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Pechorin says so many things, some clever, some true, some troubling, but is he honest with himself? Choose one of your favorite lines from his diary and comment on it as reflected in Pechorin and its relevance to today.

16 Responses to “Pechorin–Predestined or just Pretentious?”

  1. Rouan Yao says:

    Throughout the tale, “Princess Mary”, Pechorin reiterates his lack of devotion for the women he tries to seduce. When he recounts the point when Princess Mary finally takes a liking to him, his reflections are culminated in a long tract, spelling out his reasons for needing to take the destructive course of action which he does:

    “And what is happiness? Pride gratified. Could I consider myself better and more powerful than anyone else in the world, I should be happy; were everybody to love me, I should be happy; I should find in myself unending well-springs of love. Evil begets evil; the first pain leads to a realization of how great is the pleasure of tormenting another; the conception of evil cannot take root in the mind of man without his desiring to apply it in practice. Someone has said that ideas are organic entities: their very birth imparts them form, and this form is action. He in whose brain most ideas are born is more active than others, and because of this a genius shackled to an office desk must either die or lose his mind, just as a man of powerful physique who leads a sedentary and chaste life dies of apoplectic stroke (117).”

    This argument, which Pechorin makes for himself, seems to summarize his character perfectly. As he considers himself a person who is guided by fate – that he is not responsible for the ennui which causes him to act in ways which are damaging to both him and for society. He mentions, as many times before, he is not in control of his actions. However, in this passage he adds to his argument so that the reader can see exactly what he means by his previous statements.

    Pechorin justifies his need to seduce Princess Mary by suggesting that ‘evil begets evil” and that his perhaps evil actions are uncontrolled by him, and caused by some greater misfortune which he could not control. He also makes the argument in this except, that he must continue his course of actions, just as a genius must use his brain or a strong man must keep exercising, because his gift would cause him to waste away if he does not.

  2. Russell Jacobs says:

    Pechorin’s personality seems, either for it’s presentation in the diary or because it simply is, carefully constructed. Pechorin implies in his description of his conversations with Werner that intellectual development, if fully realized, leaves one possible outcome: his cold, calculated, scientific detachment from the world of human emotion. He and Werner bond (to the point of becoming “acquaintances,” a distinction that borders on goofy in Pechorin’s diary) over their shared completion of the line of philosophical reasoning that leaves them with this relativistic i-am-aware-of-nothing-but-my-own-impending-doom mentality. It’s clear, though, that Pechorin does, in fact, have his emotional moments and he successfully represses them in the text until the very end. His reunion with Vera is brushed over in his journal, described as “one of those conversations which make no sense on paper” (88). What her really means is “one of those conversations which, if included, would indicate a severe inconsistency in my self-image.”

    So what’s guiding Pechorin? Is it his reading material? The “Introduction” and several other moments in the Bela section seem to imply that Pechorin’s cold qualities are endemic to Pechorin’s generation. There’s a sense of bleakness about his conversation with Werner (“there can be no exchange of feelings or ideas between us–we each know all we want to know about the other and have no wish to know any more”) that seems to stem from their intellectual crisis of having exhausted every philosophical possibility through logical deduction except that the realm of human emotional affairs holds no particular value. There’s something in the “rumors” of Werner reducing his patients to caricatures, too. It seems like Pechorin represents a generation guided by a philosophical crisis. He is hopeless and cold because of what he reads, enjoying that the Princess talks about him as though he were a fictional character. I don’t know if I can answer the question of whether or not Pechorin has free will. In my Theories of Popular culture class we’re talking a lot about the effect the media has on our ideology and actions and this seems intimately related to our questions about Pechorin. In the end, Pechorin seems like he’s probably repressing some emotion in his diary which indicates a certain level of pretense but I’m not sure where to draw the line between self-determined actions and the influence of outside forces to turn someone into a manifestation of certain ideology. I guess, in a way that Pechorin would probably appreciate, I find myself asking “what’s the difference?” It’s a tough question though, and I’m not sure I have an answer. The best kind of literature leaves us with those kinds of questions, though.

