The action takes place in the Kartashovs’ house. The head of the family is retired general Nikolai Kartashev. The harsh nature and the alignment of Nicholaev’s general Kartashev the elder give a definite direction to the upbringing of children, among whom the subject, the eldest in the family of boys, turns out to be the main “arsonist of ordinary excitement”, and therefore his pranks become the object of his father’s closest attention, resisting “sentimental “the education of a son,” developing “out of him” a nasty bump. ” However, the Thelma’s mother, Aglaida Vasilyevna, a clever and educated woman, has a different view of the upbringing of her own son. In her opinion, any educational measures should not destroy the
This is the first meeting with the hero, when he accidentally broke his father’s favorite flower, can not honestly admit his actions: the fear of cruelty of the father surpasses the confidence in maternal justice. This is the cause of all the subsequent “exploits” of the hero: an unthinkable gallop on the Gnezdo stallion, a torn skirt of a bonny, a broken boat and, finally, a stolen sugar-the whole “sad day’s story” – the first day of the narrative ending for the Theme with a severe father punishment. The unfortunate memory of such executions will remain with the Theme for many years. So, after almost twenty years accidentally finding himself in his home, he recalls the place where he was flogged, and his own feelings for his father, “hostile, never reconciled.”
In this early period, it is important for Mother Them that “despite all the hustle and bustle of feelings” and the variety of childhood impressions that give rise not only to whims, but also to
“Nabedokurivshy pet” recalls his beloved dog Zsuchka. Learning from the nurse that “some kind of people” threw her into an old well, Theme first in a dream, and then in real life saves her favorite. Memories of a feeling of disgust from contact with the “smelly surface” and “mucous walls of a half-rotted log house” for a long time remained in the memory of Theme. This episode will be so strong emotional impression that in the future, through the prism of what happened to him that memorable summer night, the hero interprets all the most difficult circumstances of his life.
Then the Themselves “feats” end with an ice pack, hot fever and a few weeks of serious illness. However, the healthy organism of the child takes precedence – recovery follows, and the warm, reconciling weather in the autumn creates a mood for the hero when “everything is the same”, “everything pleases with its monotony” and again there is the opportunity to “heal with one common life.”
Recovering the topic coincides with another important, not counting pre-gynecological expectations and preparations, an event. The subject is allowed to visit the “hired yard”, a vacant lot rented out by Father Kartashev, where he could “ride around with the children” all day, “give himself to the sensations of the life of his new friends”: their games in the “jigu”, the cemetery outings and walks to the sea. So two more years of free life passed, and “the gymnasium” arrived. The theme stands the exam in the first class – the first fears begin before the “ferocious Latinist” and the adoration of the good-natured teacher of natural history, the sharpness of the first friendly experiences arises. But gradually the emotional recovery is replaced by a more even, everyday mood, and the days drag on, “colorless by their monotony, but also strong,
Against the backdrop of general cognitive impressions, it is especially important to find a friend in the person of “kind and meek” classmate Ivanov, who turns out to be a rather well-read boy, in comparison with the Theme. Thanks to him in the second grade Kartashev reads Mine Reed and Gogol. However, after an unpleasant story, Ivanov is expelled from the gymnasium, and friendship between them ceases: not only because of a lack of common interests, but also because Ivanov witnesses the cowardly deed of his friend. For the Theme, this test does not end with a break with Ivanov: in the class behind him is fixed the reputation of the “extruder”, and he has to go through several days of “hard loneliness.”
However, with Ivanov the theme will still meet in his life, studying in Petersburg, and meanwhile he has new friends with whom, filled with adventurous romantic dreams, he is making plans to escape to America, so as not to go “beaten by the vulgar life.” Friends, keen on building a boat for sea voyages, show much less zeal for study. The result is negative ratings in the gymnasium. The topic hides its “successes” from the home, so subsequent events are completely unexpected for them. “America has not faded away”; the company deserved the nickname of “Americans”, and in the meantime the time of exams came up when general idleness was discovered. Fear of failing at the examinations gives birth to various fantasies at Kartashev, among which is the thought of “
It was at this time that the Theme had to converge with his father, who became softer, more affectionate, and more and more searching for the family society. Before the short-talked Kartashev the elder tells his son about “campaigns, comrades, battles.” But the strong organism of Nikolai Semenovich begins to change him, and soon the noisy and gay house of the Kartashevs is filled with the “sobbing of the orphaned family”.
This sad event ends the first part of the tetralogy, and in the second book – “Gymnasiums” – the reader meets with Tema Kartashev, a sixth-grade student.