Bazarov’s Nihilism Failure

January 1, 2017 General Studies

In Fathers and Sons, written by Ivan Turgenev, Bazarov represents the extreme of the newer generation, the nihilist. A nihilist is ” a person who doesn’t bow down before authorities, doesn’t accept even one principle on faith, no matter how much respect surrounds that principle” (Turgenev 18). Throughout Fathers and Sons, Bazarov tried to be a complete nihilist; however, his love for Anna Odintsova, his parents and sympathy for Pavel Petrovich kept him from succeeding. .

When Bazarov encountered Anna, he tried to suppress many feelings. When Bazarov first met Anna Odintsova he was intrigued by her immediately, saying, “What a delectable body!” (Turgenev 61). Initially only attracted to her looks, Bazarov soon finds that she has more to her, claiming “that lady has a head on her shoulders” (Turgenev 67). In the early stages of their relationship, Bazarov feels inspired and overwhelmed by Anna and these feelings “tormented and enraged him” (Turgenev 71). Bazarov faces feelings, which he tries desperately to hide, but despite his resistance, Bazarov cannot seem to get rid of off his passion. His love for Anna conflicts with his deeply held views of nihilism, which makes Bazarov not a true nihilist. Eventually, the “passion struggling within him.” (Turgenev 80) is too much for Bazarov to disregard and he gives in to his passion. Bazarov loves Anna deeply for a time and when she rejects him, he returns to his beliefs in nihilism. Bazarov moved away from the emotionless nature of nihilism and confessed his love to Anna. “Then you should know that I love you, stupidly, madly . now see what you’ve extracted’ ” (Turgenev 80). It is here that Bazarov shows he is capable of romance, and he reveals himself for a brief moment until he finds that Odintsova does not return his love. For a instance Bazarov had rejected nihilism and embraced love.

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Even though Bazarov and Pavel are from different generations; however, they have similar ethics.


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