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The Russian writer, Mikhail Morgulis ,remarked to me that children will not listen to their parents, but they will watch. It is not our words, but our actions that determine how we will be judged. Examine the words and actions of Bazarov, Arkady, Pavel and Arkady’s father and determine if their actions are consistent with their words.

17 Responses to “Fathers and Chidren (Sons)”

  1. Anna Mackey says:

    Bazarov spins a web for himself of lofty nihilist ideas while accusing others of inaction, even though he himself does nothing but preach (but is then sure to give a nonchalant shrug or yawn). The first time he ever really takes any action is when he declares his love for Anna, but that is still of course done through words. However, his words for the first time have meaning behind them; they show some kind of passion, some kind of human emotion that he so often disregards, and that is what makes them real. Arkady is at first perhaps the greatest contradiction between words and actions. He follows around Bazarov, simply repeating and agreeing with whatever his mentor says, never acting or even thinking for himself. However, he does at times try to act upon the philosophy set before him by Bazarov – we see him physically take away the Pushkin his father was reading and replace it with a German book, for example – but he ultimately just comes across as a good-hearted boy, unsure of himself or his ideals, mesmerized by the older, cooler Bazarov. Nikolai too is kind-hearted but rather hollow, although he almost has the opposite problem of Bazarov – many actions but no real conviction behind them. He attempts to do all he can to keep up with the times. He says, “I have started a model farm; I have done well by all the peasants…I read, I study, I try in every way to keep abreast with the requirements of the day” (36), however his actions seem not to take on greater meaning with no greater philosophy behind them (he falls silent during Bazarov and Pavel’s argument). Pavel is the character who seems most consistent with his words and his actions, but he ultimately hides behind his aristocratic nobility in order to escape all that his lonely life lacks.

  2. Laura Howard says:

    It is apparent from the beginning of the book that Bazarov is the leader, and Arkady the follower. Therefore, we can thank the author for making it clear to us that when Arkady’s actions are inconsistent, it is only because he knows no better and is in the midst of finding his way in what has been shown to us a s a very confused philosophical world. Still, Bazarov represents some inconsistencies as well. The still-vague aspects of the whole idea of Nihilism are evident during Bazarov’s and Pavel’s conversation on page 40, when Bazarov speaks of his being acknowledged by peasants as a fellow countryman in favor of Pavel. Pavel’s response that “you talk to him [the peasant] and despise him at the same time” is Pavel’s interpretation of nihilism’s fluctuation in actions and words.
    There are other instances, however, when Bazarov stays true to his nihilist tendencies, such as when both attend the ball at the Governor’s. There, Arkady “danced badly”, while Bazarov “did not dance at all”. Poor Arkady is so stuck in the middle that he cannot pick either one or the other, and simply half-heartedly tries to stay involved. In a similar case, Arkady thinks himself above his father, and tries to put these thoughts into actions, such as switching out his father’s book, but then finds himself either sticking up for his father or staying silent. As Katherine says, “no human behaves consistently”, and the young, especially, are still trying to come to terms with their convictions.

  3. Russell Jacobs says:

    The general consensus above seems to be that the actions and the words of some of the characters are inconsistent and I’m inclined to agree. Arkady’s interest in music interferes with his “nihilism.” Both his and Bazarov’s feelings for Odinstov compromise their new beliefs, too. Pavel seems to have retreated, somehow, from a life where he passionately pursued love, to one that his younger self might consider more severe and structured. His new perspective allows him to enjoy life in the country with his brother. Nikolai’s professed ideas about serfs and liberation, as evidenced in his initial conversation with Arkady on the trip back to the estate, seem antithetical to his new living arrangements and his attempts to stay on the cusp of social progress by visiting with Arkady in Petersburg. As Juan points out, “love” seems to be the axis on which actions and words tend to swing away from one another. If the older generation, Nikolai and Pavel, are slightly more advanced than their words would have us believe, though, and Barazov and Arkady are perhaps less free from the conventions of society than they would have us think, is the implication that the generations are not as distant from one another as they seem? Would that augment Barazov’s stated position that humans are essentially the same? Or Pavel’s that Barazov is not as original as he believes himself to be? We’ve reached a point in the novel, too, where Barazov’s faith in faithlessness is being challenged and there’s plenty of potential for reversals (i feel like his final interaction with Odinstov indicates that perhaps they’ve somehow switched perspectives, although hers was never quite clear). Words and ideas seem, to Turgenev, somehow secondary to the emotional lives of his characters. It reminds me of the way Chekhov’s characters seem, at times, to ruin themselves by allowing their lives to be ruled by ideas.

