Fathers and Sons: Chapter 17,18,19

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Chapter 17: Summary


Bazarov likes Anna, Anna likes Bazarov, and Arkady is in love with Anna. Arkady develops a friendship with Katya. Arkady and Bazarov do not talk to one another as often as they did before. Bazarov is becoming a romantic, and he doesn’t like it (90). Anna looks forward to spending time alone with Bazarov. When Bazarov tells her a few days later that he is leaving to go to his family’s, Anna is almost broken hearted (91). 


Later, Anna almost begs Bazarov not to leave. She asks him why he’s leaving. He says his parents are waiting. She continues to prompt him with questions. She asks him to tell her about himself. He has difficulty and just keeps responding to her comments about him. Then Anna says that they are just alike. She admits to Bazarov that she is not happy, that she wants love. Bazarov is fighting back his emotions for Anna. Before he leaves her room, he goes over, grips her hand tightly and says goodbye. She rushes to the door to bring him back, but a maid is there. She sits in her room alone for a long time.


Bazarov goes to his room. Arkady is there. He asks if Bazarov was with Anna the whole time. Bazarov says yes, and Arkady feels tears coming to his eyes (98).


Chapter 17: Analysis


Turgenev reveals a vulnerable side of Bazarov’s character in this lengthy chapter. Bazarov is falling in love with Anna, but he will not admit it. He gets angry when he feels himself succumbing to her. As a result, Bazarov and Arkady become more distant from one another.


As Bazarov and Anna become closer, Bazarov and Arkady become more distant from one another. Arkady hides his true feelings from Bazarov, that he is in love with Anna, but Bazarov is still blunt and emotionless with Arkady. All the while, Bazarov is fighting his feelings for Anna, and he decides to leave. Anna is hurt. She and Bazarov have a lengthy, philosophical discussion about love, and Anna realizes how very similar she and Bazarov are in their beliefs and personalities.


Bazarov can no longer control his physical feelings for Anna, and he makes an almost violent move toward her. He squeezes her hand very hard before he leaves her room that night. The reader can only gather that this is Bazarov’s way of controlling his physical desire for Anna. She is left bewildered, a bit hurt by the action.


Bazarov returns to his room and is short with Arkady, who hides his feelings once again, fighting back tears.


Chapter 18: Summary


Anna and Bazarov continue their conversation from the night before about happiness (99). Anna asks him, “In a word, who are you, what are you?” (99). Bazarov just states that he is a “future district doctor” (100). Anna gets angry. She knows he does not really care about medicine.  He goes on to use logic in his answer. He calls all the discussion they have about such topics “pointless chatter,” to which Anna takes offense. She wants him to tell her what’s going on inside of him. He tells her that he loves her, “foolishly, madly” (101). He is trembling with passion at this point, and Anna is afraid of him.


He grabs her; she pulls away and escapes to a corner of the room. A maid brings her a note from Bazarov a half hour later. He asks her if he can stay until the next day. Anna replies to him that they didn’t understand one another, and she didn’t understand herself (102).


Chapter 18: Analysis


Bazarov finally opens up to Anna and to his feelings.  He struggles between his logic and the physical feelings he has for Anna. But he also tells her that he is in love with her. Again, the two characters are so similar. She just feels frightened and sorry for him (101). But she too fights back her feelings for him. Then after a fit of passion where Bazarov grabs her and pulls her toward him, she flees to the other side of the room.  We see the two characters, not really knowing what they want or need.


Chapter 19: Summary


Bazarov apologizes to Anna after dinner. He asks her if she loves him, but she does not reply. He goes to his room.

Bazarov tells Arkady that he is leaving the next day. Arkady says he will go with Bazarov as far as Khokhlovsk, and then he will go on to his house while Bazarov goes home to visit his parents. But Arkady asks Bazarov if he will come back to the farm, and Bazarov says his things are there. Arkady asks why Sitnikov had to visit that evening, and Bazarov says that he needs idiots like that to do his work for him. Arkady asks if he himself is an idiot. Bazarov says he is (106).


Bazarov tells Arkady what fools they had been to be taken in by women. He says, “A man should never become involved in such nonsense” (109).


Chapter 19: Analysis


We see a vulnerable Bazarov at the beginning of this chapter, which rather catches the reader off guard when he asks Anna, “excuse my impertinence, but you don’t love me, do you, and you can’t ever love me” (103). When she doesn’t answer him, his mind is made up that he is leaving.


By the time Bazarov and Arkady leave the next day, Bazarov’s logic supersedes his feelings once again, and he tells Arkady what fools they both had been. Despite Bazarov’s coldness and distance, he and Arkady are still friends, and Arkady still has this attachment to Bazarov. When they get ready to leave the next day, Arkady tells Bazarov, “. . . take me with you. I want to come and stay with you” (107).


There is a softness in Arkady’s character that is missing in Bazarov. And there is a hardness in Bazarov’s character to which Arkady is drawn for some reason. When Arkady gets into the carriage next to Bazarov, he grips Bazarov’s hand firmly and doesn’t say anything. Bazarov understands and appreciates the silence and respect. This action simulates that of a father and son.

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