Response to the first page of "Fathers and Sons" by Ivan Sergeyevich

Essay by selina11High School, 10th grade April 2006

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In the novel "Fathers and Sons", by Ivan Sergeyevich, the point of view is third person omniscient because the narrator is all knowing, "While he is sitting there with his knees drawn under him..." (9). Personally I feel that the story is better conveyed when the narrator is omniscient because then I can understand the roles of the characters better as I am more aware of what they are thinking. Also the narrator is a self-conscious narrator because he addresses the reader, "the reader may care to become better acquainted with his personality" (9). To my surprise, I found this very intriguing, as I have never been exposed to this type of narration before.

In the first page, the narrator introduces five characters: Peter, Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov, Paul Kirsanov, Agathoklea Kuzminishna Kirsanov, and Nikolai's father. The story begins on May 10, 1859, Nikolai and Peter are waiting for some people, and Nikolai is becoming impatient.

This, in turn, creates anticipation in the reader because we do not know who or what they are waiting for. Then the narrator goes on to tell us about Nikolai and his family. In particular, I found that the author's method of introducing Nikolai, which was to describe the current situation and then tell us his background, very effective.

Furthermore, the diction is difficult. Russian words are occasionally used, "queried the barin" (9), so sometimes we must guess the meaning of the word according to the context of the material, if a footnote definition has not been provided. This can be challenging at times. In addition to challenging Russian words, the novel also has difficult diction, for example phrases such as, "in a supercilious manner" (9). Clearly, supercilious is not a word that I would use in my daily vocabulary, and as a...