  4. Juan Machado says:

    I’d like to explore the question of why there may exist a discrepancy between words and actions in the first place. It is remarkable that in the first half of Father and Children three of the main characters have had encounters with women that led them to act in a fashion contrary to what would be expected of them. Nikolai Petrovich married a “progressive young woman,” the daughter of a low-ranking civil servant, to the “considerable dismay” of his parents. He moved away with his wife, forsaking a position at the Ministry of Crown Domains, where his father expected him to work. His brother Pavel Petrovich, in turn, was a handsome man and “a brilliant career lay ahead of him.” That changed when he fell madly in love with a woman, and in order to chase her abroad “he retired, in spite of entreaties by friends and pleas by superiors.” Finally, there is Barazov, the self-proclaimed nihilist who despises romanticism. He, however, falls in love in Odintsova, becoming a victim to “something he’d always mocked, something that irritated his pride.” From these three prominent examples, I think it is fair to conclude that in Turgenev’s work male characters often have a set vision of who they are and what they want to accomplish. That vision, however, can be radically thrown out of the window when they meet a certain woman. Falling in love in a way unmasks these characters and reveals their true nature, and not the nature they project with their words.

  5. Brandt Silver-Korn says:

    I think that Romany said it perfectly: “everyone is hypocrite”.

    Bazarov essentially professes to be the epitome of a nihilist, without any room for exception. Yet he puts himself on a pedestal among his peers (and his elders) to such an extent that he has “disciples”, which entirely contradicts the basic nihilist premise of individuals “not respecting authority.” Furthermore, Bazarov sinks low enough to insult and criticize Madame Odintsov to try and mask his own feelings, and yet these criticisms of women are in themselves the act of taking a position (something nihilists would not do). Turgenev could not have possibly been supporting Bazarov or the nihilism Bazarov professes. As it was mentioned earlier, nihilism rejects art and Turgenev is an artist. I assume Pushkin influenced Turgenev, and yet Bazarov sees “no earthly use” to Pushkin. Bazarov talks a big game, but in my mind, it is merely his post-graduating ego at work. He arrogantly claims, “I have my own ideas” and that he does not adopt ideas from anyone else. And yet he has goes around recommending books, like Stoff und Kraft. His love for champagne and Anna are just further examples of he cannot help but succumb to youthful vices.

    At least Bazarov gives off an appearance/aura of conviction. Arkady is just one big follower. Bazarov states in his argument with Pavel, “ ‘…that proves nothing’” and Arkady immediately and comically follows with, “ ‘It just proves nothing’.” Arkady internally rejects many of the things Bazarov says and does, and yet he persists in vocally supporting him, while staying silent in any area of dissent. As stated earlier, he is clearly torn between traditional and modern ways of thinking. When Bazarov calls Nikolai behind in the times, all Arkady does is stay silent. But then he goes and tries to give his father Stoff und Kraft.

    I think Turgenev paints Pavel an individual who was once a man of action but has since descended into the epitome of the useless aristocrat. He pathetically chases a lost love around Europe and currently just stays at Nikolai’s estate. And yet he dresses and smells impeccably. It all seems to serve no purpose but an attempt to cling on to his youth. He sticks to his convictions and beliefs (so in a way he does act on them) yet one cannot help but notice how ineffective his life has been.

    Nikolai is also a hypocrite, but I believe a more self-realized hypocrite. He knows that he is behind in the times so he attempts to act more modern through trying to read the book and playing the violin. He even talks as if he is adept in modern reform, yet like it is mentioned earlier, simply cannot even aptly run his farm, because he is still inherently a traditionalist.

