Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Frogs

In a few minutes Bazarov had covered all the paths in the garden, looked over the cattle sheds and stables, and come upon two local lads whose acquaintance he made at once: he set off with them to a small marsh, about a mile from the manor house, to search for frogs.

"What do you need frogs for, sir?" one of the boys asked.

"I'll tell you what for," Bazarov replied; he had a special flair for inspiring trust in members of the lower class, although he never indulged them and always treated them in an offhanded manner. "I'll cut the frogs open and look inside to see what's going on; since you and I are just like frogs, except that we walk on two legs, I'll find out what's going on inside us as well."

"What do you want to know that for?"

"So I don't make any mistakes if you get sick and I have to make you better."

"Are you a doctor, then?"

"Yes."

"Vaska, you hear, the gentleman says you and me are just like frogs. How do you like that?"

"I'm afraid of them, of frogs," observed Vaska, a lad about seven, with hair as pale as flax, a gray smock with a stand-up collar, and bare feet.

"What are you afraid of? You think they bite?"

"Come on now, just wade into the water, you philosophers," said Bazarov.

--Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

R. informed me Sunday that I must read Turgenev by next weekend. Now that I've finished the Chernow and should be able to read the necessary-to-catch-up 50 pages of DQ tonight, I feel I should be able to manage--it's short. I need time to forgive Jonathan Rosen before returning to Joy Comes in the Morning anyway: after forty-odd wonderful pages of close third person perspective, each character's encapsuled in a separate chapter, Rosen abruptly saw fit to begin employing shifting viewpoint on a paragraph by paragraph basis. Ugh. I don't need to know what's going on inside every character every moment; not every frog needs to be dissected on every page.

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