in fact he expresses conservative views. Thus, he absolutely refuses to accept Bazarov’s views. Even through Pavel Petrovich’s portrait, one can see that, unlike Bazarov, he has never done physical labor: his hands are “beautiful, with long pink fingernails.” He devotes more time to idleness and reflection.

That said, there are many similarities between the two characters: expressing polar points of view regarding social and political realities, they are both quite dry, arrogant and stubborn. Like Evgeny, Pavel Petrovich falls hopelessly in love, due to which he closes himself off and decides to lead a secluded life away from home.

Bazarov’s Parents

Bazarov’s parents, Vasily Ivanovich and Arina Vlasievna, are typical village people, simple, kind and hospitable. They sincerely love their son, accept him in any way, even if they do not agree with his opinion on many things. Arina Vlasievna greatly misses her son, prays for him, and generally lives his fate. Vasily Ivanovich is a doctor who is ready to help anyone who needs help without compensation. The death of their only son becomes a blow to them, at the end of the book they seem to be the only ones grieving for him.

Anna Odintsova

Anna Sergeevna Odintsova, according to Bazarov, is a special woman, “unlike other women. She is intelligent and independent, but at heart calculating and overly pragmatic. Thus, she rejects Bazarov, but not because she has no feelings for him, but because she cares too much for her own peace and comfort. At the end of the novel she remarries, but not out of love, but out of conviction.

Catherine Lokteva.

Anna’s younger sister, Katya Lokteva, is nothing like her at all. She is more like Arkady-a sensual and romantic nature, though modest and closed-minded. Not surprisingly, Arkady later found his destiny in this girl.


Fedosya Nikolaevna, whom everyone called Fenechka – is a young peasant girl, who is just over 20. According to many, she is very beautiful, modest and pleasant, but rustic and poorly educated. Being an orphan, she is sincerely grateful to Nikolai Kirsanov for his kindness and tenderness. Eventually, a relationship develops between her and her baron, in which she gives birth to his son and then becomes his wife.

The main idea of the novel

The main idea of the novel Fathers and Children is to show the conflict both between two generations and between two radically different political views. Thus, the main conflicts unfold between Bazarov (a nihilist, representative of the new generation) and Pavel Petrovich (an aristocrat, a conservative); between parents and children, Nikolai Petrovich and Arkady, Bazarov’s parents and Evgeny himself. All these everyday conflicts become part of history: as already mentioned, the events described in the novel take place on the eve of the abolition of serfdom.

Problematics of the work

The main problem of the work follows from its title – it is the confrontation of “fathers” and “children”, the older and younger generations. At the same time, the writer pays much attention to the portrayal of feelings and internal experiences of the characters, and raises important issues, such as:

  • social inequality;
  • attitude towards the people;
  • attitude towards serfs;
  • the role of science and art in human life;
  • the relationship between children and parents, etc.

The Problem of Fathers and Children in the Novel

In fact, the problem of fathers and children was not new at the time of the novel’s creation. It is one of the eternal problems: the clash of two different generations takes place in any period of human history, and this theme does not lose its relevance today.

The content of this conflict lies in the fact that young people hold different views from the beliefs of the older generation, and they, in turn, refuse to understand and accept them. We see that Bazarov rejects all the principles of the “fathers” and rejects art and feelings. In his opinion, one should believe only in what is of material benefit – for example, in science.

A polar point of view is expressed by Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov: “I just want to say that aristocratism is a principle, and without principles to live in our time can only immoral or empty people. He appreciates traditions, habits and refuses to accept the changes that are brewing in society. He sincerely admires works of art and nature. Bazarov, on the other hand, sees purely pragmatic benefits in nature: for example, he catches frogs to teach him to heal.

But the most important aspect of this conflict lies in their views of society, of the Russian people. Kirsanov believes that the aristocratic nobility is the engine of social progress, and in their opinion, the state must follow the path of reform; Bazarov, on the contrary, is a revolutionary, and believes that aristocrats are useless to society.

Thus, although Pavel Petrovich glorifies the peasant community and patriarchalism, he is completely unable to communicate with the common people, while Bazarov proudly declares that his grandfather plowed the land. And so it is probably Bazarov who better understands the needs of the ordinary working people.

Bazarov’s convictions, however, have not stood the test of feeling. Nevertheless, when he receives Odintsova’s rejection, he accepts it with dignity. In exactly the same way, he accepts his own death with dignity, not sparing himself in order to avoid hurting his own parents more-this shows once again that deep down he loved them and cared about them.

In the epilogue, Turgenev writes of Bazarov that he is a man essential to Russia, a man of intelligence and non-stereotypical thinking. And despite the fact that in the novel Bazarov’s views fail, the writer sincerely loves this character and considers him “his favorite child.

Although the work was written almost two centuries ago, the problems that were touched upon in it have not lost their relevance. Which is more important: action or reflection? Who is right: the older or the younger generation? How should one relate to feeling, to art, to nature? Is science really more important than them? All these questions each new generation is trying to solve, coming into conflict with the previous one.

Analysis of Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Children

In the novel “Fathers and Children” I.S. Turgenev managed to convey the difference of views of different generations on historical, social, cultural events in society. At the same time, he emphasized those universal values that unite people, regardless of age.

