Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Marya Dmitrievna Kalitin

Marya Dmitrievna Kalitin (MAH-ryuh DMIHT-ree-ehv-nuh kah-LIH-tihn), a well-to-do widow, about fifty, fadingly pretty, sentimental, self-indulgent, tearful when crossed but sweet otherwise. She is easily taken in by Panshin’s blandishments, and she succumbs also to Varvara’s sly hypocrisy.

Fedor Ivanitch Lavretsky

Fedor Ivanitch Lavretsky (FYOH-dohr ih-VAH-nihch lahv-REHT-skihy), called Fedya (FEH-dyuh), her cousin, rosy-cheeked, thick-nosed, curly-haired, well-built. As a boy, he was reared according to a Rousseauistic system rigorously applied by his father. After his father’s death he attempted to get a university education to supplement his eccentric, secluded, narrow training. Following his marriage to Varvara, he gave up his formal schooling but continued to educate himself through private study. Naïvely trusting his wife to seek her own social entertainment, he was shocked to learn of her infidelity, and he immediately left her. Although he still broods bitterly on Varvara at times, he finds himself falling in love with Lisa. Having learned of Varvara’s rumored death, he longs to marry Lisa despite the age difference between them, but his happiness over Lisa’s acceptance of his suit is destroyed by Varvara’s reappearance. For Lisa’s sake and at Marya’s insistence, he agrees to live with Varvara but only on a formal basis. He stays with her only briefly. He is finally left with memories of the happy time when he thought Lisa could be his, the only happy moments in his whole life. Lavretsky symbolizes the liberal Russian of Turgenev’s day. He has attained a Westernized culture; he loves his country; and he wishes to apply democratic ideas in his relationship with the peasants who till his land according to the agricultural principles he has learned abroad. In appearance, character, and ideas, he resembles Solomin, the hero of Virgin Soil, who feels toward the factory workers as Lavretsky does toward the peasants.

Elisaveta Mihailovna Kalitin

Elisaveta Mihailovna Kalitin (eh-lih-zah-VEH-tuh mih-HAH-lov-nuh), called Lisa, Marya’s slender, dark-haired daughter. Thoughtful and deeply religious, she is troubled because Lavretsky had left...

(The entire section is 1037 words.)