Summary “Adolescence”

The story “Adolescence” by Leo Tolstoy was written in 1852 – 1853, becoming the second work in the pseudo-autobiographical trilogy of the author. The story refers to the literary direction of realism. In “Adolescence” Tolstoy describes the events from the life of a teenager – how he reacts to the world around him and what he feels about his close people. Together with the main character, the reader overcomes the complex path of becoming and growing up an individual.

The summary “Adolescence” by chapters will help prepare for the lesson or test work on literature in grades 7-8, and also quickly get acquainted with the plot of the work.

Main characters

Nikolai Irtenev – an emotional youth, who is thinly experiencing his adolescence, a narrative is being written from his person. At the time of the beginning of the events he is fourteen years old.

Volodya – the elder brother of Nicholas, “was

ardent, frank and inconstant in his hobbies.”

My mother’s grandmother Nikolai’s family lived in Moscow.

Other characters

Father of Nicholas.

Katya, Lyubochka are Nikolai’s sisters.

Karl Ivanych is the first tutor in the family of Nikolai.

Saint-Jerome is a Frenchman, the second tutor in the family of Nicholas.

Masha – a maid of twenty-five years, liked Nikolay.

Vasily is a tailor, beloved of Masha.

Dmitry Nekhlyudov – a friend of Vladimir, and then a close friend of Nikolai.

Chapter 1

Nikolenko’s family moves to Moscow. During the four days of the trip the boy saw many “new picturesque places and objects”. When the cab allowed Nicholas to run the horses for a while, he felt perfectly happy.

Chapter 2

In one of the hot evenings on the road they were caught by a violent thunderstorm. Nicholas is delighted and at the same time afraid of the riot of the elements, his emotions overwhelm him: “My soul smiles the same as refreshed, cheerful nature.”


Sitting in the carriage, Nikolenka and Katya discuss that on arrival in Moscow they will live with their grandmother. It seems to the boy that the sister moves away from them, to which Katya replies: “You can not always remain the same, you must someday change.”

Nicholas first time in life understands that there is another life of people who do not even know about the existence of his family.

Chapter 4

The family of Nikolenka arrived in Moscow. Seeing his old grandmother, the boy feels compassion for her. Father practically did not practice children, living in the wing.

Chapter 5

Nikolenka “was only a year and several months younger than Volodya”, but it was at this time that the boy began to understand the differences between him and his brother. Volodya “stood above everything in everything” Nikolenki, the brothers gradually move away from each other.

Chapter 6

Nicholas begins to pay attention to the twenty-five-year old Masha. However, being very bashful and considering himself ugly, the boy still does not dare to approach her.

Chapter 7

Grandmother learns that the boys were playing with gunpowder. The woman believes that this is a defect in education and, dismissing the German tutor, Karl Ivanych, replaces him with “a young dandy Frenchman.”

Chapters 8-10

Before his departure, Karl Ivanych told Nikolenka that his fate had been unhappy since childhood. Gouverner was the illegitimate son of Count von Somerblanc, so his stepfather did not like him. At the age of 14, Charles was sent to study as a shoemaker, and then he had to go to soldiers instead of his brother. The man was captured, from where he managed to escape. Then Karl worked for a long time at the cable factory, but, having grown fond of his master’s wife, he left his usual place.

In Ems, Karl Ivanych gets acquainted with General Sazin, who helps him go to Russia. After the death of the general, his mother hired the tutor of Nikolenko’s tutor. During the years of service, Karl Ivanovich was very attached to his pupils.

Chapter 11

On the day of Lyubochka’s birth, “Princess Kornakova with her daughters, Walakhina and Sonechka, Ilenka Grap and the two younger brothers of the Ivins came to them.” In the morning, Nicholas gets a unit of history.

Chapter 12

At dinner my father asked Nikolenka to bring sweets for the birthday girl from the wings. In the father’s room, the boy was attracted by a small key from his briefcase. By negligence, Nicholas, closing the lock, breaks the key.

