Fathers and Sons: Chapter 2,3,4

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Chapter 2: Summary

Nicolay’s son arrives, along with a friend he brings home for a visit. Nikolay is nervous. Arkady, Nicolay’s son, introduces his friend to his father. Nikolay is overly courteous to his son’s friend Bazarov. Bazarov does not reply to Nicolay’s gracious comments of welcome. Pyotr is told to harness the horses, and they ride to the farm in carriages, with Bazarov in a separate carriage by himself.


Chapter 2: Analysis

We see in this chapter the development of the character Bazarov. Turgenev uses dialogue and actions to set Bazarov’s place at this point in the story. Bazarov starts behaving rudely when he is first introduced.  For example, Nikolay greets Bazarov with a warm welcome, but Bazarov does not even reply. Nikolay offers his hand in greeting to Bazarov, but Bazarov only reluctantly offers his. Arkady describes him as being “straightforward” (9). It is then that Bazarov calls one of the drivers of the carriage a rude name: “Big Beard” (9). We can see the disrespect in this character at the very beginning of the novel.


Themes of city and country, young and old, are setting the stage for this novel. The young Arkady and Bazarov return from the city with their fresh ideas. The older Nikolay timidly emerges from the farm with his traditional ways intact.


Chapter 3: Summary

Nikolay and his son Arkady have a conversation in the carriage on the way to the farm. Arkady asks about his uncle and learns that he is well. Arkady calls his father Papa. Papa tells Arkady that he has a “wonderful horse” for his son (10). Arkady tells Papa that Bazarov is going to be a doctor. Nikolay tells his son that his peasants aren’t paying their rent for farming his land. Then he talks about changes he’s made on the farm. He is very proud of his farm and thinks there is no better place on earth. He then tells Arkady that his old nanny died. He also tells him that a girl, Fenechka, is at the house, to which Arkady responds negatively. Nikolay tells Arkady that he sold the woods. The author describes the scenery as dilapidated. Nikolay starts to recite some poetry to Arkady, and then Bazarov interrupts, asking for a light for his pipe. Then the carriages arrive at the farm, Marino, which means New Town (15).


Chapter 3: Analysis

The author reveals more about the relationship between Nikolay and his son in this chapter. Arkady is growing up, away from his father and the farm and the traditional way of life, in which his father is immersed. Arkady diverts the conversation away from any emotion to more general topics. Nikolay tries to win his son over by telling him about all the changes he’s making on the farm and that he has a horse to give his son. Just as Arkady begins to respond warmly to his father, they are interrupted by Bazarov, who yells out from the other carriage for a light for his pipe. Perhaps this is a foreshadowing of future problems between Nikolay and his son.


Chapter 4: Summary

Nikolay, Arkady, and Bazarov are greeted at the farm by Arkady’s Uncle Pavel’s manservant and a twelve-year-old girl. They all agree to have supper. Pavel enters the room and is introduced to Bazarov, but does not offer a handshake. During dinner, Pavel doesn’t eat, but paces up and down the room. Arkady tries to assert his manhood by talking a lot and drinking too much wine. Bazarov makes negative comments about Pavel to Arkady after they return to their rooms.


Arkady feels happy to be home in his room and says a prayer for his old nanny.

The chapter ends with the glimpse of Fenechka in another room, and she is watching a sleeping baby.

Chapter 4: Analysis

A sense of hostility is further heightened in this chapter around Bazarov. Pavel, Arkady’s uncle, meets Bazarov and refuses to offer him a handshake. Bazarov comments rudely about Pavel’s appearance to Arkady when they are alone in their rooms. Arkady, after having left his home as a boy, now returns as a young man, and he feels obligated to show his maturity. He talks a lot during dinner, calls his Papa ‘father’ instead, and drinks too much wine. We can already anticipate a future clash between father and son.

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