Arkady Makarovitch Dolgoruky
Arkady Makarovitch Dolgoruky (ahr-KAH-dee mah-KAH-roh-vihch dol-goh-REW-kee), the narrator and “raw youth” of the title. He is a boy of some talents but no social polish, and his attempts to strike a course for himself in life are hampered by his confusing social position and his unorthodox family situation. He is the legal son of a servant, the natural son of an aristocrat, and a volatile character, even by the standards of Russian literature. He is an exemplar of the dual nature, combining in himself a craggy, low selfishness with high principles and a warm, effusive love of others. The personality built on this cracked foundation is unformed and ill-directed. He is as likely to break out in shouted insults, or to remain haughtily silent, as to be gushingly affectionate. Arkady has a powerful talent for solitude. His ambition is to become a “Rothschild,” a man of immeasurable wealth and influence. Like his natural father, he is neither good nor bad but has a double nature and can be pulled both ways. Although he has this dual nature, he is good, because he understands that he is divided and must struggle to support his better self. The knowledge that he is divided, that he has no true strength over his own soul, gives him humility, which, in the eyes of the author, is close to true holiness.
Andrei Versilov (ahn-DRAY vehr-SIH-lov), Arkady’s natural father, a nobleman. He is a figure in society, with a questionable reputation. In...
(The entire section is 688 words.)