Fathers and Sons | Study Guide

Ivan Turgenev

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Fathers and Sons | Chapter 25 | Summary



Arkady and Katya sit in the garden at Nikolskoe feeding swallows. Once again Arkady talks about the foliage, but unlike Bazarov Katya doesn't reproach him for "fine talk." She does, however, tease him for being under Bazarov's "spell" just as her sister was during their first visit. She calls Bazarov a "wild animal" and claims she and Arkady are "tame." Arkady feels overwhelmed with feeling for Katya and tells her so, although he runs away in embarrassment before she can respond.

When he returns to the house, a servant announces Bazarov's presence. Bazarov informs him of what happened during the duel and announces he stopped only to say goodbye before traveling on to his parents' house. He assumes Arkady returned to have an affair with Madame Odintsov, and it must be going well if he's still here. He asserts their friendship is over because their "paths are beginning to part." Saying goodbye to Madame Odintsov he asks her not to remember him "repugnantly," and they agree to put the past behind them. Bazarov hints at Arkady's love for Madame Odintsov, which surprises and confuses her.


Arkady's and Katya's characters have matured since they first were introduced. Previously they hid in the shadows of the more dominant characters: Arkady hiding behind Bazarov and Katya hiding behind her sister. Alone with each other Arkady and Katya are free to be their true selves. Arkady is mature enough to reject nihilism and fully embrace his love of nature. Katya rejects wealth and fully embraces romance. Katya appreciates the simple things in life and has no desire to live the life of opulence her sister has chosen. She wouldn't marry a rich man, she says, even if she loved him because she believes a relationship must be balanced for happiness, for "unequal matches are always unlucky."

Clearly she views Arkady as her equal. She continues to say she and Arkady are "tame," while Bazarov is "wild." Although Arkady first feels offended, and perhaps emasculated, by Katya's assertion, he remembers Bazarov's passion, selfishness, and even meanness. He, in contrast, enjoys peace, quiet, and contentment in a way Bazarov seems incapable of.

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