Essay on Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons

Essay on Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons

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Ivan Turgenev is one of the greatest Russian writers of the nineteenth century. In his pieces, Turgenev shows deep concern for the tangible problems of Russia at that particular time, such as the evolution of peasants and intellectuals, the women question and the hierarchy of Russian population. In his masterpiece Fathers and Sons, Turgenev emphasizes the enormous difference between subsequent generations by describing their distinctive philosophical views and life ideologies.
The protagonists of the novel, Arkady and Bazarov, are two graduates who return to their homes wrapped up in new, inflexible philosophical views meant to give sense to their meanings and to bring enlightenment to the “ignorant” old generation represented by their parents. However, age is the only thing that unifies the two characters. Thus, they represent the young, enthusiastic generation that wants arduously to build its place in the world and to prove that it is better than the previous “backward” generation. Nevertheless, Arkady and Bazarov portray two completely different personalities. Bazarov is a simple but strong and self-confident character who is indifferent towards the emotional and spiritual world. He promotes the nihilism current, putting value in concrete, objective things rather than abstract ones. He states about Arkady’s father that he “wastes his time reading poetry,” and claims that “a good chemist is twenty times as useful as any poet.” In addition, he thinks of the old generation as being composed of “old idealists” who believe in romanticism and foolery. On the contrary, Arkady represents a simple but weak and uncertain character. He follows his great nihilist friend blindly promoting the belief in nothing and the skeptical analysis ...


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...ers Kirsanov often times find themselves speaking in French. Besides, some of the characters end up going abroad in Dresden or Heidelberg in search for something diverse. Also, the author describes in a subtle way the gradual increase of labourers’ and peasants’ social level in the society. Thus, they start to ask for increases in their wages and to quarrel among themselves over the division of property.
Overall, in the novel Fathers and Sons, Turgenev depicts the Russian rural everyday life in a very perceptive way. By appealing to simplicity and details, he makes the novel very persuasive attracting the readers’ attention. He manages to point out the concerning problems of the Russian society by picturing the intellectuals’ day by day life and their contradictory visions. In this way, Turgenev shows not only his own views but also his great writing talent.

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