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MonkeyNotes-Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
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Chapter 5

Summary

On waking up, Bazarov decides to take a walk and catching hold of two young lads, he takes them with him to search for frogs, for scientific experiments.

Father and son have their tea on the terrace. Arcady frankly questions his father about Fenichka. He elaborates that she neednít feel ashamed and tries to convince his father that he didnít judge his father for his decision. Arcady insists on going and speaking to her and returns triumphant that he had spoken to her. Paul enters then, and casually inquires about Bazarovís whereabouts. He is told that Bazarov would be staying for a while, before moving on to visit his parents. Arcady reveals with secret enjoyment, that Bazarov is a Nihilist and is not surprised at their extreme surprise. The word 'Nihilist' is then discussed a man who will admit nothing, a person who looks at everything critically and will not accept any principle for granted.

Fenichka then appears on the scene, a young woman of about twenty-three, very soft and delicate. Nicholas looks embarrassed and she retreats. Bazarov arrives, holding a small sack. Paul questions him sarcastically when he is told that it contains frogs, but Bazarov is indifferent.


Notes

In this chapter we learn more about Bazarov, he approaches everything with a scientific objectivity. He is a rationalist.

Arcady realizes that he has to himself take the matter of Fenichka in his own hands. Though his father is embarrassed Arcady isn't. He realizes how time has made them switch places, with him now lecturing his father. He is compelled to take on the role of the more mature partner in their relationship as father and son. Arcady finally meets Fenichka and also his brother Arcady is quite happy with the situation and Nicholas is pleased at his ready acceptance of a new family.

When the word 'Nihilism' is dropped onto Nicholas and Paul, their reactions are not surprising. For them who belong to an older generation, nihilism meant everything that showed disrespect to the elders and a casual approach to life. Though Arcady attempts explaining it to them, they have already formed their opinion. Paul, not surprisingly feels that he had gauged Bazarov correctly earlier itself. Nicholas is slow to absorb the meaning it signifies but Paul is vindictive in his opinion. According to his generation, a man cannot move a step without principles, can not even breathe without principles. And Nihilists scorn principles and respect no established authorities.

The rift, which had already been formed, between Bazarov and Paul now shows definite signs of expanding and creating stress in the household.

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