Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Comparing Escape in Madame Bovary and Fathers & Sons Essay -- comparis

Madame Bovary and Fathers & Sons Many people have a difficult time dealing with the real world. These people search desperately for one thing: release from the toils of everyday life. Basarov in Fathers & Sons and Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary are also searching for an escape - through romance. Each character follows their own misguided thoughts and emotions. And by the end of their respective novels, each will have to come to terms with their decisions in dealing with an idealistic romanticism. Basarov, through most of the novel, is the personification of abstinence. He is introduced as a nihilist, "a person who does not take any principle for granted, however much that principle may be revered"(94). He denies the existence of anything that cannot be verified by empirical methods. To him, the world in one big laboratory, with laws waiting to be defined by experimentation and reasoning according to cold hard facts. A great deal of his time is spent in such experimentation. He is a doctor, educated in the sciences at the university in Petersburg, and applies his learning regularly during his nature walks at Maryino and with Madame Odintsov. He also exhibits other, less laudable characteristics as a result of his approach to life. Basically, he has trouble getting along with people. His arrogance and aloofness, especially in dealing with the "provincial aristocrats" (Pavel and Nikolai Petrovich), cause much conflict and ill will at Maryino: "[Pavel] regarded him as an arrogant , impudent fellow, a cynic and a vulgarian. He suspected that Basarov... all but despised him.... Nikolai Petrovich was slightly apprehensive of the young 'nihilist' and was doubtful whether his influence on Arkady was desirable"(117). Basarov detache... ...ent he thought of her; he could easily have mastered his blood but something else was taking possession of him, something he had never allowed, at which he had always scoffed, at which all his pride revolted"(170). Finally, early one morning in a fit of emotion, Basarov finally declares his mad, idiotic love to Anna. She responds with, "You have misunderstood me," and the two part company in confusion (183). The matter goes unresolved until a final scene at Basarov's deathbed. Neither Emma nor Basarov realize their fault in time. Emma returns to reality just in time to see her life crumbling and can't deal with it, committing suicide as a final escape. Basarov realizes his love for Anna only as he lay dying of typhus. So it appears neither had the correct approach to life. Maybe the correct approach is one of moderation; a balance of cold reason and glowing passion.

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