  3. Laura Howard says:

    After Grushnitski shows Pechorin his new uniform and makes a comment to Pechorin regarding Pechorin’s courting of Princess Mary, Pechorin asks himself, “Can it be possible….that my sole mission on earth is to destroy the hopes of others?” (137).

    This question seems to provide a good case for Pechorin’s being honest with himself. People who try to avoid their true feelings don’t usually question outright what their sole mission is on this earth. The fact that he is asking himself is a good step towards self-honesty. There are other times, however, when Pechorin makes comments that show his lack of honesty with himself – these comments actually show a sense of uncertainty regarding himself, his intentions, and his direction.

    For instance, as Pechorin begins to tamper with the relationship between Mary and Grushnitski, he asks, “Could it be that I am falling in love with Mary?”. By questioning his own feelings and motivations, Pechorin seeks honesty with himself but is stuck at a crossroads of unclear feelings.

    Pechorin’s existence seems to disrupt the lives of those he encounters, whether he intends for it to or not. Sometimes it appears that Pechorin is acting not out of his own will, but out of some guiding force or destiny. In the end, Pechorin’s friend is dead; his ex-lover has “lost everything in the world” for him, and Mary tells him, “I hate you.” Obviously, a man with this many tragic endings around him should be searching as hard as he can for some honesty. His question, however, has merit – is this destruction something that he is meant to do?

    I’m not really sure how the line that I chose reflects some relevance to today. I don’t know many people who go around inflicting hurt on all those that surround them. I also don’t know many people who wonder out loud what their true destiny is. It is true that there are many human beings who appear to go through their lives leaving paths of destruction, despite the fact that they really don’t want to and find themselves creating bad situations in spite of their wish to lead a “normal” life. I’m thinking of “train wreck” celebrities. As for someone’s honesty with him or herself, however, it is often hard for an outsider to know the serious questions that one is asking.

  4. Sarah Bellingham says:

    While writing of Vera, Pechorin made the comment, “A strange thing, the human heart in general, and woman’s heart in particular” (111).

    I think that Pechorin is in fact honest with himself—though that may be the only person he is ever truly and lastingly honest with. Pechorin is an astoundingly manipulative character. For the most part, he manages to look at social situations with a bird’s eye view, extricating himself from the scene and predicting the other character’s actions. He approaches his life like a comedic chess game. He appears to others to be a normal man, a player, and views himself to be something different, a director. But beneath all of these superficial perceptions, Pechorin is not a sociopath. He feels emotion and cannot help but be affected by it. I feel that this line revealed that despite Pechorin’s knowledge of the human psyche that allows him to manipulate his companions, in the end he cannot fully understand “the human heart”.

    As for this line’s relevance, I think that we will find that it is certainly still pertinent today. The struggle to understand our “hearts” is a universal concept that seems to transcend space and time. It is found in literature and art across the world, and most likely will continue to be.

  5. Brandt Silver-Korn says:

    After the ball where Pechorin dances the mazurka with Princess Mary, Pechorin notices how an entire table of men at dinner have a hostile attitude towards him, most notably Grushnitski and the captain of dragoons. He states “I am very glad; I love enemies, though not in the Christian sense. They amuse me, stir my blood. To be always on one’s guard, to catch every glance, the meaning of every word, to guess intentions, to crush conspiracies, to pretend to be deceived and suddenly with one blow overthrow the whole immense and laboriously constructed edifice of cunning and design – that is what I call life” (140).

