Summary and Analysis
The old Bazarovs are extremely pleased to have their son home again. They promise to keep out of his way as he works. After a few days of hard work, Bazarov grew tired of his routine and became bored. His father thinks that he is embittered, but doesn't know what to do for him. Finally, he finds release in helping his father practice medicine, much to the delight of old Bazarov.
Later, Bazarov helps in an autopsy on a person who had died of typhoid and during the operation, he cut his finger. The doctor whom he was assisting had no antiseptic, thus Bazarov feels that he will probably contract the disease in a few days. His father is distressed beyond comprehension when he hears the news.
Three days later, Bazarov comes down with fever and must be tended by his father. Old Bazarov continues to tell himself that it is only a slight chill that will pass, but Bazarov tells him directly that he has typhoid fever. He is brutally frank with his father and tells him that he hadn't really expected to die so soon. Bazarov wants a message sent to Madame Odintsova telling her that he is dying. The old man promises to do so immediately.
Another doctor arrives and suggests that perhaps the fever will pass and that the patient will recover. Bazarov is not deluded and reminds the doctor that no patient has ever recovered from this condition.
Bazarov steadily grew worse, even though for a few hours at a time he would appear to be better. At one point, Old Bazarov asks his son to allow a priest to come to him, but Bazarov refuses for the present time.
Madame Odintsova arrives bringing with her a German doctor. Vassily Ivanovitch feels that she is a benefactress and that the German doctor will be able to save his son. While they are consulting, Odintsova goes in to see Bazarov. He is most appreciative that she came. He tells her how beautiful she is but warns her not to come too close to him. He talks to her more about their relationship and wants her to forget him as soon as he is dead. The next day he is dead.
Bazarov is back with his parents, but he is possessed by the gloom and melancholy of a lovelorn romantic. We see that he tries to work but boredom and anxiety overtake him. His father also notices the peculiar behavior of his son. We can assume that his encounter with Madame Odintsova has affected the nihilist more than he is willing to admit.
Bazarov, himself a doctor, takes unnecessary chances in performing the autopsy as though he simply did not care whether he caught the disease or not. When he does know that he has the disease, he merely offers the sardonic comment that it really is unpleasant to die so soon. Then he assumes an extremely romantic role: he sends a note off to Madame Odintsova that he is dying. We then see the nihilist faced with death. In life he could negate everything, but no man is able to negate death, so Bazarov must now face this unpleasant fact.
As long as Bazarov is conscious he refuses the ministrations of the church and thus remains true to his beliefs in this respect. But he does comfort his father by reminding him that the last rites can be administered to an unconscious man.
During the death scene, Bazarov gives in to romantic inclinations when he talks with Madame Odintsova. He tells her how beautiful she is — a compliment that Bazarov would have earlier called a lot of romantic twaddle. As he becomes delirious, he says things that contradict his earlier views. He even recognizes that certain types of men are needed by Russia, and he, Bazarov, is not one of them.