Most information is given by one of these two narrative personae, but sometimes it is given by one of the characters. Most often this is Arcady. It is he who describes the land surrounding Maryino and it is ostensibly he who gives the account of Pavel’s pre-history. He also gives the first description of Odintzova and many of his meetings with Katya are described as seen through his own eyes. Equally, the initial perceptions of Bazarov that appear in the novel are from his standpoint. This naturally means that often the reader is prey to an essentially biased appreciation of events based on the experience of a single character. This is particularly important in the cases of Odintzova, Bazarov and Pavel, who as egoists with little sensitivity to the people around them must remain in the context of the novel as the observed rather than the observers. Individual scenes are hardly ever narrated from their point of view, their self- interest precluding interest in the external. Finally, it is important to note the significance of the environment for characterisation in Fathers and Sons. Environmental details are key for defining personality. One need only think of Anna Odintzova’s perfectly ordered house, Vassily Ivanich’s cluttered and cosy study or Pavel Petrovich’s beautifully appointed rooms. In this respect Bazarov is once again the only exception, as he has no personalised setting to define him. Each new place that he visits brings a new aspect of his character to light, but in the end he fits nowhere and must die it seems, almost by default.

Turgenev himself cannot be relied upon when it comes to defining his stance on the characters of Fathers and Sons and Bazarov in particular, who was an especially difficult character to justify at the time of the novel’s publication both in the eyes of the Left and of the Right. However, while Bazarov was not destined to be depicted as a character quite in tune with his times, he can perhaps be seen as the precursor of a revolutionary generation that Turgenev saw approaching in the not too distant future.

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