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Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons

by Ivan Turgenev

Traditions and Customs Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Of course I ought to be ashamed," Nikolai Petrovich replied, turning redder and redder.

"Stop, papa, stop, I implore you!" Arkady exclaimed, smiling affectionately. "What a thing to apologize for!" he thought to himself, and his heart was filled with a feeling of indulgent tenderness for his good, kind father, though mixed with a sense of superiority. "Please don't," he repeated again, unable to resist a conscious enjoyment of his own more emancipated outlook. (3.49)

Why is Nikolai so embarrassed about his relationship with Fenichka? Why do you think that Arkady is so indulgent with his father? The narrator makes it clear that, to some small extent, Arkady can't help but lord over his father how much more advanced he is in terms of his social thinking. Would it be better if this were not "conscious enjoyment"? Would it be better if Arkady were unaware of the exact reasons for his indulgence?

Quote #2

"They amaze me, these old romantics!" Bazarov went on. "They stimulate their nervous systems to the point where they completely break down. However, good night. In my room there's an English washstand, but the door won't fasten. Anyhow, that's something to be encouraged – English washstands spell progress." (4.34)

There's something ironic going on here about how Bazarov speaks. To tease it out, first ask why it is that Bazarov makes fun of romantics? Second, ask why he is so taken with English washstands? Isn't there something a bit irrational and silly about his admiration for washstands? How is this different than the irrationality and silliness that he associates with romantics?

Quote #3

"I have been left standing while he has forged ahead, and now we cannot understand one another." (10.13)

Nikolai here laments the fact that he and Arkady will not become more close than they already are since it seems to him that Arkady has, in a sense, surpassed him. Do you think Nikolai is right? In what ways has Arkady forged ahead? Is the way in which one generation surpasses the next somehow built into tradition?

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