Fathers and Sons: Top Ten Quotes

“. . . a bit of meat is better than a bit of bread, even from the point of view of chemical analysis.” (65)Bazarov is making a point to disagree with Yevdoksyia about being a sybarite and a liberal at the same time. She says that Sitnikov cannot be a liberal and still enjoy luxuries of life. “A drawing can present to me visually what a book needs ten whole pages to explain.” (81)

This statement represents the simplistic, uncomplicated, and uncluttered nature of Bazarov’s way of thinking. Less is more with his style. He does not need to bother with things like artistic sensibilities, or any other sensibilities for that matter.

“It’s a known fact that time sometimes flies like a bird and sometimes creeps along like a worm. But it’s best for a man if he doesn’t notice whether it’s passing quickly or slowly.” (87)The narrator is interjecting here to note the personality differences in people. Anna moves along in a structured environment, one in which Bazarov finds annoying and Arkady prefers: “Everything during the day took place at a known time” (87). The narrator is saying that a person can get more accomplished or just enjoy what she’s doing if she is not focused on time.

“He caught himself in all manner of ‘shameful’ thoughts as if a devil were playing with him. . . . But then he would usually stamp his foot and grind his teeth and shake his fist.” (90).This is Bazarov acting as the child he is. He throws a fit when he hears the human call of emotion.

“The appearance of vulgarity often serves a purpose in life: it reduces the tension in strings that are drawn too tight and calms down feelings that are overly confident or forgetful, reminding them how closely related vulgarity is to them.” (104)In this scene, after a heated debate between Anna and Bazarov about love, Sitnikov comes for a visit, barging in in his garrulous way. The tension is interrupted, the atmosphere changes, not necessarily to something more desirable, but everything is halted for the moment. Their temporary savior has arrived.

“Every man is hanging on a thread, any moment an abyss can open up beneath him, but he still has to go and think up all manner of troubles for himself and ruin his life” (108)Bazarov pinpoints the exact problem with love and relationships, especially his own. He knows he is ruining his life and has wasted time not allowing himself to engage in feelings. Yet when an obstacle gets in his way, instead of confronting it and perhaps fighting it tooth and nail, he retreats back into his decrepit way of life.

“And now, Arina Vlasyevna, I hope that, having sated your mother’s heart, you’ll also think of feeding your dear guests, because, as you know, you can’t get nightingales to sing on just stories.” (111)This is spoken by Vasily, Bazarov’s father. He’s pleading with his wife to stop her emotional outburst of joy with seeing her son and fix some food for Bazarov and Arkady. People need food, not just words, to sustain them. This was Vasily’s gentle way of getting things back into order.

“We’ll do without beef, if there isn’t any there’s nothing we can do. They say poverty isn’t a vice.” (113)This an interesting quote by Bazarov. It almost doesn’t sound like him. The servant is explaining that there isn’t any beef for the meal; however, Bazarov is not worried. He doesn’t apologize for his parents’ small home, for his mother’s emotional outbursts. Rather, they pull him back into the reality of simple living, at least for the moment.

“‘I suppose it’s time for the travelers to go to the arms of Morpheus,’ said Vasily Ivanovich.” (117)Bazarov and Arkady are talking in the garden after dinner, and Bazarov says something about being sleepy. Vasily refers to the Roman god of dreams in his quote, also important because it shows that Vasily is an educated man, even though he lives simply in the country.

“A dead man is no friend for the living.” (194)This is spoken by Bazarov on his deathbed, with Anna next to him. It is his confession. He knows the kind of man he is, and he is openly apologizing to her for his acts.