The second part of the chapter contains more dialogue and gives more insight into the plot of the story. Here, the reader begins to see more of the young man’ persona through his internal thoughts. On page 7, the young man thinks to himself that because of the hat he is wearing, people will take notice to and remember his appearance. He decides that he should make an effort to blend in, and exclaims to himself, “it’s just such trifles that ruin everything.” Most of the internal process seen in this part of the chapter is a result of the young man’s decision to commit a crime (the author has not yet revealed the details of this crime). When he enters an apartment that belongs to a pawnbroker, he is treated with distrust by the old lady who works there. It is only here that the reader learns the young man’s name, Raskolnikov, in dialogue between him and the old lady. Although the reason he is at the pawn store is to trade a watch, it is suggested that he has ulterior motives: he takes notice of the placement of valuables, and watches the old lady to determine which key goes to which chest. It seems as if the crime in question will involve the pawnbroker and theft of some fashion.
Dostoevsky offers a large amount of detail concerning the old lady and her living environment. He describes the lady as old and in rags and the surroundings as run-down, ugly, but clean. His description of the pawnbroker’s interactions with Raskolnikov seems to contrast her character with his, almost serving as a foil of some sort. Raskolnikov, as seen throughout the chapter, is delirious, detached, and anxious, but handsome as well. The old lady is very focused on business-oriented matters (as one can infer by her mistrust of the young man, as well as the brief bargaining between the two characters), but unattractive and almost without any real personality.
The last scene in the chapter, where the protagonist – for the first time in his life – visits a tavern for a drink, is quite important to the plot, as it emphasizes his downward path that has been made apparent throughout the chapter. His conscious act of going into the bar and getting drunk parallels his detachment from morals and acceptance of his impoverished, unprincipled lifestyle.
The first chapter of Crime and Punishment provides an important exposition into the main character’s life and surroundings. Introduced and referred to as “the young man,” the protagonist is first seen coming out of his boardinghouse on an “exceptionally hot day.” Almost immediately, the reader is bombarded with detail, about both the protagonist’s internal state and his external surroundings. Both of these factors contribute to the plot throughout the chapter and seem to be very interconnected. The reader soon learns that the young man has been overcome with a severe sense of detachment from humanity that is accompanied by an anxious, depressive state of mind. The reader also learns more about the environment in which the young man lives. Dostoevsky deliberately includes plenty of detail that paints a vivid picture of the squalid setting in the reader’s mind.
It seems like the young man’s economic and mental states are connected as if in a vicious cycle: due to his poor, desperate lifestyle, he retreats to his internal monologues and abstract thoughts about society as to not interact with others. This, in turn, further severs his connection to those around him. However, the reader soon learns that his attitude stems from pride and contempt for the inhabitants of his neighborhood, which can possibly be attributed to his apparently ravishing looks, “beautiful dark eyes, and dark brown hair.” The internal monologues seen throughout this chapter (and probably the whole book) are very important, as they not only demonstrate the young man’s true intellect, but also reveal much about his complex persona.
– Brandon Cassel
The protagonist, Raskolnikov, particularly reminds me of the serial killer Ted Bundy. The novel physically describes him as a such: “He was, by the way, exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair” (Dostoevsky,2). Ted Bundy was not only famous for his mass murders, but also his impressive looks, and exceptional charm. Ted Bundy was able to get himself into intimate situations with women because of his influential appearance and enticing way with words. Ted Bundy used this to his advantage when being invited into a Sorority house at Florida State University at which he murdered an alarming number of Chi Omega sorority sisters. Raskolnikov appears to be equally as handsome, but most definitely not as charismatic. As readers are let into his mind, they get the sense that he is a raving lunatic, but from the outside it seems as if he is a mysterious, attractive, and aloof young stranger. This allows his to blend into everyday society, and be accepted by those around him although he most definitely does not accept them. I believe those who look normal, or are of above average in looks, and can blend into everyday life although they are clinically insane or extremely troubled are the most dangerous of all because no one expects them to be a threat. Dostoevsky’s choice to choose a character of this description sets up the stage for a very interesting novel.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, known to venture into the human psyche of the troubled in 19th century Russia, beautifully illustrates the thoughts of a man verging on hypochondria. This man is the protagonist of Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov. I believe Dostoevsky is able to accurately project the thoughts of a hypochondriac because of his own past experiences. His mother passed away when he was very young which threw him in a period of unrelenting grief and devastation. Also, he was arrested in 1849 for his participation in a progressive discussion league. Dostoevsky was sentenced to four years in prison in Siberia. The cruel conditions surrounding him scarred him severely, and still his torture was not over. Following his release, he was sent to serve as a soldier, and was only discharged due to his rapidly deteriorating health. Despite his poor condition, he continued to write as soon as he was released. I believe that each of these hardships battled with Dostoevsky’s sanity, and made him unsure of his mental state. His famous literature, such as Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov, each contain characters with a questionable level of sanity. He is able to connect to their characters and their minds so fully because he has experienced extreme mental strain himself. Although tragic, his issues led him to write outstanding literary pieces that have made him internationally famous for centuries following his death.