  6. Kelsey says:

    Pavel, Nikolai, Arkady, and Barazov all are inconsistent and hypocritical in their own ways. Arkady speaks of standing for something, of the great new philosophy of nihilism, when he has not thought it through for himself and is only puppeting what Barazov says. Barazov speaks of the need to destroy all institutions, but has nothing to put in their place and only has power and attention while the old institutions are there to be criticized. Nikolai wants to be a good father and a man of the times, but he is perpetually timid and hesitant, looking to his son and his brother to show him how to act. Pavel has a very narrow definition of dignity and respectability, one that overlaps largely with the definition of the Russian aristocracy. He claims that these values are essential for the future when he is constantly living in the past. All of these characters seem delusional or confused about what they really want, leading their words to give them to profess very different opinions than they do.
    At the same time, however, Arkady is his father’s son. He is similarly lacking confidence in his own opinions, impulsively speaking and handling situations, worrying much, romantic, simply pleased, and constantly trying to keep up. Arkady may differ from his father in philosophy, life choices, friends, and goals, but he has watched what sort of man his father is and grown very like him.

  7. Katherine Burdine says:

    Much of what gives these four characters–Bazarov, Arkady, Nikolai, and Pavel–their interest and lifelike qualities is the disconnect between their thoughts, their beliefs, their words, and their actions. No human behaves consistently, especially the young. We profess one thing and then do something else. We believe something and then act in a manner contrary to those beliefs. The main characters of Fathers and Sons do the same.

    Arkady, allowing his own beliefs to be subsumed under Bazarov’s, professes nihilism but cannot entirely eradicate his love of nature and music. Bazarov would like to believe himself cold and practical, a pure creature of science bent on destruction, but he proves himself as vulnerable to “romanticism” as any other young man, falling in love with Madame Odinstov. Nikolai would like to think of himself as progressive, and in certain respects he is. Seeking to bridge the generation gap with his son he goes to Petersburg and meets progressive people, listens to their talk, occasionally even interjects an opinion of his own. But, while he wants to be open-minded he finds he has no real sympathy for the radical ideas flying around Saint Petersburg. There is a gap between what he WANTS to believe and what he actually does believe.

    Of all the four characters, Pavel appears to me to be the most free of this kind of hypocrisy. He professes his belief in Russia’s existing institutions, in patriarchal society and his belief is sincere and unfeigned. However, unlike the others he does not examine or qualify his beliefs; he does not reflect or ask why, rather he takes for granted the privileges he is accustomed to.

  8. Alexandra Siega says:

    Bazarov is characterized by his extreme, nihilist approach to the world: he supposedly cares about nothing except the constructed, rational world of science. He comments upon romanticism with the greatest scorn, and has an approach to life that I would characterize (hopefully in a way that makes sense) as an active passivity: he makes a conscious effort to be indifferent to everything and all. In this way, he acts upon his word, for he regards his surroundings with a coolness that suggests his lack of caring, an element which irritates Arkady’s uncle, Pavel, most of all. However, Anna Sergeevna changes Bazarov in a way that tests his nihilist ideals. Upon their first meeting, Bazarov is able to admire her in a rational fashion. He comments to Arkady about the madame the following day in scientific language: “Let’s see what species of mammalia this specimen belongs to.” (73, Garnett translation) However, upon relocating he soon becomes smitten with the lady, who challenges him in a way that excites him and makes him forget about his passivity to the world. Bazarov loses his claim to full nihilism when he alone takes the initiative to reveal to Anna his love for her: it is obvious that he has succumbed to the “romantic” ideals that he previously belittled.

    Like his companion Bazarov, Arkady also proclaims to be a nihilist, yet does not completely fit the ideal. Turgenev gives us deep insight into the conflicted mind of Arkady, and we get a full picture of his inconsistencies. He loves art, music, and nature, yet, as Rouan mentions, he strives to conceal them in order to prescribe to the nihilist ideal. He does not possess the intense rationality of the nihilists: he is a fundamentally emotional man. He irrationally falls in love with Anna Sergeevna at first sight, and cannot stop obsessing over her, finally growing melancholy at the realization that his love will remain unrequited. He experiences the same romantic tendencies for the woman as Bazarov does, however Arkady acknowledges and comes to terms with these emotions that suggest that he has a much better understanding of the human spirit than the nihilist tradition would profess.

    If neither of the men completely fulfills the nihilist role that he strives to achieve, then I offer this question: who is supposed to be the real hero of this story? I sympathize more with the conflicted Arkady, yet I am intrigued by the mysterious and changing Bazarov.