Chapter 13

After a festive dinner, children play games. Nicholas all the time fall into a couple or sister or ugly princesses, which causes him a vexation.

Chapter 14

Governor Saint-Jerome learns about the boy’s receipt of the morning and tells him to go upstairs. Nicholas shows the teacher a language. An outraged tutor threatens to punish the boy with rods, but Nicholas not only did not obey, but also struck the tutor. Saint-Jerome locked the boy in the closet.

Chapter 15

Sitting in the closet, Nikolenka feels very unhappy. The boy imagines that he is not the son of his parents, and how the tutor will cry if Nikolai suddenly dies.

Chapters 16-17

All night Nicholas spent in the closet and only the next day he was transferred to a small room. Soon St.-Jerome took the boy to his grandmother. A woman makes a grandson ask forgiveness from a tutor. However, Nikolenka, bursting into tears, refuses to apologize, which brings grandmother to tears.

Running out of the grandmother’s boy meets an indignant father – he noticed a broken key. Nicholas, complaining about the tutor, tries to explain everything, but his sobbing turns into convulsions and he loses consciousness. Concerned about the health of the boy, the family forgave him. However, after the incident, Nikolai hated Saint-Jerome.

Chapter 18

Nicholas observes the “entertaining and touching novel” of Masha and Vasily. The girl’s uncle forbids them to marry, which is why the lovers suffer very much. Nikolenka sincerely sympathized with Masha’s sadness, but “could not comprehend in any way how such a charming creature, <…> could have loved Vasily”.

Chapter 19

Nicholas spent much time thinking about the appointment of a person, the immortality of the soul, human happiness, death, ideas of skepticism.

Chapter 20

Volodya is preparing to enter the university. Nicholas envies her brother. Volodya successfully passes the exams, becomes a student. Now he “already alone in his own carriage leaves the yard, accepts his acquaintances, smokes tobacco, goes to balls.”

Chapter 21

Nikolenka compares Katenka and Lyubochka, noting how the girls have changed. “Katenka is sixteen years old, she grew up,” she seems to the boy more “like big.” Lyubochka is quite different – she “is simple and natural in everything.”

Chapter 22

Father Nicholas wins a large sum, begins to visit his grandmother more often. In one of the evenings, when Lyubochka played the piano “mother’s play”, Nikolenka particularly noted the similarity between her sister and her mother.

Chapter 23

Grandmother dies. “Despite the fact that the house is full of funeral visitors, no one regrets her death,” except for maid Gashi. Six weeks later it became known that her grandmother had left her estate to Lyubochka, appointing Prince Ivan Ivanovich, not his father, as guardian.

Chapter 24

Nicholas remains a few months before entering the university at the Faculty of Mathematics. He becomes more mature, begins to respect the tutor. Nikolai asks his father for permission to marry Vasily and Masha, and they marry.

Chapters 25-26

Nikolai liked to spend time in the company of friends of Volodya. The attention of the young man is especially attracted by Prince Dmitry Nekhlyudov, with whom Nikolai has friendly relations.

Chapter 27

Nicholas and Dmitry give “a word never to anyone and do not say anything about each other.” The young man very quickly adopted Nekhlyudov’s idealized views-he considered it possible “to correct all mankind, to eliminate all vices and human misfortunes.”

“And yet, God alone knows whether these noble dreams of youth were ridiculous, and who is to blame for the fact that they did not come true? ..”


Tolstoy masterfully analyzed and depicted the process of growing the soul of the protagonist in the novel “Adolescence”. Nicholas’s adolescence begins after a serious loss – the death of the mother, after which, in the life of the hero, not only significant external but also internal changes follow. The hero changes perception of the surrounding world, he is in constant thinking about the meaning of what is happening, trying to know the whole diversity of life. Through the image of Nicholas, the author transmitted the subtle psychology of adolescents, so the brilliant work remains relevant today.

We advise you not only to read the short retelling of Tolstoy’s “Adolescence”, evaluating the full version of the story.

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Summary “Adolescence”