Study Guide

Father Alexei in Fathers and Sons

By Ivan Turgenev

Father Alexei

While Bazarov is visiting with Arkady, Vassily Ivanych invites Father Alexei to dinner. He is very concerned about whether or not his son will approve of eating with a religious man, and he pretends that it was not himself but his wife who invited Alexei. To his delight, Bazarov and Alexei get along quite well at the meal, due in large part to the fact that Alexei is very clever and socially smooth; he knows how to handle himself around young people.

The narrator tells us, "The only not altogether agreeable thing about him was his habit of every now and then slowly and carefully raising his hand to catch the flies on his face, and sometimes managing to squash them" (21.147).

Alexei appears again at Bazarov's deathbed. Vassily Ivanych wants to make sure that his son has the last rites said over him before he dies. As it's going on, Bazarov opens an eye and "something like a shudder of horror passe[s] over the death-stricken face" (27.157).