Fathers and Sons Essay

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Though Ivan Turgenev dealt with self-deception in a number of his works, nowhere is the theme more pervasive, or more subtly or convincingly handled, than in Fathers and Sons. Here false self-images are crucial to the tragic view which the action of the novel seems to demand, a view which in turn helps make it probably Turgenev's greatest work. This self-deception is most obvious in the case of certain minor characters. Peter (Piotr), Nikolai Kirsanov's "progressive" servant, is "a man whose whole merit consisted in the fact that he looked civil," and he obviously believes himself so, even though his civility is little more than an appearance. The progressive dandy, Sitnikov, is a sycophant who believes himself brave and definite when he feels the support of his idol, Bazarov, Madame Kukshin compensates for feminine plainness and frustration with the self-image of a woman of "advanced" views, and Matvey...

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This section contains 3,087 words
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