A brief and complete analysis of the novel reveals how artistic means help to reveal the idea of the work.

The years of writing – 1860-1861. History of creation – the novel was created in England and in Russia on the eve of the abolition of serfdom and other reforms in 1861. Turgenev drew on the current situation, literally keeping his hand on the pulse of historical events. Genre – novel, social novel. Direction – realism. The main idea – To replace the old and obsolete structure of society should come a new one, which will make people’s lives happier. Theme – The clash of generations and the formation of a new type of people. Problem – The hero considers the basis of change to be the demolition of the old world order and the construction of a new one, but often the younger generation finds no worthy replacement for the old one. Composition – The circular composition is repeated twice in the novel. The characters go to Kirsanov’s estate – to Odintsova – to Bazarov’s parents. This emphasizes the repetition of life cycles, the similarity of the fates of people of different generations.

п.1. Theme and Problematics

1 Theme: The clash of the new socio-historical generation with the old one.

Issue: As much as young people deny the importance of family relationships, there is great resilience.

2 Theme: The confrontation between the ideology of conservative fathers and radical young people.

Problem: The conflict is heightened by the fact that aristocracy and democracy have a big difference in cultural issues as well. They are impenetrable worlds for each other.

3. theme: The place of love in human life.

Problem: The generation of “fathers” gives priority to love, while the young are more inclined toward self-actualization and socially useful activities.

p.2 Idea and Pathos (Ideological and Emotional Assessment)

Russia in the second half of the 19th century was overwhelmed by sociocultural and political contradictions, and Turgenev manages to convey this through the changes in the lives of several families. Family conflict escalates into social, social, and even political conflict. The natural “familism” that should keep the life of the generations in harmony is disrupted, with the elders becoming a support for the younger, and the young respecting the past and building a new future.

This period was a real test of spiritual capabilities for people of different generations, who had to find mutual understanding in the face of global contradictions.

item 3. main heroes (their place in the imagery system)

Evgeny Vasilyevich Bazarov – the main character, a medical student, nihilist and progressive. He believes in reason, usefulness, everything natural and natural, rejects art and the old principles of society. He denies love, but falls in love with Odintsova. He dies of typhoid fever. Arkady Kirsanov is Bazarov’s friend. At first he shares his views, but then he separates from them, choosing what is closer to him. He is infatuated with Anna Odintsova, but later falls deeply in love with Katya. Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov is Arkady’s father, a widower. A gentle man, who lacks the character to manage the estate and his subordinates. He realizes the difference between him and the youth, worries about the lost past. But he chooses to live, finding new happiness with Fenechka and his son. Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov is Arkady’s uncle, a former military man, a socialite. Bazarov’s ideological opponent. An unhappy man, living in the past and outdated principles. Anna Sergeevna Odintsova is a secular beauty, a widow. At first she provokes cynical mockery in Bazarov, but after they become close acquaintances, she develops feelings of love. She does not reciprocate Bazarov’s feelings, as she values calmness above all else, not passion. Before he dies, he visits him as a friend. Katya (Katerina Sergeevna) is Odintsova’s sister, who lives on her estate. An intelligent, sensitive girl with a strong character. A kindred spirit of Arkady, later becomes his wife. Fenechka is a simple girl, the daughter of Kirsanov’s housekeeper. Mistress of Nikolai Petrovich and mother of his son, later becomes his second wife. Bazarov’s sympathy, Pavel Petrovich’s secret love. Vasily Ivanovich Bazarov is Yevgeny’s father, an old man of 60, a retired military surgeon. He loves and worships his son and dreams of his brilliant future. Arina Vlasyevna Bazarov is Bazarov’s mother, a woman brought up according to ancient rules and customs. She believes in God, the devil and fairy tales. But most of all, in her son.

p.4 Literary devices

1. the chronicle character of the novel, the reference to an exact historical period. 2. Antithesis / Contrast / Opposition (nihilism of Bazarov – traditionalism of the elder Kirsanovs, passion of Bazarov – calmness of Odintsova, etc.) 3. Speech behavior of the characters – dialogue dispute, verbal struggle, polemic about important issues, disagreement. 4. Self-characterization of the characters through speech, speech details (from the words of Bazarov, Kirsanov, Odintsova and other characters it becomes clear what their nature is). 5. Landscape – as a reflection of the inner state of mind of the hero (Nikolai Petrovich from the contemplation of nature sinks into pleasant memories, etc.); – as a contrast that enhances the absurdity of human actions (beautiful pictures of the early morning on the day of the duel between Pavel Petrovich and Bazarov). 6. Lyrical digressions in which the author reflects on various phenomena – (reflections on emancipation, pictures of poverty and ruin on the approach to Kirsanov’s estate, description of Bazarov’s mother and landlords of this type, etc.)

clause 5 Conflict of the work

The main conflict is the confrontation between the generations. “Fathers” and “children” are separated not just by a difference of opinion, but by a chasm between the two types of worldview. The conflict is also intensified because the characters live at a critical historical moment for Russia.

Also interesting is Bazarov’s inner conflict. He denies love, romanticism, and affection, yet he falls in love with Anna Sergeyevna in such a way that he remembers it even before his death.

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