A Hero of Our Time

The Power of Bias College

Narrators provide insight into a character with the way they are described and what events are emphasized. In Eugene Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin, and A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov, both have engaged voices, which add a more personal element to the novels, perhaps bias, to the reader’s understanding of the characters.

The personal element is the relationship the narrators have with the characters. It forces the reader to evaluate the characters as companions, rather than characters. Eugene Onegin’s narrative voice comes from a narrator speaking as a friend. Because the narrator is a friend of Eugene Onegin, the narrator is much more compassionate, and less critical. He describes Onegin in a negative light, but makes excuses for him. When confronting Tatyana about her letter, the narrator explains that Onegin was deeply moved, but he coldly rejects her because “Eugene had no wish to betray/ a soul so innocent, so trusting” (Pushkin 4, X1, 11-12). It is hard to believe that these are truly Eugene’s thoughts, not the narrator’s interpretation, because Eugene is a superfluous man; he thinks of his own needs and desires before others. If he were actually trying to be delicate of Tatyana’s feelings he would have been more...

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