    To me, this quote exemplified a couple facets of Pechorin’s character. Foremost, it shows how Pechorin’s primary trouble in life is the ability to feel excitement. From what we are shown, he spends his time toying with women’s emotions, diving into a building housing an armed criminal, fighting in a duel, and kidnapping a woman, among other things. While these acts might have various secondary purposes, I believe Pechorin lives to appease his own boredom, and in this way, he is seen as remarkable to many. He lives as though performing an act for the world, and he disregards potential consequences as long as he thinks he will exact some inkling of excitement from it. Like Bryanna mentions, Pechorin is simply unable to “sate” himself, he wants things to stir his blood, but in the end, all these attempts at excitement do not quench the contentedness that he is looking for.

    This statement also illustrates the extent of Pechorin’s cockiness and desire for everyone to be subservient to him (on the outside) but foreshadows his inner turmoil that presents itself later on. While reading this particular passage, (140) I was in awe of Pechorin’s audacity. If only my “enemies” amused me rather than bothered me so I could walk around yearning for them! I looked up to Pechorin for this, it is, in a way, a very admirable trait. But as it is shown in the latter portions of “Princess Mary”, he does question why everyone hates him and is bothered by it. Eventually, his desire for dominance in the eyes of others overshadows this turmoil and he pushes the thought out of his mind, but it exists nonetheless. He is a thoroughly conflicted character in my eyes.

    He views everything in life as it affects, and only him. He recognizes the impact he has on other people in his life, but only as that impact will in turn, affect him. He does not care about his impact on others in and of itself. He even states, “I look upon the sufferings and joys of others only from the point of view of their relation to myself” (129). He is honest with himself, and recognizes his faults, but does not act on them. He ultimately cannot act on them, because he has simply too many conflicting ideals. On the same lines as what Ben was talking about, I think there is much more to Pechorin than we can glean from his diary. His words are merely a façade. Like a Facebook profile, you can search it for hours, and still get the wrong impression and picture of the person’s life.

  6. Alexandra Siega says:

    “Why did you hope? To desire and to strive after something— that I can understand. But who ever hopes?” (139)

    I feel that this quotation describes Pechorin better than any other, for he is defined by his ambition. It is Pechorin’s selling point: it is because of his ambition that I as well as the many characters in the novel find Pechorin such an appealing protagonist. His passion for power makes Pechorin a dark, mysterious character, especially since his motives remain largely unclear. Pechorin approaches each situation with a coolness that borders indifference, as was the case in his duel with Grushnitski. Werner notes that there is hardly any change to his countenance with the exception of his gleaming eyes (which, of course, recall the narrator’s earlier description of his peculiar eyes on page 57), meaning that he was completely focused on the attainment of his goal: to defend his honor and social status in addition to finally trouncing the idiotic Grushnitski.

    Pechorin’s outright dismissal of hope also lends itself to the argument of his deterministic nature. The idea of hope could not possibly settle with the power-hungry Pechorin, because to hope for something implies that the something in question is out of his control.
    If nothing else, Pechorin most certainly has control issues, for he constantly meddles (often dramatically) in the affairs of others for his own amusement and personal gain. He does not place himself at any whim but his own, most evident during the duel between him and Grushnitski. How could a haughty, self-assured character like Pechorin merely hope that his rival miss and that he be spared? Pechorin sets the terms for the duel—before the duel he lays the emotional foundations, and during the duel he chooses to hold the shooting on the cliff—and therefore survives. It is his actions that secure his victory, indicating that Pechorin is consciously involved in the crafting of his own fate. Otherwise, why would he be so active? Would it not make more sense for him to merely shrug off all threats with a contemptuous air and let things play out without his intervention?

  7. Emily de Koning says:

    “’try to imagine me as a patient stricken with a disease you have yet to diagnose – that will stimulate your curiosity to the utmost. You may now make some important physiological observation on me … Is it not expectation of death by violence a real illness in itself?’”

    In the introduction of “A Hero of Our Time” the speaker refers to a disease, one that has been identified yet seems incurable. If Pechorin is a portrait of his generation can we not assume that in this quote lies a reference to a deeper disease, one that lies within all men? Is not our human obsession with war and violence a problem? Somehow, there must be something wrong in the human heart for us to accepting our role as the victim of a violent death.

