Study Help Essay Questions

1. Consider briefly what each of the central characters' definition of the term "nihilism" would be.

2. What seems to be Turgenev's judgment of the philosophic concepts of "nihilism"?

3. What alternatives does Turgenev offer to the new generation's philosophy?

4. How do such general motifs as the idea of the bildungsroman (the development of a young man) and the traditional conflicts between successive generations function in the novel?

5 .How does Turgenev make use of humor to present his themes in the novel? For example, satire, parody, humorous and dramatic situations. Does his use of humor enhance the story?

6. What kind of judgment can we assume Tugenev is making about Nikolai's romanticism and Romanticism in general?

7. What assumption can be made about Arkady's and Bazarov's characters by observing the manner in which they treat their own parents and each other's parents?

8. How does Madame Odintsova contradict Bazarov's nihilistic views?

9. How does Fenichka function in the novel? How would the novel be different if she were omitted?

10. What is the function of Sitnikov and Kukshina? How effective is Turgenev's presentation of these characters?

11. What is the difference between Piotr and Prokofitch as servants?

12. What are the central events which bring about Arkady's change?

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