Russian Culture: “Fathers And Sons” By Ivan Turgenev Essay Sample
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Russia, Literature, Culture, Duel, People, Ethics, Relationships, Belief
Ivan S. Turgenev, one of the most prominent Russian writers, wrote his novel “Fathers and Sons” in the middle of 19th century and became the first author of Russian literature who had created wholly modern novel. Along with other famous writers of that period, Turgenev was writing such novels that were the reflections of the era in which he lived – they presented Russian culture, social and political changes as well as the reaction of Russian people to all of those events. The greatest collision that is given in “Fathers and Sons” is the schism of moral beliefs between two generations – parents and their children. Turgenev wrote the monumental book, encyclopedia of Russian culture and social life of 19th century – with all the revolutions in views, beliefs, lifestyles and people’s relationships. Russian mode of life in this novel is pictured through the main personages, their unique characters and meaningful dialogues between them.
The chapter XXIV of the novel is based on the story of duel between Bazarov and Pavel Petrovich. This part of the book is very significant for the whole plot as well as it is useful enough in the context of demonstration of Russian culture’s distinctive features during that period. First of all, it should be said about the duel as such. Russian men have always sought to protect their honor and dignity and show their nobleness; every man thus, unless he was a coward, had to accept the challenge and fight in a duel as a brave man. So, Pavel Petrovich challenges Bazarov to the duel since the latter has kissed Fenichka, while Pavel Petrovich has seen it and considered Bazarov’s behavior as an inappropriate (Turgenev “Fathers and Sons”). According to Russian traditions, young man has had to accept the challenge to the duel. Secondly, Russian culture of 19th century is also well presented through the dialogues of the heroes: they are talking on various themes including social, political issues and events; they discuss the moral beliefs of their time and rise scientific questions along with philosophical ones. Also, in Russia it has been fashionable to put particular words or/and phrases in French or Latin during the conversation – it has emphasized the level of education of a person. Thirdly, this chapter of the book perfectly presents the Russian culture of relationships between different people: deliberate restraint in Bazarov’s and Pavel Petrovich’s communication; Nikolai Petrovich’s caring for his brother; Pavel Petrovich’s sentimental attachment to Fenichka; Fenichka’s passionate love for Nikolai Petrovich, etc.
I agree with the author in the aspect of his describing of the Russian culture of 19th century since he caught the main motives of historical changes that influenced a lot on the lifestyle and beliefs of Russian people. Turgenev managed to present the turning point in moral judgments of new generation to the readers. I also agree with author’s decision to show emotions of heroes in a restrained manner: the relationships between main characters as well as their feelings and experiences are not exaggerated or overestimated like it was in the novels of other Russian writers.
The conclusions that I have drawn from the reading of “Fathers and Sons” about Russian culture are as follows: Russian men are ready to protect their honor and dignity in any way, even if they are at risk of dying; Russian culture of dialoguing includes talking on a large variety of themes and use of foreign words and phrases in order to demonstrate person’s literacy; and finally, since Ivan Turgenev is a master of description of human relationships, during the reading it becomes obvious that Russian people are passionate, emotional, selfless, kind, sympathetic, and responsible. I consider that all this knowledge is important to be aware of since it will help to understand Russian culture during the further studying of the subject and will be useful in the future, when I will try to estimate the impact of different political and social changes on Russian culture.
Turgenev, Ivan. “Fathers and Sons”. The Literature Network. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.