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Parts Of The Whole: Women In Lermontov's A Hero Of Our Time As Missing Pieces Of Pechorin

2017 words - 8 pages

Parts of the WholeWomen in A Hero of our Time as Missing Pieces of PechorinLermontov's Pechorin is the prototypical modern anti-hero. He is the "hero of destruction," wreaking havoc in his path. A relationship with Pechorin is akin to a death sentence. He brings women nothing but pain and loss. He is almost obsessive in his conquests of women. Women fascinate him; he is repulsed, feels superior to them, and yet he feels that he must dominate them. He is not capable of an extended relationship for the same reason that he cannot find a passion or career in life. Suffering from chronic ennui, he gets "used to" (40) everything in life. His "restless heart" (40) simply gets bored with anything and everything. He is a black hole. He sucks everything and everyone around him into his vacuum, taking everything they give until they are sucked dry. Nothing satisfies him. The void inside him can be temporarily sated by pursuing a woman, who he will love until he has captured her and then cast her aside. A self-proclaimed "moral cripple," (127) he lacks many of the essential qualities that make up a whole person. The three main women characters that we meet in A Hero of Our Time are three essential parts of his soul that are missing. Mary, Vera, and Bela represent the key spiritual virtues of hope, faith and love that Pechorin does not possess. In a twisted attempt to atone for his weakness, he conquers and destroys these women in an attempt to prove his superiority. He tries to assert that he does not need these qualities to survive. He is manipulative in his methods and ruthless in his destruction.Pechorin destroys the innocent dreams of love that Princess Mary once held. He disillusions her and breaks her heart without a qualm. Mary represents hope and innocence. She represents the young Russian high society. Her generation is the future of Russia. Mary is still a girl, yet Pechorin will disillusion her, and destroy her dreams of an idealistic romantic first love. Before her encounter with Pechorin, she is a very different person. She is filled with ideals and illusions, but she lacks experience. Fresh, like a newly blossomed flower, she is easy prey for Pechorin. He knows ahead of time that he will "pluck" her, "inhale [his] fill," and then "throw [her] away on the road" (123). She is young, impressionable and filled with childlike wonder. Her dark eyes are "velvety" and "lusterless," (87) like that of a small doe. Trusting, naïve, and deep; her eyes reflect her personality. She is not quick and worldly, instead she is soft and trusting. However she is has an arduous spirit. In her youthful optimism, she is seeking for that special something. Pechorin senses this, and picks up on the fact that quite simply she is under stimulated and bored. We learn early on that she enjoys discussing "sentiments" and "passions" (96)--subjects with which she has not had much experience, but wants to learn about. She is pure and noble in her "virginal gait."Pechorin...

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