    From this quote it is clear that Pechorin I aware that there is something wrong within him, that somehow he suffers from a disease that yet has no name or word to it. This self-diagnosis reflects quite a high level of self-awareness, that might be misinterpreted as honesty. Pechorin is not an honest man in any way, he lies and is deceitful even to himself.

    He is an ambiguous man, lost within himself, and he is fully aware of it.

  8. Bryanna Kleber says:

    “Like an implement of punishment, I have fallen upon the head of doomed victims, often without malice, always without pity…To none has my love brought happiness, because I have never sacrificed anything for the sake of those I have loved: for myself alone I have loved- for my own pleasure. I have only satisfied the strange craving of my heart, greedily draining their feelings, their tenderness, their joys, their sufferings—and I have never been able to sate myself.” (163)

    This quote was the most revealing to me in the entire novella. From the beginning of the novel, we know that Pechorin is not satisfied with life. He says on numerous occasions that he is bored with life. Everything he does in his life is twisted to somehow not be fulfilling. He ruins relationships with women who could potentially satisfy him. He treats his friends horribly, and thus cannot retain friendships. However, the above quote reveals that Pechorin does not believe that he is the cause of any of these shortcomings. He is, essentially, blaming his tendency to ruin everything that he values on some sort of bad karma, or supernatural power.

    This quote also expresses some remorse that Pechorin is feeling. He realizes that his bad actions (that he thinks were prompted by this bad karma) restricted him from maintaining any value in his life. He basically says he has been selfish his entire life. Pechorin is finally able to recognize and admit that it has been his selfishness that has prohibited him from creating a fulfilling life. Unfortunately, when he comes to this conclusion, he does not do anything to remedy his past mistakes. This just confirms that Pechorin will be selfish through and through.

    This kind of personality is one that has transcended through every generation, and will likely never become extinct. It has become human nature to put our happiness before the happiness of others. And there is always added resistance if any sort of sacrifice needs to be made to benefit someone else. Lermontov has, after all, created a portrait of a man that encompasses all the vices of a generation. This portrait he created has many truths that still exist in today’s generation. Thus, “A Hero of Our Times” can be seen as a sketch of our generation. It is easy to look at Pechorin and say that he is a horrible person who deserves the unfulfilling life he has, but once you step back and realize that it is not uncommon for people to be selfish, or for people to be egotistic, you realize that Pechorin is just an honest man who is not blind to him flaws.

  9. Kelsey says:

    “To be the cause of suffering and joy to another- without in the least possessing any definite right to be so- is not that the sweetest food for our pride? And what is happiness? Satisfied pride.” p. 129

    Pechorin’s whole diary sets him up as the cold and needy individual who could write this line and believe it, but it is his diary. On a conscious level Pechorin is the cold, power-hungry playboy that he describes himself as, and to a certain extent believes what he writes. But he also questions himself: why is he “so obstinately endeavoring to win the love of a young girl whom I do not wish to deceive, and whom I will never marry”? (p. 128) He represents his childhood as one of neglect (though that was to Princess Mary, so who knows how true it was), a possible source of his detachment and scorn. I think it is possible for Pechorin to exist not knowing any happiness other than satisfied pride- not capable of loving and being loved. It is interesting that he writes out this whole discussion of power and happiness in his diary, as though trying to convince himself that manipulating people is the path to true happiness. But I think he knows, at a subconscious level, that this will never bring him happiness. “Were all to love me, I should find within myself inexhaustible springs of love.” But Vera sacrifices herself to love him and yet he gives up following her when his horse dies. He wants to go to her, but apparently arriving by foot to her rescue (or whatever he was planning) is out of the question.