  9. Romany Redman says:

    Many of you have already hit upon the inconsistencies between words and action in earlier posts.
    Arkady professes to be a nihilist, yet cries out of jealously, loves music and hot girls, and find his uncle’s story romantic enough to explain away his clinging to vestiges of aristocracy.
    Bazarov at least spends a considerable amount of energy trying to put his ideals into actions but bumps into compromising corners. Unfortunately, given his philosophy of choice, any hint of emotion yields him the world’s worst hypocrite. His infatuation with Anna, his contempt of common folk, and doubtfulness of women contradict his principles in a) believing in nothing and b) making conclusions through empirical thought: evidence-based morals fueled by unending skepticism.
    Nikolai lauds reform, yet his farm is run poorly because he clings to old standards. This is true not only in his economic endeavors but relationships as well, as his moral standards in action to not align with words. Despite assurance from his son that, essentially, “it doesn’t matter” Nikolai is still embarrassed by Fenitchka.
    Pavel implicitly maintains that he is as progressive as an Englishman, while really his life in the countryside is more of an escape from the social drama and loss in ‘the big city’.
    So everyone is a hypocrite. However, our opinions of the characters are not only determined by their words or actions but also our actions towards them. We call Arkady by his first name, whereas Bazarov is referred to with his family name, already signifying a difference with which we view their actions. One is to be perceived as infantile, child-like, while the other, a budding philosopher. This changes our perspective on whose inconsistencies carry more weight. In other words, Bazarov is a bigger hypocrite because we take him more seriously, whereas Arkady’s lapses in doctrine barely make us blink an eye.

  10. Margaret Fulford says:

    As others have alluded to in their posts, it is perhaps the very inconsistencies between actions and words that Turgenev most actively highlights in this piece of literature. He goes to great lengths to describe the nihilists, both through conversations between characters and through the display of their actions (generally those of Bazarov, as the principle “nihilist”.) However, Turgenev also shows that while Bazarov staunchly defends his position against Pavel’s hostility, he is not immune to the truth that is emotion, and I almost feel like Turgenev is critiquing the nihilist movement in a way through his character, the nihilist himself. The author certainly paints a picture of a Russia that needs change, perhaps even destructive change, but I don’t feel like Turgenev proposes the rejection of anything and everything except the 100% rational. His novel is, after all, a form of art. I can see why he was hounded by “true nihilists” for his “caricature” that they considered Bazarov to be, whether or not this was Turgenev’s intention.
    As for the others — Nikolai tries his best. He is hobbled by his social weakness, that is, being shy and kind of “doormat-y.” If he had strength of character and knowledge of management/farming, then perhaps his land and peasants would be faring better.
    Pavel certainly has not given up on life, but he seems to have withdrawn from it almost completely. Though he complains of isolation, living with his brother in the country, he does nothing to ease it and seems to be effectively content if you judge by his actions rather than his words.
    I agree with those who mentioned above that Arkady seems to represent Russia at the time, in that he struggles with a nostalgic hold on traditional things while feeling the tickling of inspiration from new sources of thought and, for lack of a better word, philosophy. He is young, idealistic, well-intentioned and enthusiastic about new ideas of social change and improvement, but also naive and much more easily distracted from his views than Bazarov, who is resolute by word if not by action.

  11. Melody Wang says:

    Bazarov
    When Arkady tries to defend Bazarov’s unjust judgment of his uncle, Pavel. Bazarov. speaking from a very comfortable distance, sneers at Pavel for being “ a fellow who stakes his whole life on one card- a woman’s love- and when that card fails, turns sour, and lets himself go till he’s fit for nothing, is not a man, but a male.” In here, Bazarov inability to comprehend the intensity of Pavel’s passion and love toward Princess R gives the reader the impression that Bazarov is highly “objective physiologist” who is unaffected by “romantic sense, [in which] he called lunacy, unpardonable imbecility.”
    Yet in the most ironic sense, he personally experiences all of deformed “irrational” sentiments when he falls in love with Anna. For instance, Bazarov has always been under the impression that “he could easily master his blood”, yet “his blood was on fire directly if he merely thought of Anna”. In another inconsistency, Bazarov strongly expresses his contempt for everything idealistic in front of Anna, yet when he is alone, his mind is overwhelmed by his own idealistic and “shameful thoughts”. Furthermore, Bazarov’s love confession completely betrays his earlier reservation of romantic sensibilities, just as he admits to Anna, “let me tell you then that I love you like a fool, like a madman.” At that moment, Bazarov becomes the epitome of romantic vulnerability or all the sensibilities associated with it.
    Pavel
    Even though Bazarov and Pavel mutually detest each other, they are strikingly similar in their ostensible aloofness, and their discomfort in displaying their tortured romantic sensibilities or genuine affection in general. Pavel, used to a charismatic man with “distinguished beauty” and someone who “prided himself on his ease and audacity”, however, after his unrequited love experience, Pavel conceals his sentimental side, in fact, he does not even have the “ease and audacity” to openly display his affection for baby, even in front of his own brother.

