Fathers and Sons
by Ivan Turgenev
Fathers and Sons Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Rosemary Edmonds's translation.
"The only good thing about a Russian is the poor opinion he has of himself." (9.46)
Who does Bazarov sympathize with, aside from himself? Why do you think it is that he has such a poor opinion of Russians? How does he see himself as being different from the average Russian? Do you think he has more sympathy for the peasants or the gentry? How can you tell?
Old Prokofyich was the only one to dislike him, looking sour when he served him at table, calling him a "butcher" and a "humbug" and declaring that with his side-whiskers he was a regular pig in a poke. Prokofyich in his own way was quite as much of an aristocrat as Pavel Petrovich. (10.1)
What does the narrator mean by the word "aristocrat" in this context? Why do you think that Prokofyich begins to mimic the behavior and attitudes of his master? What values do they have in common that may make them think similarly? What seems more important to their ways of thinking – their values or their societal positions?
"I am seeking to prove phthis—without a sense of proper pride, without a sense of self-respect—and these feelings are highly developed in the aristocrat—there can be no firm foundation for the social... bien public... the social fabric." (10.45)
Take a look at the view that Bazarov will later take with Madame Odintsov (below). How are these two ideas the complete inverses of one another? Which one seems to you more correct? Based on what happens as the story goes on, does one begin to seem more correct than the other?