Which of the characters in Childhood, Boyhood, Youth most closely embodies the author’s own values?

Nikolai appears to be the character in Childhood, Boyhood, Youth who most closely embodies author Leo Tolstoy's own values. This is based on their shared experiences of losing parents at a young age and failing to secure a higher education.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would argue that it is our protagonist, Nikolai, who most closely embodies author Leo Tolstoy's values. The first reason for this is that they had a couple of remarkably similar experiences.

While Nikolai loses his mother at a young age and enters his boyhood with an assortment...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

I would argue that it is our protagonist, Nikolai, who most closely embodies author Leo Tolstoy's values. The first reason for this is that they had a couple of remarkably similar experiences.

While Nikolai loses his mother at a young age and enters his boyhood with an assortment of painful memories, Tolstoy lost both his parents at a young age. While he was a mere toddler when his mother died, meaning that he would have had no significant memories of her, Tolstoy's father died just seven years later. An aunt, who was then appointed guardian of Tolstoy and his siblings, also later died. Loss is therefore a great theme in the early lives of both Tolstoy and his character Nikolai.

Nikolai and Tolstoy also experienced similar disappointments in their endeavors to get a tertiary education. Tolstoy decided to sign up for an Oriental languages program at University, but low grades later forced him to change to an easier degree, which he also did not complete. Similarly, Tolstoy portrays Nikolai as a young man who begins to fail his university courses in the aftermath of his father's death.

The only real way to ascertain Leo Tolstoy's values would be to interview him, and this is obviously impossible. However, if we consider the fact that similar experiences in life are likely to lead to the formation of similar values, then it seems likely that Nikolai is the character in this novel who most closely embodies the author's own values.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on