  12. Flora Weeks says:

    I have also noticed that the characters in this book seem to speak with strong convictions, and that their actions are not necessarily as strong, and I see this as part of Turgenev’s statement on the separation between generations. It almost seems as if, given their place in life, the inaction of these characters is accepted and perhaps even expected. Bazarov and Arkady, having just graduated, seem to be in an accepted grace period between school and career, when little action is expected of them. However, having just finished their education, they must prove that they learned something while at university, have opinions, and are able to argue for what they believe in. Similarly, whether or not this is accepted in society, Pavel no longer sees himself as someone who is going to take action. He has decided to move on and live a quieter life, at least for the time being, while at his brother’s estate. Pavel still wants to talk and argue about these ideas, but he no longer wants to be responsible for upholding the principles, and seems to be in full acknowledgement of his want to retreat. Arkady’s father seems entirely content playing the host, doing his best to appease everyone. Part of this attitude may also be a result of shame he feels for having fathered a child with Fenitchka. Turgenev may be using these strong verbal convictions coupled with inaction to demonstrate where the generational disconnect is strongest and that it may not be related to rebellious youthful actions.

  13. Bryanna Kleber says:

    While I will not be so bold as to say “actions speak louder than words,” I believe it true that both actions and words are very revealing of a character. To a certain group of people, actions are what can be used to judge. To another, it is the dialogue that allows a judgment to pass. But, perhaps the most revealing is how a person’s actions align with his/her words.
    Arkady is what I would call an “outward follower.” He likes to put on the façade of being a nihilist, yet he doesn’t actually adhere to the teachings. Arkady backs up what Brazarov says and preaches to be nihilist, yet he still holds some old traditions in his life. Arkady honors his father and really cares for his father’s well being. He loves his father and wants his father to be caught up with the times and tries to prevent his father from growing out of the times.
    Nikolai’s actions and words are all over the map. He appears to be on Pavel’s side during the dinner argument, but we learn that he has been trying to catch up with contemporary things, like literature. Nikolai sort of idolizes his son. He watches Arkady constantly, offers him anything he can, expresses desire to spend “intimate time” with Arkady, and he attempts to read what Arkady wants him to read.
    Bazarov appears to have no respect for any of his elders. He even treats his hosts, Nikolai and Pavel, disrespectfully. Bazarov, however, reveals that he desires to visit his mother and father. He says that he owes them because they have done much for him. This seems to contradict the nihilist ideology to “believe in nothing.” It seems that he can disregard his preaching when it comes to his own personal life.
    Pavel is the only character whose words and actions line up. He is very strong-minded. Pavel immediately decides that he does not like Brazarov and does not try to fake liking him. He believes that old traditions and practices still have great value and makes no attempt to try and learn or experience new culture in hopes that it will make him a better man.

  14. Rouan Yao says:

    It seems to me that Turgenev’s interpretation of the main struggle between the two generations is the gap of ideals. Like what Vanda has already alluded to, they stand in opposite camps – the younger following the nihilistic movement while the older ones following adherence to tradition.

    Personally, what was most intriguing to me was the irony in the characters’ beliefs. Barzarov, claims himself to be a nihilist, who believes nothing. However, the point to which he follows his nihilistic views, and eventually gains a following, is completely contradictory to what he wants to stand for in the first place. In this aspect, what Bazarov stands for is not demonstrated strongly by his actions. Furthermore, Bazarov eventually contradicts himself not only through the discrepancy between actions and words, but also through words alone. He tells Odintsova that he loves her, when before he had expounded the virtue that if a woman is not conveniently available, then “don’t bother, drop her”.

    A more obvious example is found in Bazarov’s companion. Arkady seems to follow the beliefs of nihilism in almost a religious fashion – which in itself is contradictory. Arkady also loves the arts, but does not speak of it because it affects his ideals. However, in the case of Arkady and his father, there seems to be much more of an emotional connection. Arkady can defend his own father, while his father, though still conservative, is still willing to listen to the points of nihilism. In this respect, I believe that Arkady and his father have the most agreement between words and actions.

