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Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons


by Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons Chapter 4 Summary

  • Only a young girl and boy (Pavel Kirsanov's servant) come to greet the men when they arrive at Maryino.
  • Nikolai, Arkady, and Bazarov make their way to the drawing room. Nikolai says that they will have supper at once, and then they can all go to bed.
  • At that moment, his old servant, Prokofyich, appears. He walks up and kisses Arkady's hand and comments on how good he looks.
  • Nikolai offers to let Bazarov have some time in his room before dinner, but Bazarov replies that he is fine; he'd just like his trunk and jacket to be taken there. Prokofyich carries them out for him.
  • Arkady is about to go to his room to tidy up when his uncle Pavel appears. Pavel makes quite an entrance. The narrator thinks that he has retained some of the beauty of his youth, and notes his "aristocratic elegance" (4.11).
  • Pavel removes his hand from his pocket and the narrator notes that he has long tapering nails. He shakes Arkady's hand and then kisses him three times. He does not offer his hand to Bazarov.
  • They make small talk, and Arkady says he's just going to his room for a second. Bazarov jumps up and says he'll join him.
  • Pavel asks Nikolai who Bazarov is; he calls him "that long-haired creature" (4.19). Pavel goes on to say that Arkady seems very smart and that he's happy to have him back.
  • At supper, there is little conversation. Bazarov says practically nothing. Pavel does not eat. He simply paces up and down and makes occasional exclamations in response to the things Nikolai and Arkady say.
  • Nikolai talks about the upcoming government reforms, and the difficulties of the farming life. Arkady shares a bit of Petersburg gossip, but he is embarrassed because he knows that everyone at Maryino still thinks of him as a child.
  • After dinner, as soon as Arkady and Bazarov separate, Bazarov notes how ridiculous Pavel is. He thinks that he must dress fancily out of nostalgia for lost times and calls him an "archaic survival" (4.30).
  • As for Arkady's father, he thinks "he wastes his time reading poetry, and knows precious little about farming" (4.30). He also points out how shy he is.
  • Arkady tries to stick up for both his father and his uncle, but Bazarov simply speaks over him.
  • Bazarov's last thought before he departs is that he is happy to have an English washstand (sink) in his room because washstands indicate progress.
  • After he leaves, Arkady feels overcome with happiness to be home amongst familiar people and things.
  • Arkady and Bazarov fall asleep quickly. Nikolai stays up for awhile because he is too excited by his son's arrival. Pavel sits up holding a copy of Galignani (English daily paper) without reading it. He stares into the flames of the fireplace. The narrator thinks that something in the present concerns him.
  • In the back room is Fenichka, who sleeps on and off, but is constantly peeking through an open door where she can see a sleeping infant (hint: who's the father?).

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