50 pages 1 hour read

Mikhail Lermontov

A Hero Of Our Time

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1838

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Book 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 4: “The Second Extract from Pechorin’s Diary: Princess Mary”

Book 4, Chapter 1 Summary: “11th May.”

Pechorin arrives at Pyatigorsk, a pristine town in the mountains. It is springtime, and the weather is bright and soothing. He goes to the hot springs where Russian socialites gather and meets his friend, Grushnitski, who is a cadet. Grushnitski is a dandy and always affects a romantic, tragic demeanor: “His aim is to make himself the hero of a novel” (62). For example, he wears a heavy soldier’s coat instead of his officer’s uniform. Pechorin sees through Grushnitski’s affections, so Grushnitski does not like him; Pechorin does not like Grushnitski either. Nevertheless, they act like friends when they meet.

While Pechorin and Grushnitski are talking, two women walk by: the older Princess Ligovski and her daughter, Mary. When the ladies sit down, Grushnitski moves toward them while Pechorin hides nearby, watching the scene. Grushnitski drops the cup he is holding (everyone is drinking the medicinal waters) and makes a show of not being able to pick it up, since he is on crutches. Princess Mary jumps up and picks up the cup for him but walks away without noting his longing glances at her.

Later, Grushnitski gushes about how angelic Princess Mary is to Pechorin, but Pechorin acts indifferent.