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The Significance Of Different Relationships In "Fathers And Sons" By Ivan Turgenev

1464 words - 6 pages

In Turgenev’s novel, we are introduced to all sorts of relationships, be they romantic, familial, or platonic. The hero of this book, Bazarov, is quite an interesting character; he is liked by some, loathed by others, worshipped by one particular individual, but for the most part, he commands respect from all who meet him (which is given, if a bit grudgingly). His relationship with the Petrovich family is particularly interesting, as all three of the men have differing opinions on him.In the beginning of the novel, Arkady spends the majority of his dialogue raving and proclaiming at the top of his lungs how wonderful, brilliant and gifted his good friend Bazarov is. and Nikolai are surprised to see how much Arkady has changed after befriending the young nihilist. However, these feelings of worship and awe soon fade once Bazarov starts tormenting his family. Arkady shares that his father knows how to play the cello, and Bazarov mocks the fact that a middle-aged “pater familias” such as Nikolai would bother to continue on in music, which at the time, was something learned during childhood, but- unless you grew up to be a musician or entertainer- was quickly forgotten thereafter. (“Bazarov went on laughing, but Arkady, despite the respect in which he held his teacher, on this occasion did not even smile.” [p.45]) You can tell that Arkady does believe as wholeheartedly in the concept of nihilism as Bazarov- the story of Pavel Petrovich’s humiliation only serves as fodder for further mocking for Bazarov, and when Arkady tries to reason with him by saying that his uncle is to be pitied, not ridiculed, Bazarov shoots him down, then changes the subject. This is the first small bump in their relationship. Most of their arguments end like this- it has been noted that Arkady often loses arguments to his close friend, because although he is considered more eloquent (compare Arkady and Bazarov’s definitions of nihilism- Arkady’s is flowery and easy on the ear, while Bazarov’s is considerably more abrupt) but because Bazarov has a stronger personality, which explains why Arkady was so affected by him.The dynamic between Arkady and Bazarov is interesting to take apart- Arkady sees Bazarov as a mentor, an ideal, possibly what he wishes himself to be, because of Bazarov’s (supposed) superior intelligence, wit, moral fibre, etc. Bazarov treats Arkady like a little kid, talking down to him, acting condescending and snobbish (although one could argue that that’s how Bazarov treats everyone, but one would think that he’d be a tiny bit kinder to one of his “close friends”). It is noteworthy that while Arkady sings Bazarov’s praises, saying how much he’s learned from Bazarov and how much he means to him, Bazarov rarely-if ever – says anything complimentary about Arkady. Arkady stays by Bazarov’s side despite his faults, supporting him during Bazarov’s lowest point, when he is...

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