  15. Sarah Bellingham says:

    Barzarov, Arkady, Pavel, and Nikolai seem to be men of many words and few actions.
    The only input that Arkady ever offers in conversation seems to be “’I agree with Yegeny” (68). He sits, observes, and justifies pre-existing concepts. While he vocalizes his concurrence with Bazarov in conversations involving Bazarov, Pavel, Nikolai, and himself, he seems uncertain as to what his personal convictions are. The narrator repeats the Arkady loves music, loves nature—but would never admit it aloud. Perhaps it is his inner conflict that is preventing this youth from taking action?
    On the other hand, Bazarov seems very firmly rooted in his convictions. He asserts his opinions in the company of Pavel and Nikolai in a manner that at least Pavel considers insulting and insolent. Despite his grand words, however, Bazarov limits himself to small, personal tasks such as dissecting frogs.
    Arkady and Bazarov seem to have been the youthful mirrors of Nikolai and Pavel. Pavel is set in his ways and both asserts and defends his beliefs, similar to the way in which Bazarov defends his. Nikolai and Arkady have much in common: they doubt their own convictions. However, Nikolai does seem to speak in a more positive manner. He is slow to criticize and quick to doubt himself. His life, before the death of this wife, could have been either the cause or the effect of his gentle optimism.

  16. Ben Kingstone says:

    Vanda nicely framed the generational antagonism that is the main dynamic in this novel. Bazarov represents the nihilists passion to destroy while the elder Kirsanovs mirror a stagnant, superfluous aristocracy distant and opposed to contemporary, radical political philosophy. In the end Arkady proves his aristocratic heritage; Bazarov is persuasive early on before he becomes repulsive to Arkady and reader alike.
    As Vanda noted, there is a gap between what Nikolai Petrovich says and does; the claimed improvements jar against the reality of what goes on at the estate: nothing.
    Bazarov’s character is most revealing not when he makes bold statements denying nature and art, but when he perks up at the music of Arkady’s father’s violoncello, or steals a kiss from Fenya, or falls in love.
    Arkady mirrors the reader’s own indecision, trying to justify and placate the emotions of the older generation with Bazarov’s temper.
    In the end, his action–marrying Katya– is decidedly aristocratic-even, as the introduction points out, “inevitable”(Bayley xvi).
    But I find the most compelling questions are, “Who succeeds? Where does Turgenev place himself in relation to the story?” But I will leave these questions for our discussion.

  17. Vanda Gaidamovic says:

    Indeed, the tension in Fathers and Sons arises from the conflict between words and deeds. The two generations, as we learn from their verbal disputes, stand in the opposite camps – the older one advocates construction and preservation, the younger one – destruction and transformation. In reality, however, no one does anything. Nikolai Kirsanov believes he is the man of action: “I seem to do all I can to keep up with these times: I’ve made arrangements for my peasants, established a farm […]; I read, study.” Yet as we learn later, “life at Marino hadn’t been proceeding too smoothly.” The difficulties with the farm and peasants emphasize Nikolai Petrovich’s inability to manage the estate well. His good heart and principles deprive him of the strength to act.
    Pavel Petrovich, trapped in the nostalgic illusion, isolated from the real world and time, manifests faith in the noble role of the aristocracy: “The aristocracy gave England freedom and supports it.” Yet he, himself just sits with his “arms crossed“ and pities himself, being unaware of Russia’s political stagnation.
    Arkady, seems neither talk much, nor do much at all. After his return to his father’s estate, he “lived a life of luxury”, attempted to defend Bazarov to his father and uncle, and tried to justify his father and uncle to Bazarov. His lack of opinion and unformed mind represents Russia of the time.
    Finally, Bazarov, despite his alleged detest for aristocracy and its impracticality seems to enjoy the idle, comfortable lifestyle of the gentry (when Herr Sitnikov suggests a visit to Kukshina’s apartment, Bazarov is easily convinced to go after being promised champagne), thus the life of Pavel Petrovich, whom he eagerly dislikes. In fact, Evgeny Vasilich prefers spending time in countryside with the local nobility, rather than in St. Petersburg, in a company of likeminded radicals, which makes him no more the man of action than the brothers Kirsanovs.

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