Study Guide

Piotr in Fathers and Sons

By Ivan Turgenev


Piotr is one of the Kirsanov's main servants. He is essentially free, as Nikolai Petrovich tells Arkady early on, and he is identified as one of the "modern 'up-to-date' servants" (2.14). In general, Piotr does not act excessively servile in front of his masters, though he is more responsible than many of the peasants, who simply use their money to go to the local pub.

Later in the story, when Bazarov and Pavel Petrovich duel, they decide to use Piotr as witness so that if someone dies the other will not be accused of murder. Piotr is terrified when Bazarov brings him down behind the copse (cluster of trees) and explains his role to him. Bazarov repeatedly has to emphasize that Piotr will not be held responsible. After Bazarov shoots Pavel Petrovich, both are dismayed when Piotr immediately rushes to tell Nikolai what has happened.

At the end of the story, we learn that Piotr has "grown quite rigid with stupidity and self-importance" (28.9). Yet, we also learn that he married the daughter of a market-gardener and has accumulated a very respectable dowry for himself.