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Arkady’s Change: From Friend To Foe, From Love To A Memory - With A Free Essay Review



Broken friendships are of the inevitable as it’s rare an individual can go the course of their life without losing a friend. This is displayed best in Ivan Turgenev’s text of Fathers and Sons where Arkady Nikolayevitch Kirsanov and Yevgeny Vassilievitch Bazarov split ways after developing a dear friendship between one another. As the closely-knit friendship begins to break, we see a change in Arkady as he develops into a new individual when all is said and done.

However, things begin well as Arkady finds Bazarov as an extremely close friend and one in whom he can trust. In fact, it is Bazarov who returns home with Arkady to reunite with his father Nikolai, in whom he missed very much. Arkady doesn’t shy away from expressing his love for Bazarov’s friendship as he makes it clear to his father the importance of Bazarov in his life. Arkady states, “Please, daddy, do be very kind to him. I can’t tell you how much I esteem his friendship” (Turgenev 8).

Arkady’s early stages of excitement are expressed clearly as he continues to build up his near-and-dear friend of Bazarov as he brags of his expertise in the medical exam. It is evident that Nikolai appreciates his son’s relationship as he takes an interest in treating Bazarov with respect and kindness. However, we begin to see the real Bazarov as the text unwinds. One would say, the beginning of the end is about to appear.

As the story progresses, Arkady’s uncle Pavel appears as he is delighted to see a man in which he greatly respects. Unfortunately for Arkady, his guest Bazarov does not seem to paint a similar picture of his uncle as he begins to mock him following their dinner together. This is a moment of disagreement and a breaking point as Bazarov is now being disrespect of Arkady’s family.

After the nearly silent dinner, Bazarov shares his perspective of Arkady’s uncle by stating, “What an eccentric uncle you have! Just think, what elegance for the country! And as for his nails—why, they’re only fit for an exhibition!” Arkady made his best effort to defend his family but Bazarov continued by including his father in the conversation. Bazarov stated, “He’s archaic! But your father’s fine. A pity he has a weakness for reciting verse; it’s unlikely that he understands much about estate management, but he must be a kind-hearted man” (Turgenev 18).

In desperation to maintain his friendship, Arkady begins to share with Bazarov of his uncle’s situation as he believes it will clear up any negative feelings he has towards Pavel. Arkady’s plan undoubtedly backfires as Bazarov continues to maintain a hard heart and an unwillingness to accept his so-called friend’s uncle. In fact, we actually see Bazarov continue to downgrade Pavel and blatantly blames his uncle for the way in which his life turned out.

The relationship between Arkady and Bazarov continues to shred to pieces as we begin to witness that it takes two to maintain a relationship.

Even though Bazarov is clearly not in favor of Nikolai and Pavel, Arkady remains connected to his “friend” as the two continue their adventures. The location of the story transitions into Bazarov and Arkady on their way to see Vassily Ivanovitch and Arina Vlassevna Bazarov. This is where Bazarov’s character is truly revealed as he doesn’t treat his own parents with much respect as shown in his boredom at home. Bazarov doesn’t show a deep interest in his parents and hasn’t visited them in quite some time. Even still, Bazarov admits his parents have done many good things for him over the course of his life.

While at Bazarov’s home, Vassily Ivanovitch and Arkady begin to share and exchange their thoughts of Bazarov and his successful future. As expected, Arkady shares with Bazarov’s father that his son is a man of intelligence and great friend of his. As any father would do, Vassily Ivanovitch agrees in-depth with Arkady’s beliefs and cherishes his son with unimaginable love. Even after all Arkady’s devotion, Bazarov continues to tear down his “friend”.

The breaking continues as Bazarov and Arkady are once again alone as Arkady’s self-image is smashed like a rock connecting with a mirror. The two are sprawled out on a haystack when Bazarov continues in his downgrading ways. The two begin to bicker back and forth when Arkady attempts to change the subject by pointing out a maple leaf as its branch was falling to the ground. In response, Bazarov sarcastically says, “Oh, my dearest friend Arcady! One thing I entreat you; don’t talk so beautifully.” Following these remarks, Bazarov once again digs deep and continues to change the person Arkady is by once again insulting his family. Bazarov states, “Oho! I can see you’re determined to follow in your uncle’s footsteps. How that idiot would rejoice if he heard you!” (Turgenev 155).

