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Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons


by Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons Chapter 27 Summary

  • When Bazarov returns home, his parents are ecstatic to see him. He tells them that he is staying for six weeks, but warns his father that he is there to work.
  • His father says, "You'll forget what my face looks like – that's how much I shall disturb you" (27.3).
  • Vassily Ivanych stays out of Bazarov's way and warns his wife so severely that she's almost afraid to speak to her son.
  • With time, Bazarov's "fever for work abated and was succeeded by gloomy nostalgia and a vague restlessness" (27.4).
  • He begins to smoke and walk with his father, and once even asks for Father Alexei. Vassily Ivanych shares with his wife that he's worried about their son. He is gloomy and sad and his health seems to be deteriorating.
  • Several times, Vassily Ivanych tries to bring up personal matters with Bazarov, but is so circumspect that Bazarov finally says, "Why are you forever tiptoeing around me? It's worse than you were before" (27.6).
  • Trying to make headway on a different front, Vassily Ivanych brings up the question of political progress, but Bazarov quickly dismisses it.
  • From time to time, Bazarov strolls down to the village to talk with the peasants. He speaks with them half-jokingly, telling them he hears that they are the future of Russia.
  • He asks about peasant superstition, and they tell him that above all their village rests on the master's will, "on account of you bein' like our fathers. An' the more strict the master rules, the better it be for us peasants" (27.10).
  • Bazarov shrugs his shoulders and walks away and the peasants wonder what on earth he was asking them about. One of them says that he just "wanted to wag 'is tongue a bit. 'Course e's gentry: they ain't got much understandin'" (27.13).
  • Bazarov still prides himself on being able to speak to the peasants. It never occurs to him that "in their eyes he was after all nothing but a sort of buffoon" (27.14).
  • After awhile, Bazarov realizes that the best thing for him to do is to help his father treat the peasants. He continues to mock both the treatments and his father, but Vassily Ivanych takes this as a sign that he is getting his spirits back.
  • Vassily Ivanych is overflowing with pride to be working with his son and brags to the peasants that Napoleon III doesn't have a better doctor.
  • Once, when Bazarov pulls a peasant's tooth, Vassily Ivanych saves it to show off how cleanly it came out. Showing it to Father Alexei, he exclaims that his son must be extremely strong to pull out a tooth like that. Alexei doesn't know what to say to "the rapturous old man" (27.18).
  • One day a peasant brings his brother, who has typhus, to see Vassily Ivanych. Vassily Ivanych has to tell him that it is too late, and his brother dies right there in the cart.
  • Three days later, Bazarov returns from town and asks for some silver nitrate to cauterize a cut. Vassily Ivanych wants to know what happened, and he tells him that while he was in town, some doctors decided to open up the body of the man with typhus.
  • He offered to assist them, but, being out of practice, accidentally cut himself.
  • Vassily Ivanych goes "white to the lips" (27.29). He rushes off to get the nitrate and asks Bazarov if they shouldn't sear it with a hot iron.
  • Bazarov calmly says that it should have been done sooner. He tells his father that if he has already caught the infection, then it is too late anyway.
  • Vassily Ivanych began railing against the village doctor for being so poorly supplied. He visits his son so often over the course of the next day that Bazarov threatens to leave altogether.
  • They keep it a secret from Arina Vlassyevna, but she begins to notice that Vassily Ivanych can't sleep and to inquire after what is bothering him.
  • One night at dinner, Bazarov sits there with his head slumped, not eating. Vassily Ivanych asks how he is feeling and wants to take his pulse.
  • Bazarov stubbornly tells him that he knows he has a temperature. He says he will go to his room and they can bring him some tea, and, for his mother, says "I must have caught a chill" (27.54).
  • While Arina Vlassyevna prepares the tea, Vassily Ivanych goes "into the next room and clutched at his hair in silence" (27.56).
  • Bazarov spends the entire night in a state of half-consciousness. When he wakes to find his father leaning over him, he asks him to leave.
  • Yet Vassily Ivanych stays by the door watching him all night. The next day, Bazarov is too weak to get up, and his nose begins to bleed.
  • Arina Vlassyevna begins to get a sense of what's going on, and "a sudden darkness seem[s] to descend in the house; faces all [look] drawn, and everything [is] strangely still" (27.57).
  • Vassily Ivanych continues to fuss over his son, and when Arina Vlassyevna finally grabs him by the arm to ask what is wrong with their son, he can't help himself. He tries to smile, but collapses into a fit of horrible laughter.
  • The next day, he sends for the doctor. He warns Bazarov of it, and Bazarov turns over on the sofa.
  • In a slow, husky voice, he tells his father, "I'm in a bad way, old chap. I've caught the infection, and in a few days you will have to bury me" (27.61).
  • Vassily Ivanych is in a state of disbelief. To push his point in, Bazarov shows him the red patches on his arms, and proclaims that he has all the symptoms of pyaemia. His father persists in his denial.
  • Bazarov says that his parents will have to fall back on their religious faith. He says he wants his father to do something for him before he loses his mind altogether. Just this afternoon, he was in a delirium.
  • He asks his father to send a message for him. His father thinks it is for Arkady, but tells him that Arkady is now a "jackdaw" (27.76). The message is for Madame Odintsov, to tell her that he is dying.
