Pride has raised some into great happiness, but has also sunk others in failure and despair. In the novel “Fathers and Sons” by Ivan Turgenev, is indeed pride that makes the conflict arise. Where a Nihilistic graduate is exposed to a traditional but constantly changing alien society he is not willing to accept. Bazarov discovers that his pride was his biggest determination, as well as his biggest obstacle. Ultimately he is rejected by this alien society he comes to love. The Russian author makes us wonder if pride is a blessing or a urse.
The main conflict we have in the novel is between Bazarov and Pavel. This is kind of like youth versus older authority. This kind of conflict has been happening for decades because it is basically a fight for dominance. The father type figure, Pavel, is stuck on traditional values like love and aristocratism and Bazarov is the son type character with these new ideas of nihilism. They argue because their ideas are different, but also because they are to blind by their pride to understand each other. This conflict is a smaller scale representation of the political tension between conservatives and adicals in pre revolution 1850’s Russia.
Bazarov was so proud about himself, he thought he was better than anybody else. His way of thinking was only restraining him from absorbing and understanding the ideology and culture of his older generation. After his first interaction with Nikolai, Bazarov tells Arkady: ” An antique sunlival! But your father’s a capital fellow. He wastes his time reading poetry, and doesn’t know much about farming, but he’s a good-hearted 6) Who is Bazarov to make such accusations? From my point ofview, he is being ignorant by considering poetry a waste of time.
How can Bazarov possibly understand what a good-hearted fellow is if he is not even wise enough to identify such attributes. What conceit other than his own pride must he have to dismiss Nikolai so quickly? BazaroVs pride was just holding him back from appreciating what a complex and interesting person Nikolai is. Certainly Bazarov is not the only one who refuses to accept a different ideology than his own throughout the novel. Pavel Petrovic does not put an effort himself into understanding the new ideology this newer generation brought to his brother’s land.
When Arkady ells his uncle that Bazarov is a nihilist, his uncle’s first reaction was: “Say, Shiho respects nothing”. (21) He rejects Bazarov since the beginning of the play. Immediately Arkady tries to explain that a nihilist actually means someone who regards everything from the critical point of view, but his uncle’s answer was: “Isn’t that just the same thing? ‘ (21) Clearly Pavel is too proud to see the complexity of what his nephew is trying to tell him. He is not willing to accept Bazarovs way of thinking because he thinks that since he is older he is right and Bazarov is wrong.
It may be human nature to underestimate a younger thinker, but it must be a father and son tradition. Ones again the characters pride is the only obstacle that prevents them from mutual understanding. But pride does not only have negative attributes for the characters lives. In the story we can also see how pride conducts some characters into their happy ending. As soon as Bazarov starts to criticize the older generation, we can see a reaction coming from Arkady. This time he is not supporting his nihilist friend, instead he is starting to question the accusations he says about Pavel and
Nicolai. When Arkady realizes that Bazarov is judging his father, he is able to break out of his shyness and tells Bazarov: “My father’s a man in a thousand”. (16) Arkady is proud of his old man. The pride he had towards his family made him not tolerate his friends arguments against it. Throughout the whole story, this family pride makes Arkady find more interest in his family and less in his friend’s believes. Arkady is destined to a happy ending because he loved and was proud of what his family had to offer him. In Arkadys case, his pride did not create conflict but actually solved his doubts.
Every character is proud in a different way, but who are we to say if it’s right or wrong if even our own pride constantly changes. In the novel we can also see some examples of characters who undergo this pride transformation. When Bazarov is in his deathbed he begins to reflect on his short life. He questioned himself if what he believed in was really worth it. After that, he was not that convinced anymore. We can see this when Bazarov says: “A dead man is no companion for the living. My father will tell you what loss shall be to Russia… That’s bosh, but don’t disillusion the old man.
Whatever oy comforts a child… you know. And be kind to my mother. You wont find people like them in your great world even if you search for them in daylight and with the help of a lamp… Russia needs me… No, clearly she doesn’t. And who is needed? The cobblers needed, the tailor’s 76) This does not sound like the character we meet at the beginning of the novel. Bazarov is now contradicting what he used to believe in. He gave up into love and acceptance of others. Maybe now we can agree with what Bazarov is proud about, its sad it took him his life to realize what its really worth believing in.
Pride definitely affects what each characters believes in. This applies in their lives and even in our lives, but how can we know if what we believe in is right. It is not easy to accept what we believe can be wrong, so why would we listen to somebody who disagrees with our point of view right? There is no real way to know if pride is a personal quality or a flaw. Maybe this is why there is so much conflict in the world. Ivan Turgenev was able to show this idea by representing a small Russian society. Everyone will always be proud about something. guess it all depends of what you are proud about.