Summary and Analysis Chapter 19



Madame Odintsova felt so awkward about her scene with Bazarov that when her neighbor, Porfiry Platonovitch, arrived for cards, she felt greatly relieved. When Bazarov is able to speak to his hostess alone, he explains that now he must leave: there is only one condition which would allow him to remain, and that could never be.

Madame Odintsova feels afraid of herself and of Bazarov, and keeps her sister close to her all day until Sitnikov makes a sudden appearance. Under other circumstances, he would not have been so well received, but he is able to relieve some of the tension.

That night, Bazarov tells Arkady that he plans to leave and Arkady announces his intention of returning to Marino. Before going to sleep, Arkady realizes that he will miss Madame Odintsova, but subconsciously he is more concerned about Katya.

The next morning, Sitmkov offers to let Arkady ride with him so that Bazarov can have the smaller vehicle. After farewells are made in which Madame Odintsova asserts her determination to meet Bazarov again, Arkady leaves with Sitnikov. When they come to the crossroads where they must part, Arkady changes his mind and asks Bazarov for permission to go with him. He leaves Sitnikov, who is confused by this sudden reversal.

In the carriage, Bazarov is very cynical about women and feels that no man should allow a woman to get the best of him. Yet, he feels as though he has "been thrashed" by a woman. By the time Bazarov is through railing against women, they have arrived at his father's house.


The change in Bazarov is further emphasized by the fact that he immediately apologizes to Madame Odintsova for his earlier actions. He would never have apologized to anyone for anything at Marino. Consequently, both Bazarov and Arkady are changing, but the significant difference is that Arkady's change is simply a reversion to his basic nature and Bazarov is changing against his intellectual convictions or nature. When he announces his intentions to leave, he explains that it is because he knows that Odintsova does not love him and never can. Thus, the Bazarov who ridiculed Pavel for such romantic nonsense as love is now a victim of the same passion. Madame Odintsova can say nothing to this declaration and only thinks that she is "afraid of this man" because he might destroy her sense of order. We should also remember that in the end Madame Odintsova does make a marriage of convenience — one that will not effect the order she has established for herself.

The arrival of Sitnikov serves to alleviate a delicate situation. He acts as a buffer to many warring emotions. Besides the tension between Bazarov and Madame Odintsova, Arkady and Bazarov are becoming less friendly. "For some time past a hypocritically free and easy bantering had been going on between the two young men, a trick that always indicates secret dissatisfaction or unexpressed suspicions." The difference between the young friends is again emphasized when Arkady decides temporarily not to visit Bazarov's family because "I'm afraid of making them, and you, feel awkward." Yet, Bazarov intentionally made Arkady's family feel awkward. In this comparison, we see that Arkady, in spite of his attempts at "nihilism," is still basically a more humane and tactful individual.

The two friends are not yet ready to part company. The presence of Sitnikov makes Arkady realize that there is much more value in the friendship with Bazarov than in the acquaintance with Sitnikov. Thus, on the spur of the moment, Arkady decides to accompany his friend to the Bazarov home. During the trip Bazarov's frustration is indicated by the cynical remarks he makes about man becoming the slave of a woman only if he is an educated man. The peasants beat their wives and are happy, but the intelligent man is always defeated (or beaten) by a lady.

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