A nihilist is ... Russian nihilists. Examples from the literature
The word “nihilist” literally translated from Latin literally means “nothing”. This is a person who does not recognize any authority. This term is widely spread in literature and journalism of the 60s of the 19th century.
In Russia, this current gained maximum distribution after the light of the novel by I.S. Turgenev "Fathers and Sons". Nihilism manifested itself as a public mood of raznochintsy, who denied the established moral norms. These people have denied all the usual. Accordingly, a nihilist is a person who does not recognize anything. Representatives of this trend rejected religious prejudices, despotism in society, art, literature. Nihilists advocated for the freedom of the individual woman, her equality in society, and also to a certain extent promoted egoism. The program of this movement was very sketchy, and those who promoted it were too straightforward.
If we talk about nihilism as a worldview, then it can not be called whole.A nihilist is a person who differed only in the expression of aversion to reality. The ideas of this social trend at that time were expressed by the Russian Word magazine.
Nihilism to "Fathers and Children"
As mentioned above, the term itself became widespread after the novel Fathers and Sons was published. In this work, the nihilist is Yevgeny Bazarov. He had followers, but more on that later. It was after the publication of the novel that the term "nihilism" spread. Prior to this, such ideas in journals were called “negative trends”, and its representatives were called “whistlers”.
For the opponents of the social movement, the nihilist is the one who sought to destroy moral principles and promoted immoral principles.
"What is Bazarov?"
It is with such a question that p. Kirsanov to his nephew Arkady. The words that Bazarov is a nihilist, brother Pavel Petrovich were astonished. For members of his generation, life without principles is impossible.
It is worth noting that nihilists in literature are primarily Turgenev’s heroes. The brightest, of course, is Bazarov, who had followers, Kukshina and Sitnikov.
Principles of nihilists
For representatives of this trend is characterized by the main principle - the absence of any principles.
Bazarov’s ideological position is most vividly reflected in disputes with Pavel Petrovich Kirsanov.
Heroes relate differently to the common people. Bazarov considers these people "dark", Kirsanov is moved by the patriarchal nature of the peasant family.
Nature for Eugene is a kind of pantry in which a person can manage. Pavel Petrovich admires her beauty.
Negative is the main nihilist in the novel "Fathers and Sons" to art. Reading literature for Bazarov is an empty pastime.
Evgeny and Pavel Petrovich - representatives of different social strata. Bazarov raznochinets. This largely explains his attitude to the people and indifference to everything beautiful. He imagines how hard the lives of those who cultivate the land are. Russian nihilists, as a rule, were really raznochintsy. Probably, this caused their revolutionary mood and rejection of the social system.
The question of which of the heroes was a nihilist in Fathers and Children can, of course, be answered,that Arkady Kirsanov considered himself a student of Bazarov. Kukshina and Sitnikov also impersonate his followers. However, can they be considered nihilists?
Arkady, although he is trying to imitate Bazarov, has a completely different attitude to art, nature, and native people. He adopts only the cold manner of Bazarov to communicate, speaks in a low voice and keeps himself cheeky. Arkady - educated young man. He is educated, sincere, stupid. The younger Kirsanov grew up in a different environment, he did not need to earn his studies.
However, when Yevgeny Bazarov falls in love with Anna Odintsova, it seems that his behavior also bore a playful tinge. Of course, he is much harder than Arkady, deeper separates the ideas of nihilism, but at the same time he still could not reject all values with his soul. At the end of the novel, when Bazarov expects his own death, he recognizes the power of parental love.
If we talk about Kukshina and Sitnikov, they are portrayed by Turgenev with such irony that the reader immediately understands: you should not be taken from as “serious” nihilists. Kukshina, of course, “springs”, trying to seem different than she really is.The author calls her "being", thereby emphasizing the fussiness and stupidity.
Sitnikov writer pays even less attention. This hero is the son of an innkeeper. He is not far, keeps free, copying probably the manner of Bazarov. He has a dream to make people happy, using the money earned by his father, which expresses disrespect for the work of others and for parents.
What did the author want to say in such an ironic attitude to these characters? First, both heroes personify the negative sides of the personality of Bazarov himself. After all, he does not show respect for the well-established values that were laid many centuries ago. Bazarov also shows disregard for parents who live only with love for their only son.
The second point that the writer wanted to show is that the “market” time has not yet come.
The history of the origin of the term "nihilism"
Thanks to Turgenev, the concept of nihilism was widely adopted, but he did not invent this term. There is an assumption that Ivan Sergeevich borrowed it from N.I. Nadezhina, who in the publication applied it to the negative characteristics of new literary and philosophical trends.
Nevertheless, it was after the distribution of the novel “Fathers and Sons” that the term was given a social and political tinge and became widely used.
It should also be said that the literal translation of this word does not convey the content of this concept. Representatives of the flow were not at all deprived of ideals. There is an assumption that the author, having created the image of Bazarov, shows condemnation of the revolutionary-democratic movement. At the same time, Turgenev said that his novel was directed against the aristocracy.
So, the term “nihilism” was originally conceived as a synonym for the word “revolution”. However, the word gained such popularity that a seminarian could consider himself a nihilist, who preferred to study at a university and refused a spiritual career, or a girl who chose her husband at the behest of his heart, rather than by the decree of his relatives.