Fathers and Sons | Study Guide

Ivan Turgenev

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Course Hero. "Fathers and Sons Study Guide." February 6, 2018. Accessed January 19, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fathers-and-Sons/.


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Fathers and Sons | Chapter 12 | Summary



The narrator gives some background about Matvy Ilyich Kolyazin, a vain man successful in business and with political aspirations. At ease in social situations and with no lack of superficial charm, he surrounds himself with powerful or interesting people. He has no real intellect of his own but appears gracious and competent and makes his presence felt. He greets Arkady warmly and Bazarov suspiciously, inviting them to the governor's ball that evening, somewhat taken by surprise the men he invited declined his invitation. The young men pay a visit to the governor to accept the invitation. On their way home they bump into Viktor Sitnikov, an acquaintance from Bazarov's past and enthusiastic disciple of Bazarov's nihilistic beliefs. Sitnikov invites them to join him in a visit to Avdotya Nikitishna Kukshin, an intelligent, progressive woman he knows.


This transitional chapter serves to move Arkady and Bazarov to a new location. They visit with the governor, a man described as "a progressive and a despot." This characterization suggests the superficiality of many in the liberal movement who claim liberal views when convenient but continue to support traditional institutions. In this case the governor claims to be progressive but obviously benefits from the traditional feudal hierarchy that allowed him to amass great wealth. Bazarov's disciple Sitnikov further characterizes the superficiality of many in the Progressive movement. Although he appears steadfastly dedicated to Bazarov's nihilistic teachings, he verbalizes his support to gain social standing rather than to advance the movement.

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