© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons


by Ivan Turgenev

Fathers and Sons Philosophical Viewpoints Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Rosemary Edmonds's translation.

Quote #4

"In the first place, experience of life does that, and in the second, I assure you the study of separate individuals is not worth the trouble it involves. All men are similar, in soul as well as in body. Each of us has a brain, spleen, heart and lungs of similar construction; and the so-called moral qualities are the same in all of us – the slight variations are of no importance. It is enough to have one single human specimen in order to judge all the others. People are like trees in a forest: no botanist would dream of studying each individual birch-tree." (16.39)

Let's hope that we all recognize how absurd Bazarov's viewpoint is. How does this application of a scientific point of view to basic human matters fall incredibly short? Could there be a modified view that would not fall so short? Is Bazarov simply articulating his position incorrectly or is there something fundamentally wrong with it?

Quote #5

"System is needed in everything." (16.74)

How does Anna Sergeyevna's retort to Bazarov capture one of the basic problems of nihilism as a basic code of conduct? Does Anna Sergeyevna act as if there is system in everything? Is she perhaps constrained by this viewpoint?

Quote #6

"For a thinking man there is no such thing as wilderness." (20.43)

What does Vassily Ivanych mean by this line? How does the line capture the difference between his own romantic philosophizing and Bazarov's more rationalistic brand? How is Vassily Ivanych comforted by his own philosophy? Is Bazarov ever comforted by his own philosophy?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...