Summary and Analysis Chapter 23



After Arkady leaves, Bazarov is possessed by a fever to work on his experiments. Except for a few brief clashes, Pavel and Bazarov are able to avoid each other. Both Nikolai and Pavel do take pleasure in observing the young man in his laboratory. The only person at Marino who Bazarov really responds to and gets along with is Fenichka. Fenichka likewise responds to Bazarov. Perhaps it is because she does not consider him of noble birth and could therefore feel more at ease around him.

One day as Bazarov was returning from a walk, he found Fenichka sitting on a bench in a secluded part of the arbor. She thinks that the heat is making her sick, but after Bazarov takes her pulse, he announces that she shall live to be a hundred. They laugh and talk together about his studying and his occupation. She later tells him that the drops he had given her earlier for the baby were very beneficial. Bazarov jokingly said that he has to be paid, but he doesn't want money. He asks for one of her roses. As they are joking, Fenichka thinks she hears Pavel in the vicinity. She expresses her fear and dislike for the man. Bazarov then jokes with her some more and tells her to smell the rose. He leans forward to smell it with her and uses this opportunity to kiss her fully on her parted lips. At this moment, Pavel appears and greets them. Fenichka runs away immediately, and after Pavel leaves, he walks for a long time before he returns to the house in a highly disturbed state of mind.


Bazarov is still attempting to forget his unrequited love by devoting himself to work: "he was possessed with a fever to work." Also, we see in the first part of the chapter how much Pavel continues to despise the young "nihilist."

This chapter presents Bazarov as a most likable and most human person by his conversation and relationship with the honest and simple Fenichka. She feels very comfortable in his presence "because she unconsciously felt that Bazarov lacked all the qualities of a nobleman, lacked all the superiority that both attracts and repels." There is a common bond of friendship developing between them and through this relationship, we see more into the essential nature of Bazarov than we did when he was discussing things with Madame Odintsova. He does possess a type of natural charm and easy manner with Fenichka. Furthermore, after his disappointing attempts to find love with Madame Odintsova, he is able to become attracted more easily to Fenichka's simple but sincere charms.

The fact that Pavel saw the two kissing prepares the reader for Pavel's insistence upon a duel in the next chapter. The difference between the two men is seen in the fact that Fenichka reacts strongly to Bazarov but when Pavel appears, she freezes into almost immobility. Pavel, however, will be gentleman enough never to tell Nikolai that he saw Bazarov kissing Fenichka.

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