Summary and Analysis
At Nikolskoe, Arkady spends all his time in the presence of Katya. He is surprised at first when she mentions how much he has changed and indicates that it is for the better. She suggests that he was too much under Bazarov's influence, and admits that she found Bazarov alien to her personality. She says: "He's a wild animal, and you and I are domesticated." Arkady is impressed with Katya's power of observation and her ability to discern the truth of situations in spite of the fact that she has lived alone so much of her life. She explains that she likes the simple life and wouldn't even want to marry a rich man. Arkady sees that Katya is far superior to her sister and in a moment of excitement tells her that he wouldn't exchange her for anyone in the world, and then he leaves her quickly to conceal his embarrassment.
Returning to his room, he finds Bazarov, who has thus far kept his presence a secret. He tells Arkady about the duel with Pavel; Arkady hears the story out, but feels horrified and ashamed. Bazarov wants to leave immediately because he thinks that Arkady is there only to have an affair with Madame Odintsova. Arkady denies this emphatically, and suggests that the lady would want to see Bazarov.
Madame Odintsova does learn of Bazarov's presence and requests an interview with him. Bazarov immediately explains that he has come to his senses since their last meeting and apologizes for his past stupidities. They forget the past and talk of the present. Bazarov tells her that he is sure Arkady is in love with her, but she thinks that he is mistaken. Arkady, in the meantime, had been sitting alone without the slightest trace of jealousy over the fact that Bazarov was alone with Madame Odintsova.
In action and in thought, Arkady's romantic tendencies are now emerging. He is with Katya and is happy that he can express himself in "pretty language" without becoming defensive about it or without being scorned for it.
Katya is now seen to have a certain strength of her own. Previously we had seen that she remained in the background and said or did very little, but now with Arkady, she expresses herself openly and cleverly. These two, the two most admirable characters in the novel, proceed to discuss some of the other characters, especially Odintsova and Bazarov. Katya's keen insight emerges when she evaluates Bazarov as being a "bird of prey" while she characterizes herself and Arkady as "tame." She also notes that her sister values her independence and her "order" too much.
Katya's maturity is seen in her explanation of a woman's role. She maintains that the woman must be able to preserve her selfrespect while at the same time being perfectly ready to yield. Odintsova could never yield and could never approach saying anything like this. The older sister's excessive pride would prevent her from ever giving herself completely to another.
Bazarov returns and is still upset over the trouble he had previously had with Madame Odintsova. In this scene between the two young friends, Bazarov is more hostile than he has ever been. This is because he thinks that Arkady actually came to see Madame Odintsova and is jealous. Furthermore, it shows the growing dissatisfaction that the two friends feel toward each other.
Bazarov sums up their relationship as follows: "A romantic would say: I feel that our paths are beginning to divide but I simply say that we have grown tired of each other." From Arkady's viewpoint, this is a good change because we know that Arkady's true nature cannot emerge as long as he is under Bazarov's influence. Arkady's complete change is noted in the last sentence when he realizes that Madame Odintsova is sitting with Bazarov and he feels no quirk of jealousy. In other words, Arkady has now found his love with Katya and is no longer concerned with the older lady.