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.
"The time has come now – and thank God for it! – when each one of us must secure his sustenance by the work of his own hands; it is no use relying on others – one must labour oneself. Thus Jean-Jacques Rousseau is right." (21.3)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau had a belief in the "noble savage," the belief that men were best and noblest before they became corrupted by civilization. Noting the fact that the peasants are now free and that each man must labor for himself, Vassily Ivanych concludes that Rousseau was correct. Why is this conclusion unfounded? Does it seem like a conclusion that Bazarov would make?
"Here I lie under a haystack... The tiny bit of space I occupy is so minute in comparison with the rest of the universe, where I am not and which is not concerned with me; and the period of time in which it is my lot to live is so infinitesimal compared with the eternity in which I have not been and shall not be... And yet here, in this atom which is myself, in this mathematical point, blood circulates, the brain operates and aspires to something too... What a monstrous business! What futility." (21.58)
Why is it that Bazarov's philosophizing makes him feel his own insignificance so poignantly? Is the inevitable result of thinking too much? What is the point of viewing the world accurately if it leads to a viewpoint like Bazarov's? Is there something missing from his scientifically 'accurate' worldview that would make his life more livable?
"As a matter of fact principles don't exist – you haven't tumbled to that even yet – there are feelings. Everything depends on them." (21.90)
What does Bazarov mean that nothing exists but "feelings"? Doesn't this seem to be contradictory to his anti-romantic output? Do you think he is talking about lofty feelings or so-called base emotions? What does this line about Bazarov's tendency to swing to an extreme whenever he has a new idea?