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Written by Nicola Francisc
Nikolai is Arkady’s father, a landowner from Russia. Nikolai came from a family where his father wanted him to have a military career but he was sent to university because of an injury. His first wife died after ten years of marriage and Nikolai decided to name his estate after her. Nikolai is described as a kind man, and his kindness led him to be taken as a fool by the peasants under him. Arkady believes that his father has old fashioned beliefs that make him loose money and when he tries to help him, Nikolai doesn’t oppose it. Nikolai loves Arkady above everything and he cares a lot about his opinion. Nikolai has another child, a young boy with a servant from his house who he eventually marries at Arkady’s request. Nikolai is described as a naïve man, without the mental strength to properly take care of his wealth but with a good heart and a peaceful nature.
Arkady Nikolaevich Kirsanov
Arkady is Nikolai’s only son who left to study at a college. He is malleable and becomes quickly attached to Bazarov who becomes his mentor. Arkady is a highly intelligent man but this doesn’t stop him from respecting his father. Even though Arkady admits that his father’s ways are old-fashioned and ineffective he doesn’t criticize him but rather tries to present his point of view in a respectable manner. Arkady doesn’t criticize his father for fathering a child outside marriage and even urges him to marry the servant girl. Just like Bazarov, Arkady falls in love with Anna and even becomes a little jealous when he sees that Anna likes Bazarov more than him. Arkady is able to get over his broken heart and finds love through Anna’s younger sister, Katya with whom he has many things in common.
Yevgeny Vassikyich Bazarov
Bazarov is a complex character, characterized primarily by the need to always be better. He is proud and can sometimes easily anger the other characters like Pavel, but at the same time, he is easy to like and the servants from Nikolai’s house like him almost as soon as they see him. Bazarov becomes Arkady’s mentor and between them forms a strong friendship. Bazarov’s life is turned upside down when he meets Anna and falls in love with her. They never get together because they are too much alike and this unhappy love story affects Bazarov more than he admits. Bazarov is the personification of the human who thinks himself immune in the face of death but is forced to admit that in the end, we all have to die. His resignation in the face of death makes him human, relatable to the reader and even makes the reader pity him in the end, despite all his flaws.
Anna Sergeyevna Odintsov
Anna is a wealthy widowed woman who meets Arkady and Bazarov at Kolyazin's ball. There, she attracts the most attention and it becomes obvious that other women are jealous of her. Madame Odintsov is an independent woman and her ideas and views may make her hard to like. She gets close to Bazarov and Arkady and even starts to like Bazarov in a romantic way. When Bazarov confesses that he loves her, Madame Odintsov is reluctant in accepting his feelings and this pushes him to go to his parents. Despite her coldness, she cares for Bazarov in her own way and when she finds that he is on his death bed, rushes to him with a German doctor. Despite being successful among men and having many admirers, Madame Odintsov refuses to accept their love and get married. At the end of the novel, it is revealed that she married someone, a man who is as cold as she is.
Pavel is Nikolai’s only brother and Arkady’s uncle. From the start, we find that he is a proud man, who despite his age, continues to take care of his appearance, dressing in an aristocrat way and letting his nails grow long. Pavel had a successful military career and he expected to be respected. When he first meets Bazaroz, between them forms a mutual dislike, Pavel disliking Bazarov because he constantly disagreed with him and Bazarov disliking Pavel because of his old ways. Pavel is a nationless character, thinking that Russia is the greatest country that exists and when other characters disagree with him, he gets angry. Despite the differences they have, Bazarov and Pavel have many things in common, especially when it comes to women and love. Pavel’s tragic love story foreshadows Bazarov’s love story with Anna and towards the end of the novel, they get to a level of mutual understanding.
Katerina Sergeyevna Odintsov
Katerina is Anna’s older sister, who is first introduced into the story when Arkady and Bazarov visit Anna’s home. She appears at first as a child, inexperienced and scared of Arkady but with whom becomes close over time. As Katya becomes more important for Arkady, her character becomes more complex and interesting, morphing from a young girl to a woman. Katya ends up marrying Arkady and at the end of the novel, we find that she already gave birth to a child.
Fenichka is a servant girl in Nikolai’s house who became pregnant and gave birth to Nikolai’s son. In the beginning of the novel, Fenichka chooses to stay away from Arkady and Bazarov but she soon becomes closer to them after Arkady expresses his approval of her. During Bazarov’s second stay at Nikolai’s house, he and Fenichka become close and he admits that she is the only one he can talk to. Pavel and Bazarov both start to like Fenichka and because of this, Pavel challenges Bazarov to a duel. At Pavel and Arkady’s instance, Nikolai marries Fenichka and the end of the novel shows her surrounded by family, rather than staying isolated.
Arina is Fenichka’s mother, a woman who owned an inn but agreed to go and work for Nikolai when the business was no longer profitable. Arina died after a few years she agreed to serve Nikolai and her daughter remained with Nikolai.
Vassily Ivanych Bazarov
Vassily Ivanych is Bazarov’s father, an old country doctor who lives a comfortable life with his wife. Despite telling Arkady that they are not wealthy people, one of Vassily Ivanych servants tells him that he has more than twenty servants in his house. Vassily Ivanych adores his only son and idolizes him, thinking that he is the best and that he will end up being a brilliant doctor. When Arkady talks favorably of Bazarov, Vassily Ivanych is clearly pleased. Vassily Ivanych refuses to think that there is no more hope left for his son after he gets infected with cholera and clings to the idea that he will be saved. Vassily Ivanych and his wife were affected by Bazarov’s death and at the end of the novel, the narrator tells the reader that Bazarov’s parents frequently visit his grave and cry.
Matvei is Pavel and Nikolai’s distant relative. He is wealthier than Nikolai and Pavel, and when Matvei invited the two of them to go and visit him, they deny, thinking that he only wants to see them so he could flaunt his wealth and social status. When Arkady goes to visit him, Matvei takes care of him and introduces him to many influential people while also expressing his regret that Pavel and Nikolai refused to see him.
Herr Victor Sitnikov
Herr Sitnikov is one of Bazarov’s acquaintances. Sitnikov takes Arkady and Bazarov to Madame Kukshin and then appears one more time uninvited at Madame Odintsov’s house.
Madame Yevdoxia Kukshin
Madame Kukshin is a woman Arkady and Bazarov meet through Sitnikov. She is a free thinker, an independent woman who got separated from her husband and also extremely proud. When Bazarov doesn’t make an effort to talk with her, she gets offended.
Arina is Bazarov’s mother and Vassily Ivanych’ wife. She is an emotional woman who loves her son more than anything else. Vassily Ivanych knows how much his wife idolizes her son and it is because of this that he chooses not to tell her that Bazarov is dying. After Bazarov dies, Arina becomes the one who helps Vassily Ivanych get over his grief.
One of Vassily Ivanych’ servants.
Mitya is Nikolai and Fenichka’s baby.
He is a priest invited to dinner by Vassily Ivanych.
Piotr is one of Nikolai’s servants.
Mitya is Nikolai’s coachman.
He is an old servant in Nikolai’s house.
Vasska is a small boy from Nikolai’s estate who takes Bazarov to a pond to search for frogs.
She is a servant in Nikolai’s house who sometimes helps Fenichka.
He is Anna’s neighbor who came to her to play cards with her and Bazarov.
He is Vassily Ivanych ‘s ballif
Vassily Ivanych’ servant.
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