Nihilism In Arkady Kirsanov

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Arkady Kirsanov has just graduated from the University of Petersburg and returns with a friend, Bazarov, to his father's modest estate in an outlying province of Russia. The father gladly receives the two young men at his estate, called Marino, but Nikolai's brother, Pavel, soon becomes upset by the strange new philosophy called "nihilism" which the young men advocate. Nikolai feels awkward with his son at home, partially because Arkady's views have dated his own beliefs, and partially because he has taken a servant, Fenichka, into his house to live with him and has already had a son by her. The two young men remain at Marino for a short time, then decide to visit a relative of Arkady's in a neighboring province. There they observe the local …show more content…
He inculcates the central idea of "nihilism" and acts as the representative force of the new generation against which the older characters of traditional beliefs can react. Bazarov is a nihilist of humble background whose life-view involves a rejection of anything that has previously been accepted as valid. The "nihilist" refuses to take anyone's word for anything; he can have no alliances and no emotions; he cares no more for one country than for another and accepts only that which is scientifically proven. The purpose of the nihilist is to destroy all the existing institutions and values. He considers himself and his kind as a type of pure force whose purpose it is "to clear the site" of traditional values without any consideration of rebuilding or of replacing them with new ones. The ultimate end of the nihilist would seem to be self-destruction, because he can never let stand that which someone else has built and when all is destroyed, he must then turn inward. When we first meet Bazarov, he adheres strictly to his philosophy of nihilism. In brief arguments with Pavel and others, he spurns art, literature, music, and even loyalty to one's country because none of these things have any meaning to him. As for love and romance, he feels that Pavel or any man who allows himself to be influenced by a woman is idiotic. He believes that if a woman appeals to you that you should have your way with her or leave her.

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