Nihilist Girl

4 April 2015
This paper reviews the many different themes presented in Sofya Kovalesvskaia’s semi-autobiographical book, Nihilist Girl.

This paper examines the illustrative story, Nihilist Girl, written by Sofya Kovalevskaia. It contains many references that indicate to the reader that it is both an autobiographical and fictional account of her life in Russia. The paper details how many different events and people helped influence and shape her life. Some of the different topics discussed include conflict between tradition and modernity in society, the role of women in society, rebellion, the nihilist movement and the influences of different family members in her life decisions.
If we look to the life of Sofia Vasilevna Kovalevskaya the work may have been a self exorcism, to let the story communicate a message that she did not feel free to preach. In her own life she accepted the boundaries that were placed on her in terms of social norms and the way she should give the appearance of conforming to them.
Her sister was a major influence, introducing her to many in the Nihilist movement, and as such we may see the reason for the protagonist being abased on her sister. It was also with her sister that the first plot to try and gain an education was hatched. Sofya would try and act as a companion to her sister should her sister be able to find a husband and travel.
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