Fathers and Sons Metaphors

A metaphor is an expression that compares two unlike objects but with similar characteristics. Used in literature to spice up the language and to create a clear picture of a person or an event. In Ivan Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons, metaphors have been used to depict the current political and social environment in Russia. Some of the metaphors that stand out in the book are:


The character Fenichka has been used metaphorically to denote the simplicity of peasants in Russia. Fenichka is a servant to her master Nikolai. She is comfortable with the life her master has given her. She does not question or seek to improve her life. Fenichka is not affected by the changes happening in her life. She retains her character till the end of the book. The peasants in Russia were not affected by the revolution of philosophies. They retained their simple way of thinking.


Pavel is always at loggerheads with Bazarov. He does not agree with nihilism. Pavel has a fixed way of thinking in matters society. He believes that the way society works should not be challenged and does not understand the young men. Nikolai is also metaphorically used to portray traditionalism. He delays his marriage to Fenichka for fear of his brother’s disapproval.


The graduation of Arkady and Bazarov from the University of Petersburg symbolizes civilization. The two young man have set themselves free from the backward way of life through education. Bazarov is free to express himself in front of his elders, something that was not the norm in those days. Madame Odintsova is portrayed as an independent woman. She is a free thinker, something that was not common among the women.


Marriage has been portrayed as a symbol of mental slavery. Madame Odintsova and Bazarov refrain from getting married because of the notion that their thinking will be restricted. They suppress their feelings in the name of maintaining mental freedom.

Generational Gap

The book Fathers and Sons exhibits people from two generations. Arkady and Bazarov have a different view of the society while their parents are old school. This gap is evident in the modern political scene where the older and the younger generations are always disagree on ideologies.


Bazarov is used to symbolize disrespect. He is arrogant towards his elders and is unsympathetic. He has no regards for his parents when he goes home to visit them. He is moody and unfriendly. Arkady tries to reason with Bazarov by explaining his uncle’s predicament to him, but Bazarov’s arrogance only elevates.

Order and disorder

Madame Odinatsova is an orderly woman. She follows a certain way of doing things. This keeps her away from Bazarov who believes in nothingness. He does not have any order in his life. These two characters portray order and disorder. Arkady has also been used metaphorically to show order. He first gets engaged to Katya and then marries her, unlike his father Nikolai who first makes a kid with Fenichka before marrying her.

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