Arkady undergoes the greatest development during the course of the novel. At first an immature young man, obsequiously following his friend Bazarov and the ideas fostered by him, Arkady eventually finds the strength to assert himself intellectually and emotionally.
He has a strong trace of his father's romanticism in his nature, but until he musters the strength to break from Bazarov and "nihilism" he keeps this side of himself in severe check, As Katya — his beloved and future wife — points out, he is not a nihilistic bird of prey, but rather a domesticated, good-natured creature.
Arkady's relationship with people seems a great deal more wholesome than Bazarov's — he loves and admires certain aspects of his father, he fulfills himself with Katya, and understands his uncle Pavel well enough to offer a good defense of Pavel's character.
Arkady has always been acting somewhat against his nature by following the concept of the nihilist. Basically, he enjoys good music, especially as played by Katya, good art, and the value of tradition. But he also likes to be as modern and as liberal as possible. Thus, one can easily see in this character a positive force in the novel that combines some of the valuable "practical" ideas of the new generation without stripping life to a barren wasteland by abolishing all forms of art, belief, and love. In the final scenes, we see that Arkady was able to make a success out of the deteriorating farm and became a contented married man conducting his farm in keeping with the latest progressive ideas.