    Some of Pechorin’s behavior is understandable when hearing that he holds happiness to be satisfied pride; but as he tries to convince himself that this view supports his careless and exacting wooing of Princess Mary it seems that he still doubts himself on a deeper level. Is there happiness in satisfied pride, in power? Could he understand another kind of happiness? The diaries are a fascinating look at this character’s psyche, but in the end I don’t think he is a pitiable at all. He still comes across as a haughty, manipulative, self-serving playboy despite his questioning. Actions speak louder than diary scrawls.

  10. Anna Mackey says:

    Throughout the story, we constantly see that Pechorin is obsessed with having a reason to live, and this is why fate is so important to him. However, Pechorin also uses fate as an excuse, an explanation for his actions. After he is deep into his meddlings with Grushnitski and Princess Mary, he questions: “Can it be possible that my sole mission on earth is to destroy the hopes of others?” (137) Though he judges his own actions and often acknowledges his faults, instead of considering to change his ways, he hides behind the idea that perhaps his faults are his fate, his mission.

    The question if Pechorin is ever honest with himself was one that I found most intriguing and carried me through the book, feverishly underlining both instances of clarity and delusion, causing me to continuously change my opinion of him even after the story ended. He is both so enjoyably and exasperatingly contradictory. One moment he claims to not care of the future or his life, the next he is writing of how he still wishes to prolong it, and then he even acknowledges these contradictions but once again brings in the fate defense with the grand statement: “I have an innate passion for contradiction – my whole life has been nothing but a series of melancholy and vain contradictions of heart or reason” (98).

    Overall, I do think Pechorin is mostly honest with himself and aware his faults, but I also believe that he revels in them and will therefore never change. He has a persona, crafted by self-awareness and judgment of others, and even though this awareness does not make him happy, it makes him ultimately feel personally satisfied and superior to others. Yet, I remain sympathetic towards him. Pechorin is living the “twofold hunger and despair” (163) – he recognizes his own selfishness and unhappiness, yet also recognizes that to act any other way would only be to deceive himself. To remain the “sailor born and bred on the deck of a pirate brig” (182) is truly his only option.

  11. Katherine Burdine says:

    “I was lying but I wanted to exasperate him. I have an innate passion for contradiction–my whole life has been nothing but a series of melancholy and vain contradictions of heart or reason” p. 98

    Pechorin enjoys being contrary, that is certain. When a woman will have nothing to do with him, he is compelled to pursue her; the instant she falls in love he loses interest. Grushnitski’s enthusiasm for Princess Mary makes Pechorin criticize her merely for the pleasure of exasperating his smitten friend. Perhaps this contrariness is melancholy and vain–it certainly causes pain to the women he seduces, and serves no purpose other than setting Pechorin apart from others.

    But perhaps that is exactly what Pechorin wants. Determined to do nothing that is not by his own choice, he will always do the opposite of what is expected or desired of him, merely to reassure himself that he is free and that he has control of the situation or the relationship. Just as a child asserts his autonomy and individuality by saying “no” to everything, so Pechorin asserts his autonomy by similar means, refusing to agree with anyone and setting himself determinedly apart.

    Pechorin does not take anyone’s feelings besides his own seriously. He embarks on his seduction of Princess Mary on the flimsiest pretexts imaginable: because he is jealous of the favor she shows Grushnitski and because he needs the self-affirmation he can get by making her fall in love with him.

    Personally, I think Pechorin is at once honest and disingenuous with himself about his qualities and flaws. He acknowledges his contrary nature, the pettiness of his jealousies. However he never considers the fundamental inner fragility that drives him to use and disappoint people solely to prove to himself that he is in control.

