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Quotes

Quote #1

The sun blazed down. A smell of warm rye bread was wafted out of the dark passage of the inn. Our Nikolai Petrovich is lost in reverie. "My son... a graduate... my boy Arkady..." Again and again the words ran through his head. He tried to think of other things but back came the same thoughts. He remembered his dead wife. "She did not live to see this day," he murmured sadly... A fat blue-grey pigeon flew down on to the road, hurrying to drink from a puddle beside the wall. (1.9)

What seems to be the relationship here between Nikolai's inner psychology and the world around him? Why do you think the narrator bounces back and forth between the inner and outer worlds? In what way does he seem to be suggesting that they are related? How would the passage be different if you cut out all the natural descriptions? Would Nikolai's problems seem more or less important?

Quote #2

Thus Arkady. But even as he reflected spring regained its sway. All around lay a sea of golden green – everything, trees, bushes, grass, gently shone and stirred in sweeping waves under the soft warm breath of the wind; on every side larks poured out their never-ceasing trills. Plovers called as they glided above the low-lying meadows or ran noiselessly over the tufts of grass; the rooks strutted about, black and beautiful against the tender green of the low spring corn: they disappeared in the already whitening rye, and their heads only now and again peeped out from among its smoke-like waves. Arkady gazed and gazed, until his thoughts grew dim and faded away... (3.60)

In what way does nature control and direct Arkady's thought? What seems to be more powerful – his melancholy or the optimistic nature of spring? Why the long description? How would this be a different passage if the narrator simply said, "But even as he reflected spring regained its sway"?

Quote #3

At first she was very shy with him, and once, meeting him toward evening on a narrow footpath through a rye field, she plunged into the tall thick rye, overgrown with cornflowers and wormwood, to avoid coming face to face with him. He caught sight of her little head through the golden network of ears of rye, from which she was peering out like a small wild animal. (8.50)

What is the affect of having Fenichka be compared to "a small wild animal"? Why might Fenichka seem somehow wild to Bazarov? Does it seem condescending to compare her to an animal? How is Fenichka's relationship to the natural world different than that of the other characters'?

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