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Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons


by Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons Theme of Admiration

The first incident to set off the drama of Fathers and Sons comes when Arkady introduces his new friend Bazarov, whom he admires greatly. Bazarov exerts a magnetic influence over other characters in the story (and perhaps over the reader, as well), and part of the mystery of the story is what makes this stubborn young man so compelling. As the novel goes on, there is another layer of complexity as characters attempt to sort out the difference between feelings of love and of admiration.

Questions About Admiration

  1. What makes Bazarov so compelling? What specific features seem to make Arkady worship him as he does?
  2. How do characters distinguish between love and admiration in the novel? What seems to be the difference between the two?
  3. Do the sons admire their parents and show them proper respect? Is it possible to admire your parents and at the same time to feel superior to them?
  4. To what extent do you think Vassily Ivanych's worship of Bazarov has shaped him into such an egotistical young man?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The characters that are most admired in the story are those who also incite fear and unease in the ones who look up to them; the gentler a character is in Fathers and Sons, the less respect they get.

Bazarov's pride is a direct result of his parents' over-estimation of him.

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