  12. Melody Wang says:

    I agree with Juan’s discussion on Pechorin’s problematic honesty/self-deception. Pechorin often reveals his confusion and vulnerability in a seemingly genuine and sincere fashion, however, I cannot make up my mind about the sincerity and truth of his introspective revelations. I think at times Pechorin might be fully sincere in his honesty, however, his sincerity might be an distortion or an unconscious form of self-deceit, which then complicates the notion of honesty and how do we as the reader judge the extent of honesty in Pechorin’s account. For instance, when Pechorin reveals his breakdown when the horse dies on his way to chase after Vera, “For a long time I lay motionless and wept bitterly, without attempting to restrain my tears and sobs. I thought my breast would burst. All my firmness, all my coolness, disappeared like smoke; my soul grew powerless, my reason silent, and if anyone had seen me at that moment, he would have turned aside with contempt (178),” I am not convinced that his emotional fragility has anything to do with his guilt or attachment for Vera. In fact, his breakdown can be a response to his failure to live up to the romantic image of riding away in a horse in accomplish what he has originally anticipated to do. At another moment, when Pechorin wonders whether his sole mission on earth is to destroy the hopes of others, he claims to believe that “it has been his fate to play a part in the ending of other people’s dramas…the indispensable person of the fifth act; unwillingly…the pitiful part of an executioner or a traitor.” In here, Pechorin seems to recognize something beyond himself and his control, yet at the same time, as just Juan suggests, I am equally convinced that he is trying to justify for his behaviors.

  13. Juan Machado says:

    Throughout the story Pechorin mentions often that he believes that his fate is predetermined. I’m not sure, however, if he actually believes that or if he’s only using that belief to justify his erratic behavior and indifference to others. He may be lying to himself, using the seer’s revelation, for example, to explain his fear of marriage.

    I think one passage in particular makes this possible self-deception clear. In the end of his account, Pechorin compares himself to “a sailor born and bred on the deck of a pirate brig” who is “accustomed to storms and battles,” but who “chafes” and “pines away” once “cast upon the shore” (182). He drags on with this extended metaphor, writing that throughout the day “he paces the sandy shore, hearkens to the monotonous murmur of the onrushing waves, and gazes into the misty distance,” and more (182).

    By equating himself with this image of the pirate who longs for action, Pechorin tries to cast himself as an archetypal character. Being such a character, he no longer has any agency and is tied to a very specific fate. Here he sounds like a penitent whose way of life is spelled out for him, much like the character of the Wandering Jew or the Flying Dutchman.

  14. Benjamin Kingstone says:

    In the preface to Pechorin’s Diary, the narrator writes, “The history of a man’s soul…is hardly less interesting than the history of a whole people; especially when the former is the result of the observations of a mature mind upon itself, and has written without any egotistical desire of arousing sympathy or astonishment” (63). Lermontov intentionally misleads us with this preface, convincing us to believe more than normal skepticism would assume. It indulgently asks us to surrender judgment to a character devoid of “egotistical desire”(63).
    This passage may say more about the narrator than Pechorin, but hat struck me as ironic is that it contradicts the author’s preface to the book. The novel’s preface illustrates that Pechorin is a human prism, a “composite portrait, made up of the vices which flourish, full-grown, amongst the present generation”(vi). This first passage assumes none of the honesty of a singular viewpoint. It, in fact, detracts from Pechorin’s integrity, demonstrating that he holds the natural contradictions of a generation. He also holds the inherent inner conflicts of an man.
    Pechorin’s honesty can only be objectively judged through his actions. When he offers to pardon Grushnitsky, he reveals truth through dialogue: “there is still time; recant your slander…my self esteem is satisfied” (173). He admits the recklessness of his joke; his forgiveness represents a recognition of his culpability. This is honesty reflected in dialogue.
    And even before this, Grushnitsky tells the reader, “I to-morrow it may be, I shall die!…And there will not be left on earth one being who has understood me completely. Some will consider me worse, others, better…And both epithets will be false” (163). That’s right: He may die tomorrow, or Grushnitsky may die. He recognizes his future as uncertain and his perception of himself as fallible. In the end, as Pechorin compares himself to a sailor, I am convinced that he believes he responded best to the seas of his time. But once can never truly know. Pechorin was never meant to be one man, Lermontov suggests.

