First Love: Pathway to Adulthood

Love is one of the strongest emotions that a human being can feel. It can arise ever so suddenly, spreading a feeling of warm happiness through every inch of a person; like wildfire spreading through a tree. But as the feelings become more intense, the flame of passion can turn into a blazing fire that burns painfully through every vein. A personís first love is especially powerful because it grows from an innocent, naÔve passion. Such was the case for both Vladimir, in Turgenevís First Love, and Tatyana, in Pushkinís Eugene Onegin. The first experience of unrequited love for Vladimir and Tatyana was filled with these raptures and tribulations, which, although left them broken hearted, gave them the strength and maturity needed to become adults.
Throughout the genre of First Love, Vladimir was shown to be completely swooped up in overwhelming emotion for Zinaida. Vladimir was entranced with her beauty from the moment he first saw her, "I gazed at her, and how dear she already was to me , and how near. It seemed to me that I had known her for a long time, and that before her I had known nothing and had not livedÖ. (33)" Vladimir was in love at the first sight of her. He couldnít help himself from becoming infatuated with her because he didnít know the first thing about love. As the genre moves on, Vladimirís feelings for Zinaida became deeper and deeper. Vladimir thought to himself:
I felt weary and at peace, but the image of Zinaida still hovered triumphant over my soul, though even this image seemed more tranquil. Like a swan rising from the grasses of the marsh, it stood out from the unlovely shapes which surrounded it, and I, as I fell asleep, in parting for the last time clung to it, in trusting adoration. (48)
Vladimir allows himself to become completely wrapped up in Zinaida to the point where it becomes an obsession. He is in love with her so much that he even envisions himself rescuing her, as if from any other man: "I saw a vision of myself saving her from the hands of her enemies: I imagined how, covered with blood, I tore her from the very jaws of some dark dungeon and then died at her feet (71-72)." Vladimir was so lost in love for Zinaida that he fantasized about her in order to make their love seem real. Although Vladimirís obsessive love for Zinaida brought wonderful emotions, it also brought the pain and suffering of jealousy and rejection.
The raptures that Vladimir experienced went hand in hand with the tribulations of love:
I say that my passion began from that day; and I might add that my suffering began on that day too. In Zinaidaís absence I pined: I could not concentrate: I could not do the simplest thing. For whole days I did nothing but think intensely about her. I pined away, but her presence brought me no relief. I was jealous and felt conscious of my worthlessness. I was stupidly sulky, and stupidly abject; (52)
As a result of his obsession, Vladimir became a basket case who could do nothing for himself. By allowing himself to become so wrapped up in her, he no longer had any feelings of self worth. The conflicting feelings of passion and pain struck fear into him:
It was a queer, feverish period; the most violently conflicting feelings, thoughts, suspicions, hopes, joys, pains, tossed and whirled within me in a kind of mad chaos: I was afraid of looking into myself, if a boy of sixteen can be said to do such a thing; I was afraid to face anything - whatever it might be - consciously. (92).
This innocent fear of looking into himself was what ultimately led to Vladimirís utter sorrow of finding out about the love between Zinaida and his father: "The sudden revelation crushed me; all was ended. In one swoop all my flowers were torn up by the roots and lay about me - scattered, broken, trampled underfoot (94)." Vladimir, unknowingly, set himself up to be hurt badly by not seeing that the relationship between him and Zinaida was merely platonic, in her eyes. But Vladimir eventually realized how childish his love