– Lauren Beveridge
The second chapter picks up right where the first one left off, at the tavern. While there, Raskolnikov meets a local man by the name of Marmeladov. It becomes clear early on that this man is a drunken bum. He proceeds to tell Raskolnikov his life story, one that has been filled with alcohol and disappointment. The man spends all his money on liquor; failing to support his wife and children. The man also explains that he has lost his job and has not returned home for over five days. Raskolnikov follows this man home and not to his surprise, the mans home is a mess. Marmeladov is married to a women by the name of Katerina. She comes from noble descent, but was disinherited once she had married this man and had three children. Marmeladov, however, also has a daughter of his own whom he forces to prostitute in order to support her family, i.e him and his addiction. As the two men walk through the door, his wife whom he had not seen in many days immediately gets up and begins screaming and hitting her drunken husband. Feeling out of place, Raskolnikov flees the scene after leaving a small amount of money on the counter for the poor family.
This chapter was important for one sole reason, to help develop the character of Raskolnikov. Before this chapter the only details that the reader gets about the main character is that he is broke, alone, and somewhat chaotic. However in this chapter the reader gets to see the other side of him. The side of the compassionate young man that can feel for someone that is in an even worse place than he is. The act of giving the money to the lesser family is important because Raskolnikov did not even have any money to support himself but yet can give money to a random man that he has just met. Raskolnikov character is still developing as we will not really know how chaotic and sporatic he really is until we find out exactly what act he is contemplating doing as well as what his next move is going to be.
The two most interesting parts of chapter one are Raskolnikov’s inner monologues and observations along with the closing scene of the chapter. Raskolniov’s intelligence is easily noticed simply through his actions and observations, he even introduces himself as a student which suggest intelligence, however, he seems to be shrouded by this cloud of isolation and slight derangement. Within the first page our protagonist is questioning the fear of people and what scares them the most while he himself is fearful of interactions with others. We must remember also that he is currently living in the slums surrounded only by the drunk and poor which is obviously not his environment, in fact it seems that this idea of him being out of his environment is what caused him to isolate and detach himself from other causing some lunacy which could explain his inner monologues. The story talks about how this isolation is not a usual trait of Raskolnikov’s which leads me to the idea that it was shaped around him by his environment. What is even more interesting is that this is very common according to Rousseau. Rousseau believed that at the core all people are good and cooperative but that it is the environment around us that shapes us. We see that here with Raskolnikov, (based on conjecture) a man who may have once been an economically stable student or scholar but because of the environment and society around him has become slightly unstable and anxious.
“The Noble Savage developed by Rousseau states that “it captures the belief that humans in their natural state are selfless, peaceable, and untroubled, and that blights such as greed, anxiety, and violence are the products of civilization”. Rousseau believes that people are basically good and that the evil that comes from people are a result of civilization.” (The Blank Slate, http://www.drmillslmu.com; http://www.drmillslmu.com/sexdiffs/spr03/pinker-summary-031303.htm)
The next point of importance is the very last scene of the chapter where Raskolnikov is anxious and walks into the bar. He describes the sudden relief he has when drinking the beer and getting drunk. What is interesting about this is that at the beginning of the chapter he describes the drunks around him with great disdain but they too were happy. This relief caused by alcohol portrays the idea that it is the only escape from this poor place.
August 26, 2012
Fyodor Dostoevsky begins his novel introducing Raskolnikov, a nervous hypochondriac whose stressful situation has driven him to solitude and neglect of his well-being. Readers are immediately interested in why Raskolnikov is so desperate to avoid his landlady. While worrying about his immense debt and struggle to maintain himself he also ponders about the human mind as he questions, “It would be interesting to know what it is people are most afraid of.” With that being said, Dostoevsky shows readers that Raskolnikov is not only worrying about his poverty but also about his cowardice, which also goes to show that he is self-conscious and worries about his pride.
This past month has been different for Raskolnikov; he has been babbling more and his mind will not stop. He is overwrought by nerves and cannot stop thinking about this plan which he has carefully thought out during the month- he even knew exactly how many steps it was to reach the mysterious destination. Dostoevsky hints to readers that his plan is not with good intentions, as Raskolnikov is trying everything to fit in and not stand out and is extremely nervous. Finally, he arrives and it is the landlady’s house. An elderly and cautious woman, Aliona Ivanova is introduced to readers as one without sympathy, she charges Raskolnikov for whatever she can. Moreover, it is seen that Raskolnikov paid her a visit for a reason other than paying her as he watches her every more and even tries to figure out her schedule.
It is soon evident that Raskolnikov doubts himself and his mysterious plan. In the first few pages of the novel readers see his mental debates such as when he was at the landlady’s house. “And how could such an atrocious thing come into my head? What filthy things my heart is capable of. Yes, filthy above all, disgusting, loathsome, loathsome!—and for a whole month I’ve been…” Raskolnikov’s guilt over his plan is clear with this statement. Readers are left to wonder how bad his plan could be and whether or not he will follow through with it.