    To bring A Hero of Our Time into a contemporary light, Pechorin resembles a person on Facebook or Twitter. You can see where he has been, what he has “liked” and read his blog, but it is difficult to deconstruct him from various identities and attitudes (that are, in the end, obstructed by form–the internet). Pechorin’s wisest and most truthful admission is that we will never really know him.

  15. Flora Weeks says:

    Fairly early in “Princess Mary,” Pechorin says to Werner, “What is sad, we laugh at; what is laughable, we grieve at; but, to tell the truth, we are fairly indifferent, generally speaking, to everything except ourselves.” This is a very bold statement for anyone to make, effectively claiming to be distanced from emotions and self-centered in everything one does. This says much more about who Pechorin wants to be and what he wants others to see in him than who he actually is. He wants to be heartless, and never tied down to anybody else, but in reality, people do affect him.

    Pechorin spends more than a month in these two towns (Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk), and while he is ostensibly there on assignment, nearly all his journal entries have to do with his personal relationships with other people. Him spending this much time writing about Grushnitski, Mary, and Vera, is proof that he is not “indifferent” to everything except himself.

    It can, perhaps, be argued that he only cares about these three characters in how they relate to him; he wants each of the women to love him, and he wants to be a source of anger for Grushnitski. I think Pechorin would claim that in this way he is really only caring about himself, and that the others are just secondary figures whose places could be filled by anyone. In some way I think that is probably true, but they do still have an effect on him. He is only happy when he has the love of the women and when he has proven himself to be better than Grushnitski. In this way, I do not think Pechorin is honest to himself about how much other people (and their actions and emotions) mean to him.

  16. Romany Redman says:

    Fate often incorporates itself into the words of Pechorin. He describes Bela as “an angel sent down to me by a compassionate Providence”, and in his account of his relations with Princess Mary and Vera, Pechorin questions his fate “to destroy the hopes of others” in the role of the “traitor” in lives of others and in his own. He learns to despise himself and deplore his own actions in his struggle between heart and reason. The last lines of Taman illustrate this point, “. . . A sadness came over me. Why did fate have to throw me into the peaceful lives of honest smugglers? Like a stone hurled into the placid surface of a pond I had disturbed their tranquillity, and like a stone had nearly gone to the bottom myself!”
    Fate in the form of a fortuneteller predicted Pechorin’s demise in marriage. Pechorin describes himself doing everything to avoid the “tranquil joys and peace of mind” through marriage offered to him by “fate”. And in that deathly battle of avoidance, he inadvertently causes his own demise. Marriage represents not only a civil union with a woman but rather an attitude about life that signifies commitment and belief in love, the irrational. Pechorin seems to be constantly analyzing his own thoughts for hint of ambiguity in opposition to reason. Emotion and feeling consistently throw a wrench in his well thought-out plans of rational action.
    So, in response to the question: “Predestined or just Pretentious?”, I’d have to answer that Pechorin is indeed a hipster. For Pechorin, happiness is impossible because of the metaphysical struggle between empirical thought and emotion. Fate remains a player in Pechorin’s philosophical discourse in the same way that Einstein denied Quantum Theory despite his intimate role in its development: fate, love, emotion, spirituality–these ideas compromise the results of logic. In the following quote, he compares his doubts to the [spiritual] delusions of forebears:
    “Whereas we, their wretched descendents, who roam the earth without convictions or pride, without joys or fear other than the nameless dread that constricts the heart at the thought of the inevitable end, we are no longer capable of great sacrifices either for the good of mankind or even for our personal happiness, since we know that happiness is impossible; and we pass indifferently from one doubt to another just as our forebears floundered from one delusion to another, without the hopes they had and without even that vague but potent sense of joy the soul derives from any struggle with man or destiny . . .”

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