Fathers and Sons | Study Guide

Ivan Turgenev

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Course Hero. "Fathers and Sons Study Guide." February 6, 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fathers-and-Sons/.


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Fathers and Sons | Chapter 26 | Summary



The next day Arkady and Katya sit in the garden. Arkady tries to confess his love to her, but he stammers awkwardly through his speech. Just before he asks how Katya feels about him, he hears Madame Odintsov in the distance arguing with Bazarov. Bazarov asks if her interest in him waned because he "grew stale." Madame Odintsov brushes him off and discusses how young, fresh, and interesting she finds Arkady. She worries how Katya will feel losing her "friend" Arkady when Madame Odintsov starts a romantic relationship with him, and she worries whether she should have let them grow so close. Hearing this Arkady looks Katya in the eye and says boldly, "I love you forever and irrevocably, and I love no one but you." He proposes marriage, and Katya happily agrees. The next morning Arkady writes a formal letter to Madame Odintsov asking for Katya's hand, which comes as a further surprise to Bazarov. He wishes Arkady well in his marriage, says goodbye again to Madame Odintsov, and departs for home.


Turgenev uses comedic relief to add levity after emotionally charged scenes. Madame Odintsov's silly belief Arkady has fallen in love with her shows how self-centered and clueless she really is. Overhearing Madame Odintsov's absurd theory prompts Arkady to propose to Katya in earnest, leaving the reader with mixed emotions of comedy and heartache. Madame Odintsov coldly discusses her romantic feelings toward Arkady with Bazarov, unaware or uncaring how hearing her talk of another man would hurt him. The injury deepens when Bazarov learns of Arkady and Katya's engagement. Not only has his heart been broken again by Odintsov, his best friend has achieved what he himself was unable to achieve: happiness. When faced with Arkady and Katya's love, Bazarov must leave. He tries to remain philosophical by suggesting he and Arkady are on different paths, but it's clear Bazarov feels hurt and jealous.

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