Narrative technique is an important literary device in the creation of any work of literature. In A Hero of Our Time, Mikhail Lermontov use three first person narrators while in Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev use just one omniscient narrator. Through these methods, Lermontov gives the personal views of the three main characters while Turgenev’s style is more objective, allowing the reader inside the heads of all the characters.
As a result, Fathers and Sons is more detailed and revealing, making it more predictable than A Hero of Our Time, which is more challenging and propels the reader through the story more rapidly.What were the two authors’ reasons for using these particular narrative styles, and how did their choices benefit the writers? Lermontov’s use of the first person narrative is very effective for describing two of the main characters of the story, Pechorin and Maxim. Pechorin gives his views of the world and Maxim gives his on Pechorin. Pechorin says,” I was ready to love the world… no one understood me.
.. I learned to hate.
.. One half of my soul had ceased to exist.
.. no one noticed it” ( Lermontov, 106). Pechorin blames his character on his environment and his isolated childhood.He is lonely and searching for love or something to make his life interesting. He love Bela, Vera, and Princess Mary but is unable to hold on to this feeling, destroying the women’s happiness in the process. They are victims of his hatred of the world.
Maxim Maximych is also a victim. ” Maxim Maximych shouted after him..
. Pechorin gave a wave… What’s there to come back for?…
faded poor old Maxim… deep in thought…
tears of vexation… “(Lermontov. 51).
Maxim is aggravated by Pechorin is ignoring him and treating him like a stranger, as if their friendship meant nothing.Maxim loses his great friend to Pechorin’s bitterness, and has no control over it. I think Lermontov developed Pechorin and Maxim’s character for a reason. ” [Lermontov’s] earlier lyrics are full of complaints of loneliness, broken hopes and distrust of the world..
. increased by unfulfilled love affairs” (Introduction, pg. xiv).
His personal life relates to that of Pechorin, both lonely and lacking love. He was able to describe his feeling in life of being a lonely child and an unsuccessful lover through Pechorin.His poem ‘Death of a Poet’, written in response to the killing of Pushkin..
. considered to have been deliberately provoked to destroy [himself]” ( Introduction, pg. xv). This reveals that he lost not really a friend, but someone whom he admired and had much respect for, similar to Maxim who lost Pechorin, whom he admired. Lermontov, in my opinion, used first person narrative to describe Maxim and Pechorin since their lives reflected his own. Unlike Lermontov, Turgenev’s use of an omniscient narrator allows different stories to take place in one book.
The narrator reveals the hearts and minds of all the major characters from story to story. Fathers and Sons carefully describes the relationships among its characters. The main relationships are between Bazarov and Arkady’s family, Arkady and Bazarov, and also Bazarov and Anna Odintsov.
Bazarov, Arkady’s new friend, does not get along with Arkady’s uncle, Pavel Petrovich. ” You insult the Russian people. ” (Turgenev, 123) Pavel says. This happens during one of their arguments, where Pavel disagrees with Bazarov’s rude behaviour and lack of principles.The narrator reveals Pavel’s feelings of disagreement with Bazarov’s beliefs.
Another story shows Bazarov engaging in another relationship with Ferinchka, who is the mistress of Pavel’s brother. Nikolai Pavel sees them kissing,” Bazarov…
kissed her vigorously on her parted lips…
Ferinchka instantly moved away… Pavel Petrovich showed himself…
“. Then the narrator says, “Bazarov felt shame and contemptuous annoyance… [he then] congratulated himself” (Turgenev, 234). The reader then understands that Bazarov enjoys upsetting Pavel.Bazarov meets and falls in love with Anna Sergeyevna, but is unable to be loved in return.
Anna allows Bazarov to love her, but never shows her love, “I love you idiotically” he said but she ” was filled with fear and at the same time felt sorry for him” ( Turgenev. 182). Unlike Pechorin, Bazarov was the rejected lover, but the narrator goes on to show that in death, she actually loved him. ” Anna touched his forehead with her lips” ( Turgenev, 289). The narrator reveals she was afraid of him but at his death, her actions indicate that she does love him.A Hero of our Time shows Pechorin and Maxim’s characteristics through their emotions. Pechorin is a lonely person searching for true love, but unable to understand the meaning of love.
Therefore he causes others- Bela, Princess Mary and Vera- to become heart broken and as miserable as he is. Maxim is also heartbroken, and this caused him to fade away. Losing Pechorin’s friendship destroys him and he becomes ” crusty and withdrawn” ( Lermontov, 53), a loner not unlike Pechorin himself. Lermontov uses the first person narrative because A Hero of our Time is based on emotion.He reveals Pechorin’s feelings and the way others feel about him.
He also chooses Pechorin, Maxim, and the travelling officer to be the three first person narrators, expressing their own opinions. He did not choose any of the women- Bela, Princess Mary or Vera- as narrators. The reader never knows their true feelings.
Did they really fall in love with Pechorin? Did they want to stay with him? What did they like about him? This lack of information makes the reader really focus on Pechorin. Also Lermontov would have had an advantage himself in describing Pechorin’s emotions, as he had a similar past.He knew how it felt to have unfulfilled love, to have broken hopes and, like Maxim, lose someone he admired, Pechorin.
Several Turgenev chose the omniscient narrative because in Fathers and Sons there are different stories going on at the same time. Therefore, it would have been complicated to tell the entire story using the first person narrative, as in A Hero of our Time. If the story were told by the main characters, Bazarov or Arkady, information in the other stories would not have been revealed, since each story depends on the relationships with different characters.Bazarov dies before the end of the novel, therefore he would not have been able to tell the entire story. Arkady and Bazarov grow apart and, “Arkady completely forgot about his former mentor [Bazarov]” (Turgenev, 272). The narrator shows that they begin to live separate lives and Arkady does not need Bazarov’s guidance anymore. Therefore, Arkady could not tell the story either because he would not have able to know about the relationship between Bazarov and Anna.
Turgenev and Lermontov used different narrative techniques in writing their novels and they deliberately chose the technique most appropriate for their type of story. Lermontov used the first person narrative because his novel is emotional and closely based on one main character. It is also related to his own life. Turgenev, on the other hand, uses an omniscient narrator because his novel is based on a series of stories that can only be told completely by a voice that does not belong to any of the individual characters.