Nikolai Petrovich Kirsanov is the most flexible character in Ivan Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. Turgenev used the novel to point out that the values inherent in the Romantic era and the new harsher revolutionary beliefs were not mutually exclusive concerning Russian society. Although Nikolai is a member of the gentry, his liberal viewpoint leads him to roll with the changes that society was demanding.

But in spite of his ability to adapt to those changes, his beliefs are steeped in the Romanticism that forms the cornerstone of his education and value system.However, that Romantic upbringing does not blind Nikolai when it comes to connecting with his son Arkady. Unlike Nikolai and Arkady, the gulf between the beliefs and values of the nihilist revolutionary Yevgeny Vassiliavich Bazarov and Nikolai's Brother Pavel are irreconcilable. Nikolai and Arkady are able to communicate and understand each other because they are not total opposites. That communication and understanding was based on the combination of the respect for nature, inherent in Romanticism, and the cold practicalities of the Positivism, so ardently posed by Bazarov. Initially, it does not appear that Arkady and Nikolai have the stronger link in spite of Nikolai's relatively liberal leanings.

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When Nikolai tries to convince him to retain the values of his Romantic upbringing as they are walking along the ridge, he loses any hope of convincing Arkady. This occurs when his son discovers that Nikolai rented out the forested area along it where he played as child, with the knowledge it would be chopped down. Thus, hypocrisy dooms the effort for now. (Turgenev) Additionally, Arkady applies much of the nihilist leanings to getting his father's estate better run.

In doing so he brings a businesslike attitude that was always lacking with Nikolai's loose control of the financial aspects of the estate. This shows one of the unbreakable bonds between him…