The days where Arkady tries to ease the situation turn to a rare outrage as he seems to finally have had enough. Turgenev even uses the term “hotly” which describes Arkady’s tone of voice as passionate and with anger. In fact, Arkady later exclaims, “Shut up! No friendships could bear such strain for long” (Turgenev 157). The breaking is alive and well as the days of Bazarov and Arkady are quickly coming to pass.

Bazarov continues to stand between Arkady and his family as he is once again involved in an altercation with Pavel, only this time, much more serious. This conflict is brought about over Bazarov’s relationship with Fenichka, Nikolai’s housekeeper and the mother of his young son. As a result, Bazarov and Pavel exchange shots as uncle Pavel is struck below the waist with a shot. As this is going on, Arkady is beginning to develop a relationship with Katherine Sergeyevna Lokteva also known as “Katya”, the sister of Madame Odintsova.

Arkady’s infatuation with Katya begins to become an essential role in his healing process as his once great friend Bazarov is about to exit his life. Katya becomes engaged to Arkady as Bazarov hits the road and has few words to exchange with Arkady who stuck by his side thick and thin. However, an emotional Arkady is shown in the final stages of his relationship with Bazarov as he states, “Is this out final farewell, Eugene? And you have nothing more to say to me? (Turgenev 218). The text went on to state that the two exchanged a final goodbye as “tears flooded to Arkady’s eyes”.

In closing, Arkady parts ways with his once dear friend as their departure from one another isn’t as harsh as one would think. Arkady demonstrated true friendship throughout his time spent with Bazarov despite being mistreated a large majority of the time. Fortunately for Arkady, he soon comes to lose memory of Bazarov as Katya fills his role as the two begin to develop a genuine love for each other. While friends will come and go, true love will last a lifetime.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Your thesis is essentially that "we see a change in Arkady." The problem with this thesis is that it is not specific enough. Almost every important character in every novel undergoes change. So if you want to talk about the development of a character, you need to try to do that in a more specific way; i.e., you need to explain the cause, nature, and consequence of the change. Beyond that, you need to explain the impact that this change has on your understanding of the significance of the novel. All of that amounts, ultimately, to making an argument about the meaning of the novel.

What your essay gives us in place of an argument is a summary of the events in the novel relevant to the relationship between Arkady and Bazarov. Your discussion of that relationship could be part of an argument about the meaning of the novel, but to become that, the discussion needs to pose and try to answer the right questions. For instance: What is the source of Arkady's love for Bazarov? What does Arkady admire in him? Is his love grounded in the fact that he shares Bazarov's political views (or, generally, his nihilism); or does he support those views because he loves Bazarov?

Those seem like important questions to answer because the novel is obviously concerned with a conflict between different political views or different ideologies. Bazarov's criticisms of the older generation (of parents and uncles) is not merely idiosyncratic after all, even though that is the impression that your summary gives. Pavel’s criticism of Bazarov is likewise ideologically motivated. So it is important to remember that these characters have beliefs.

Bazarov’s beliefs are challenged in the course of the novel even for Bazarov himself, but they also presumably represent a challenge for Arkady. You might be able to make some headway here by thinking about the nature of that challenge and about how it impacts Arkady. At the very least, I think one ought to note that the "change" in Arkady is not just a change in the status of his relationship with Bazarov. You need to think about how Arkady himself changes as a character. Think about his ambivalence towards Bazarov and his ambivalence towards Bazarov’s beliefs. Think about the life he adopts towards the end of the novel and what made adopting that life possible. More generally, think about the role that kinship, friendship, and love play in complicating and the ideological or philosophical conflicts in the novel.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: GarrettDerr
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