Fathers and Sons
by Ivan Turgenev
Fathers and Sons Chapter 28 Summary
- Six months go by, and winter comes. A week ago, two weddings took place: Nikolai and Fenichka; Arkady and Katya.
- Nikolai is preparing to see his brother Pavel off to Moscow. Anna Sergeyevna appeared briefly at the wedding, gave Arkady and Katya a generous endowment, and left.
- At 3 o'clock, they all gather around the table to say goodbye to Pavel. Everyone looks better than before, except for Pavel, who has grown thinner; "they all felt a little awkward, a little sad, and, at bottom, very happy" (28.2).
- Nikolai attempts to give a toast to his brother, but stumbles over his words. Eventually, he gets the toast out. Pavel stands up and exchanges kisses with everyone. He asks them to be happy, and then bids them 'farewell' in English.
- As they are making toasts, Katya whispers in Arkady's ear that they should have a toast to Bazarov's memory.
- The narrator now tells us that, though this would seem to be the end, he will oblige us readers by telling what all of the characters are up to at present.
- Anna Sergeyevna is married again. She married not out of love but "out of conviction," and her husband is "kind-hearted and as cold as ice" (28.9).
- The princess is dead, "forgotten the very day she died" (28.9).
- Arkady and Nikolai have settled down to the management of the estate at Maryino. Arkady deals with the estate itself, and Nikolai goes about and preaches to the peasants about the land reforms. Unfortunately, he is too mild to please either the peasants or the gentry.
- Katya has a son, little Nikolai, and Mitya is now walking and talking.
- Fenichka, now Fedosya Nikolayevna, has taken a great liking to Katya, and the two are fast friends.
- Piotr has become stuck up and pompous, but he married the daughter of a market-gardener in town, who had been turning down suitors until one proposed who owned a watch.
- Pavel Petrovich is now in Dresden, and, though his health is deteriorating, he is a key figure in polite society. He is a bit stiff around the English, who still find him a "perfect gentleman," but is more at ease and more popular among the Russians (28.10).
- Russian tourists constantly seek him out, and Matvei Ilyich Kolyazin even paid him a visit when he was in Dresden.
- "Within his capacity he continues to do good works; in a small way he still causes a stir; it was not for nothing that he had been a social lion once upon a time; but life weighs heavily on him... more heavily than he himself suspects" (28.10).
- Madame Kukshin has settled in Heidelberg, begun to study architecture, and remains a hit among the students who "at first flabbergast the simple-minded German professors by their sober outlook on things, and later on astound the same professors by their complete inertia and absolute sloth" (28.11).
- Sitnikov goes about Petersburg telling people that he is continuing the work of Bazarov. A man recently boxed his ears (hit him on either side with the palms of his hand), and Sitnikov called him a coward in an obscure journal that no one reads. He considers this ironic. His wife thinks he is a fool.
- Bazarov lies buried in a remote little graveyard, his grave hemmed in by an iron fence, and there are two fir-trees planted on each end. His parents often come to weep and to tend the grave and to pray.
- And the book closes, "But are those prayers of theirs, those tears, all fruitless? Is their love, their hallowed selfless love, not omnipotent? Oh yes! However passionate, sinful and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep at us serenely with their innocent eyes; they speak to us not only of eternal peace, of the vast repose of 'indifferent' nature: they tell us, too, of everlasting reconciliation and of life which has no end" (28.12).
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