Nikolai Chernyshevsky, What is to be Done?, Chapter 2, Sections 1-18

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Chernyshevsky’s second chapter concerns Vera’s liberation from her old home and the old ways, and a decisive rejection of that old way. Chapter 2 begins with a contrast between the older days, nowadays, and the future. The key variable separating these days is the existence of “decent people,” more of which emerge as time goes on. Vera is the vanguard of these decent people, as is Lopukhov, her first lover and first husband. How will Vera reconcile her desire for independence with the promise of love? The answer to this thorny question lies in the emergence of a new kind of human being. We glimpse this in Chapter 2, but we await to see it worked out more fully as the book progresses. Read through Chapter 2, Section 18 in order to get the most out of this video.

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