When asked about his thoughts regarding the great men and women of society, George Bernard Shaw replied, “...they don’t exist. We believe in them a lot like we used to believe in unicorns and dragons. The greatest man or woman is ninety-nine percent just like yourself” (George). This concept remains hard to keep in accord with human nature. In the novel Fathers and Sons, Russian author, Turgenev, enshrines this human “goal” to become “great” and “powerful” symbolically in one character; Bazarov. He also characterizes the polar opposite of this goal in an ordinary, but respected individual; Arkady. In this tabloid society, it comes as no surprise that humans all want to have power, and that most anyone would go to nearly any heights to achieve such success. In the novel Fathers and Sons, Turgenev uses characterization to contrast fates between two characters to represent an idea; in life, the desire and need to attain power and fame leads to detrimental defeats. In order to accomplish this, two completely different characters as character foils; Bazarov and Arkady serve to show their lives being reflective of their fate. Although each male has distinct positive traits, only Bazarov has the hunger to become powerful in society. Arkady, however, prefers to listen in and evaluate situations and change himself for the better rather than changing his fame in society. Through the desire to achieve status, Bazarov loses true insight on what he truly values in life, which symbolically lead him to a devastating fate of loneliness and regret. Arkady endures life without power, leading him to a more noble reputation and a lasting companionship.
Bazarov’s fate in the novel is death; symbolic of power being...
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... strives to become powerful. Thus, Arkady’s fate in the novel is content, with everything he worked for in his life, at his side. On the other hand, Bazarov, consumed in society’s race for power, never truly gains any lasting love and concludes his scene in the novel on his deathbed. Together, the two characters represent a greater whole of society. In a world driven for success and power, the important assets of life can render lost. And ultimately, if too much time and dedication put forth serve to achieve a “name,” then in the end, nothing remains fruitful. So when examining George Bernard Shaw’s quote on normality, perhaps Arkady did in fact have a better overall life. Although he was not on the pedestal of success at all times, like Arkady, his fate was to keep living; symbolically, to keep living the life without the desire for fame, power, and name.
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