  • His father asks where justice would be if Bazarov were really to die. Bazarov just asks him to send the message.
  • Then, referring to his delusion of hounds, he says, "I shall return to my hounds again. How curious it is – I want to fix my thoughts on death, and nothing comes of it. I merely see a kind of blur... and that's all" (27.80).
  • Bazarov turns toward the wall and Vassily Ivanych struggles out of the room. He collapses beside his wife, at the foot of their bed and exhorts her to pray: "Our son is dying" (27.82).
  • The village doctor comes, examines Bazarov, and says that there may still be possibility of recovery.
  • Bazarov, sarcastic as usual, asks him, "Have you ever seen people in my state not set off for the Elysian fields?" (27.84).
  • He grabs a leg of the table and pushes it away from him to demonstrate his strength. Yet he says that he still must die.
  • Hearing his parents sobbing, he says, "Well, if Christianity is no help, be a philosopher, a Stoic maybe! Surely you used to pride yourself on being a philosopher?" (27.85).
  • As the tears stream down his cheeks, Vassily Ivanych sobs, "A fine philosopher I am!" (27.86).
  • The infection spread rapidly. Bazarov does his best to fight off delirium while his father wanders about like a mad person.
  • Vassily Ivanych insists that the doctor stay. He suggests all sorts of useless remedies to which the doctor heartily agrees. Arina Vlassyevna simply sits on a stool and occasionally leaves to pray. She broke a looking-glass the other day, which she takes as a bad omen.
  • The servant Anfisushka cannot think of words to comfort her. Meanwhile, Timofeich has gone to deliver the message to Madame Odintsov.
  • Bazarov has a bad night, but feels a bit easier in the morning. His father says thanks that the "crisis" has passed (27.89).
  • Bazarov exclaims, "What a lot a word can do! He's found one – he said 'crisis' and feels better. It's an astounding thing, the faith men still have in words" (27.90).
  • Vassily Ivanych takes heart in his son's speech and cheers him on. Bazarov asks him if the crisis is over or approaching, and Vassily Ivanych says he is just thankful that Bazarov appears to be better.
  • Bazarov checks to make sure the letter has gone to Madame Odintsov, and Vassily Ivanych confirms that it has.
  • Things again take a turn for the worse, and Vassily Ivanych waits by Bazarov's bedside.
  • When Bazarov comes to, he says, "My son, my dear beloved son!" (27.99).
  • Bazarov wants to know what is bothering his father, and he tells him that, as much as it pains him to ask him, he'd like him to perform his duty as a Christian (to pray for God's forgiveness).
  • Bazarov says, "I have no objection if it's any consolation to you. But it seems to me there's no hurry yet. You say yourself that I am better" (27.104).
  • Vassily Ivanych persists, but Bazarov says that he will wait and leans back in bed. Vassily Ivanych goes to sit in his armchair and chew his fingernails.
  • After some time, Vassily Ivanych hears a carriage approaching. He rushes out to meet it, and finds that it is Madame Odintsov. She is dressed completely in black, and has arrived with a German doctor.
  • Vassily Ivanych cries that she is an "angel from heaven" and Arina Vlassyevna comes out and throws herself at Anna Sergeyevna's feet.
  • Vassily Ivanych comes to his senses and leads the doctor into Bazarov's room. He tells Bazarov who has come, and Bazarov says he wants to see Madame Odintsov.
  • His father says that first they will do the medical consultation and then he can see her.
  • Bazarov warns the doctor not to speak in Latin since he knows the phrase for "he's already dying."
  • The doctor sees that the patient speaks German, but Vassily Ivanych says that they should probably speak in Russian. They begin the consultation.
  • After half an hour, Anna Sergeyevna comes to visit. She is frightened by Bazarov's pale sickly form and thinks that if she really loved him, she would not feel this way.
  • He thanks her, and asks his father to leave them.
  • She begins to speak, but he cuts her off. He says, "Death is an old jest but it comes new to everyone" (27.141).
  • He tells her that it makes no sense to tell her he loves her since "love is a form, and my particular form is already disintegrating. Better let me say – how lovely you are!" (27.141).
  • He begs her not to be alarmed, and she comes and sits by him on the sofa.
  • Not long ago, he says, he considered himself a giant. Now, "the only problem for this giant is how to die decently, though that makes no difference to anyone" (27.145).
  • Anna Sergeyevna gives him a glass of water without taking off her gloves. He tells her that his father will think his death is a great loss to Russia. Even though it is not true, he asks her not to disillusion him.
  • To assure him, Anna Sergeyevna tells him that she is there for him. He takes her hand, sits up, and says, "Farewell... Listen... You know, I never kissed you then... Breathe on the dying flame and let it go out..." (27.151).
  • She kisses his forehead and he lets his head sink back into the pillow. As he nods off to sleep, his last words are "Now... darkness..." (27.153).
  • She leaves him, and he never wakes up again. Once, when Father Alexei is saying the last rites over him, his eye opens and one can see that "something like a shudder of horror passed over the death-stricken face" (27.157).
  • When he finally takes his last breath, Vassily Ivanych goes into a frenzy. He cries, "I said I would rebel. And I will rebel. I will!" (27.157).
  • Yet when his wife falls on his shoulders the two of them collapse in grief.
  • Noon comes and then dusk and nightfall, "with a return to the quiet fold where sleep, sweet sleep, waits for the tormented and the weary..." (27.158).

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