What are some similarities in characterization between Tchichikov in Dead Souls and Bazarov in Turgenev's Father and Sons?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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While there are more differences between Turgenev's Bazarov and Gogol's Tchitchikoff, there are certainly similarities, especially in the social ramifications of their behavior. Both Bazarov and Tchitchikoff manipulate other people for their own purposes, though their purposes are unalike. Bazarov manipulates the ideas and allegiances of younger students, who look up to him, in order to feel superior and accumulate nihilistic followers. Tchitchikoff manipulates landowners--serfs in Russia were always attached to the land, so landowners were by definition serf owners--in order to increase his wealth by his serf purchase scheme. Each callously left behind a trail of victims of their manipulations; neither set of manipulated people necessarily felt the manipulation while it was on going.

Both men were visitors imposing upon hosts' hospitality and neither could find legitimate sincere attachment from a beloved. Bazarov was rejected and Tchitchikoff was perpetrating fraud. Both lived determinedly by their own codes instead of by society's code of behavior. As a result of these things, both Bazarov and Tchitchikoff alienated other people. Finally, both were punished in the end for the attitudes they held toward society, toward the worthiness of other people, and their role in society. Bazarov accidentally infected himself with typhus and died. Tchitchikoff was discovered in his attempt at fraud and imprisoned.

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