Basing his analysis on a representative selection of Croatian novels from the last two decades of the 19th century the author
reaches the conclusion that a feeling of frustration and defeatism are among the salient features of these works. The protagonists
in Šandor Gjalski's novels are ambitious young men finally forced to compromises and in some cases even to suicide. The hero
of Janko Leskovar's masterpiece ends in total disillusionment, while Vjenceslav Novak's main character in The Last Stipančićes has given up his family and his nation for the sake of a better career. The author claims that the principal reasons for
the pusilanimity of the protagonists in the above novels should be sought in the political plight of Croatia in the second
half of the 19th century which sensitive individuals frequently thought was hopeless.