Anna Sergeyevna Odintsova (Анна Сергеевна Одинцова): FATHERS AND SONS was the most closely studied of Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev's works in the Soviet high school curriculum. An inadvertent political agenda favorite, juxtaposing two generations, "the fathers," or the fading aristocracy, and "the sons," or the new fresh blood of the middle class and the nihilists, the novel seemed a perfect vehicle for portraying the brewing unrest of the pre-revolutionary era, and introduced the character of Bazarov -- the spirited nihilist who was seen as a brilliant idealistic rebel, the new kind of perfect man who rejected the old notions of class and came to disrupt nobility's status quo. Growing up, Turgenev witnessed much class injustice in Russia, and his themes reflect his overwhelming concern with the suffering of the poor and the voiceless serfs. But FATHERS AND SONS is not merely a convenient socio-political piece; Turgenev is a lyrical romantic. At the novel's heart lies the ultimately tragic human story of Bazarov's flippant kiss of a servant girl and the bizarre tension it causes in a cozy country gentry household where he is a guest. An important period classic.
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