Fathers and Sons: Chapter 23,24,25
Chapter 23: Summary
Bazarov delves into his work. He and Pavel no longer argue, although Pavel still does not like him. Nikolay visits Bazarov to watch his experiments. Bazarov spends time with Fenechka, who feels comfortable with him (142). Bazarov sees her one morning after his walk in the arbor. They sit and talk. Bazarov flirts with her. Someone is watching them. Bazarov kisses her on the lips. Pavel appears, Fenechka leaves, but Bazarov shows no remorse. Pavel doesn’t say anything to Nikolay.
Chapter 23: Analysis
Bazarov is his old self, and he is taking advantage of Fenechka. She too is young, and she is taken with Bazarov; to her he is “an excellent doctor and a straightforward man” (142). She is still somewhat young and naive, and Bazarov’s character is easily drawn to the meek, just as he bullies Arkady for his own selfish need to make himself seem more powerful.
Bazarov’s character reaches its deucedly state of demise as he makes advances toward his friend’s father’s wife. While Arkady is busy with visiting Anna, Bazarov is busy spending time with Fenechka. She is young and trusting, and she admires Bazarov, and he kisses her in the garden, not knowing that Pavel is watching. He does not care and is not worried as he congratulates himself “on his formal enrolment into the Philanderers’” (146). Pavel does not reveal any of this to Nikolay, and the reader feels only contempt for the character Bazarov.
Chapter 24: Summary
Pavel visits Bazarov and proposes they have a duel. They agree on the next morning and to use pistols. They both agree that they do not like one another. Bazarov wants Pyotr to be a witness, and Pavel agrees. That night Bazarov starts to write a letter to his father but tears it up and throws it away. He doesn’t sleep all night. Pyotr comes for him at 4:00 a.m.
Pavel shoots first and misses. Bazarov shoots and hits Pavel in the thigh. He immediately throws his pistol aside and rushes to Pavel, who loses consciousness. He doctors his wound. Pavel wakes, and they sit in silence. Pyotr comes back with Nikolay. Pavel takes the blame. They all get in the carriage, and Nikolay asks Bazarov to attend to Pavel until he finds another doctor. Pavel gets a fever. Bazarov leaves the next morning. He says his quick good-byes to Nikolay and Pavel.
Pavel then asks Fenechka questions about her feelings for Nikolay. He suddenly comes to terms with his own past and asks Nikolay to marry Fenechka (161). Nikolay agrees and thanks his brother. They embrace.
Chapter 24: Analysis
It’s difficult to tell what Turgenev wants us to feel about Bazarov. Bazarov has made his bed, and now he must lie in it. Pavel has challenged him to a duel. Bazarov is inwardly afraid but would never show it outwardly. He thinks that the reason Pavel wants a duel is because Pavel himself is in love with Fenechka, perhaps good intuition on his part. But this type of mind, always finding fault with others rather than looking at one’s own faults, is the very reason Bazarov is not truly happy. Taking advantage of people and maintaining an apathetic opinion about the world is not the way to true happiness.
There is Bazarov, shooting Pavel in the thigh. Then the next instant, he throws his pistol to the ground and rushes to Pavel’s side to nurse his wound. Then again, Nikolay shows up, and Pavel covers for Bazarov, who still does not tell the truth of his own actions toward Fenechka, a woman who has a child with Nikolay. The reader is filled with mixed emotions about Bazarov’s character.
The theme of relationships is evident throughout the novel, and just when we’re ready to condemn Bazarov as nothing but a criminal, we see the reuniting of two brothers, Pavel and Nikolay.
Chapter 25: Summary
While the duel is going on between Pavel and Bazarov, Arkady is at Nikolskoye with Katya. They are sitting together in the shade, enjoying one another’s company. They come to an agreement that they are in love with one another. Arkady tells Katya that he “wouldn’t exchange her for her sister—or anyone else in the world” (167).
Bazarov is waiting for Arkady and tells him about the duel. Arkady is concerned and even ashamed, but Bazarov understood. Arkady is also concerned that Bazarov is leaving him and tells him so, but Bazarov says that it is Arkady who has already left him. Bazarov thinks that Arkady is there to see Anna. Arkady tells him it’s not true. Then he suggests he sees Anna before he leaves.
Bazarov apologizes to Anna for his past behavior and tells her he is going away for a long time. She forgives him, and they shake hands as friends. Bazarov proceeds to tell Anna that Arkady was in love with her. She doesn’t believe him. Anna is afraid of Bazarov.
Arkady is sitting alone in the garden with his thoughts. He is no longer jealous of Anna and Bazarov because he is growing up and in love.
Chapter 25: Analysis
This is Arkady’s chapter. He is no longer under the influence of Bazarov, and for the first time, he is free to feel the way he wants and state what he believes to be true without fear of offending his friend. For example, he says to Bazarov when Bazarov says he must leave, “I’m sorry, you really can’t!” (170). He goes on to explain that Bazarov should see Anna, and that he thinks that is the real reason Bazarov came. When Bazarov says Arkady is wrong, Arkady interjects with, “On the contrary, I’m certain I’m right” (170). Bazarov realizes too that this is Arkady’s time to withdraw from their friendship, that he has found his own way, just as a son grows up away from his father.
The chapter ends with Arkady sitting alone in the garden with his secret, happy thoughts.