Edges are recurring images in the novel. Pechorin encounters one of these edge imageries in Taman. Pechorin calls his abode in Taman "a small hut on the very edge of the sea" and describes it by claiming that "Almost at the foot of its walls there was a sheer drop to the sea, with dark blue waves splashing and murmuring unceasingly below" (57). Edges perfectly symbolize Pechorin's life. He lives on the edge, and, throughout many times in the novel, he gets close to falling. The young woman in Taman almost throws him into the sea. Pechorin manages to escape death many times. Some of the people around him are not as lucky. Pechorin and Grushnitsky engage in a duel on a cliff, another edge imagery. Pechorin shoots Grushnitsky, and the force of the bullet throws Grushnitsky's body over the cliff and into the waters below.
The Blind Boy
Pechorin witnesses a sad scene at the end of his stay in Taman. He sees the blind boy emotionally breakdown. Pechorin says, "The blind boy still sat on the shore, and I heard what sounded like sobbing" (69). This scene resembles a later scene in the novel where Pechorin faces his own breakdown. The blind boy cries after the young woman and Yanko desert him. Pechorin falls apart after Vera and her husband disappear.
Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov is a writer of the Romantic era. He depicts the subliminal quality of nature in this novel. Pechorin, the novel's main character, finds himself overwhelmed by the novel's settings many times. Pechorin gives a long and vivid description of Kislovodsk's landscape. He states, "Everything is mysterious: the murky shade of the lime walks above the foaming torrent that roars down from ledge to ledge, cutting its way through the green-clad hills, and the ravines, full of mist and silence, that branch off here in all directions, the freshness of the scented air, heavy with the perfume of tall southern grasses and white acacia, and the ceaseless, lusciously soporific sound of icy streams that meet at the foot of the valley and merrily race one another till at last they rush into the Podkumok" (116). Pechorin is both terrified and in awe of the landscape. Pechorin feels a strong connection to the settings in the novel. At times, he is more connected to the settings than the people around him.
To prove that predestination exists, and that men are not in control of their destinies, Vulich gambles with his life. Pechorin recounts the scene with the following lines: "With mingled fear and some indescribable curiosity, all eyes darted to and fro between the pistol and the fateful ace. It fluttered in the air and floated slowly down. As it touched the table, Vulich pulled the trigger. The pistol misfired" (151). Gambling is an important theme in the novel. Vulich is not the only character to gamble with his life. Pechorin constantly places himself in dangerous situations. The stories in this novel are basically Pechorin holding a gun to his head and seeing if it misfires or not. Curiosity, which is briefly mentioned in the quote above, is also another theme in the novel. Curiosity drives the chaos in many parts of the novel. Pechorin's curiosity compels him to follow the blind boy in Taman. It also compels him to spy on Grushnitsky, the dragoon captain, and Princess Mary.
A Hero of Our Time Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for A Hero of Our Time is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.