Final draft of Term Paper -Brittany Schrager

Brittany Schrager

May 1, 2013

Period 1

The Ignorance of Society


Nothing is more frightening than a society’s ignorance. In Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Rodion Raskolnikov commits an act of murder. Not one of the supplementary characters seems to suspect Rodion, though hints are presented throughout the novel. Dostoevsky clearly presents ignorance in its most frightening way as Rodion’s act continues to go unpunished, even though he, himself basically tells what he has done to anyone who will listen. The other characters simply write it off as insanity. The book explores how society fails to catch the true culprit, because of its ignorance. 

In part one of the novel Rodion is presented as a man with many different emotions and qualities. He is not only a recluse, but also, he believes that he is superior to everyone. He is a man that is hindered by his morality. Unlike most feelings of morality his are presented with the idea that it is his duty and honor to fix the world thus making it a better place. Because of this rationalization he justifies the act of killing the pawnbroker and her daughter for he believes that society will be better without them. Rodion believes she is a woman of illegal acts and filthiness; therefore the world would be better without her. The underlying conflict though is that Rodion’s morality has him feel guilt as well. This causes him to questions his actions throughout the plot and to fall ill, after the act of murder. As his “illness” intensifies he begins to mumble and yell out, feeling extremely guilty and many times allowing this reader to believe he will turn himself in. This “illness” could ultimately lead to his capture.

Another quality of Rodion is his aptitude. He is not only a man of great intelligence, but also a man of great insight. It seems to the reader that his intelligence may in fact be his downfall. Even though he is a man of great intelligence, this itself has seemed to render him throughout his life. Though Rodion has no job and is poor he does not allow anyone to give him money and whenever he has the least amount of money he always seems to give it away. He is impulsive, which in turn also leads to many bad decisions throughout the novel. After his impulsive act of killing the pawnbroker, he took her money and has not used it out of guilt; this is ironic for half the reason he killed her was to steal all her money. Because of his impulsive attitude and feeling of superiority he has few friends, cannot handle social situations, and considers everything and everyone inferior.

From the beginning the reader can perceive the amount of dramatic irony present in the novel. Many times Rodion comments on murder and how it can be accepted in certain cases, but none of the other characters know about these thoughts. “Good God…can it be, can it be, that I will really take an axe, that I will strike her, on the head, split her skull open…that I will strike her skull open…that I will tread in the sticky warm blood, break the lock, steal and tremble; hide, al spattered in the blood…with the axe” (Dostoevsky 60). Thoughts like this follow Rodion throughout his journey and some he even discusses with some of his friends: Zossimov and Razumikhin, and his family: Adovtia (his sister) and his mother. Not once do they question or worry about these thoughts, they simply write them off as unimportant; but these thoughts are the key to catching Rodion at his act. Many times he hints at the murder he has committed. When he falls ill from guilt after the crime, all his friends believe he is truly ill. They do not connect this occurrence with the occurrence of the murder and do not listen to the random words his screams during his illness. These words ironically reveal what he has done, but no one but the reader distinguishes this. His doctor Zossimov watches him carefully, feeding him and taking care of him but never picks up on the validity of the words that Rodion utters. Because of this his crime go unpunished and the ignorance continues.

“The same old woman…who you were talking about in the police office, you remember, when I fainted, well do you understand now?” (Dostoevsky 157). When Rodion has this conversation with Zametov, Zametov believes he has gone mad. He never puts both ideas together that as soon as the murder happened Rodion fell ill. Even as Rodion deliberately says this, Zametov still does not understand. Many other conversations as this one happen between Rodion and his companions, and like this one they never catch what he is revealing to them. They are so focused on getting him “better” that the clear clues slip right by them. As the plot continues, Rodion’s guilt beings to eat away at his sanity causing him to randomly mumble and hallucinate. “At last red circles flashed before his eyes, the houses seemed to be moving, the passerby, the canal banks, the carriages all danced before his eyes” (Dostoevsky 163). As Rodion remorse gets worse so does his mind. He constantly hallucinates and at times cannot tell fantasy from reality. The causes the reader to question how long the ignorance will continue before he is suspected.

What also allows the reader to see Rodion’s insanity is his extended view of Darwinism. “The only difference is that I don’t contend that extraordinary people are always bound to commit breaches of morals, as you call it. In fact, I doubt whether such an argument could be published. I simply hinted that an ‘extraordinary’ man has the right…that is not an official right, but an inner right to decide in his own conscience to overstep certain obstacles, and only in case it is essential for the practical fulfillment of his idea (sometimes, perhaps, of benefit to the whole of humanity)…Newton would have had the right, would in fact have been duty bound…to eliminate a dozen or hundred men for the sake of making his discoveries known to the whole of the humanity” (Dostoevsky 247). This justification or theory tends to remind the reader about many of the leaders of genocide in history. Each leader that committed genocide in history claimed that what they were doing was out of justification to better the society. This was Hitler’s rationalization for the holocaust and many other fascists and extremists have used this explanation as well. What is frightening and inconceivable is that none of Rodion’s friends catch on to the disturbing idea he is proposing. They instead claim it is a little strange, wondering why Rodion has though of this but in the end laughing it off as if it doesn’t matter.

As a reader this passage is distressing, because Rodion seems like a radical. Like most extremists in history they truly believed they were doing the will of God and were making the world a better place. “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: ‘by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord” (Adolf Hitler). This was Hitler’s justification to massacre the Jews and Rodion’s theory is not very far off. The only difference is Rodion points, not to a specific religion but to all people that are inferior. Although he has not directly taken action his theory is still unnerving.

Rodion’s theory, in a sense, is the extreme idea of the survival of the fittest. According to Charles Darwin only the strongest in society will survive. “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment” (Darwin). This theory states that when an environment changes there will be ones that adapt to survive and the others that die out. Roidon’s theory is to take the survival of the fittest into his own hands. In modern day society humans have stopped “survival of the fittest”. The installments of modern day medicine, technology, home centers, and many other appliances have changed the course of evolution. Survival of the fittest has changed and Rodion is questioning this idea. He is asking whether it is right to let the weak and less intelligent continue to live because they can. In his belief it is a superior person’s right to exterminate anyone who is less than him as long as there is a justification for it. He is taking theory into action. As a reader this thought is appalling, but is some ways fascinating. It is interesting to imagine what the world would be today if these modern day appliances did not exist and survival of the fittest still played a part in every day life. Would this society be more advanced with only people of great intelligence or would chaos exist as people justified any act of murder on this theory. What is even more atrocious though is that none of Rodion’s companions connect these ideas and discover the truth.

Modern day societies are told that everyone is equal, knowledge is power, and ignorance is bliss. This novel explores all aspects of this and questions the reality of them. According to Rodion everyone is not truly equal. He, in fact, believes he is superior to everyone. He believes that not everyone is equal and even takes it a step further to say certain people should not live because they simply can. His justification for committing the murder was that he had the right to kill them because he was doing the world a favor. His paper further explains how people of high intelligence should not have to follow laws and that in certain situations it should be encouraged that these laws be broken. He truly believes that if, in order for a superior being to discover something new, he must commit murder, than in that situation the act is not only justified, but also, necessary.

Knowledge is power, but ignorance is also bliss. If a person is not aware of something then they will not be able to worry about it, but in the end, not knowing could also hurt them. Rodion’s friends do not know the aspect of his crime and the frightful part of his character. Right now, this ignorance is bliss for they do not understand the horrific aspects of their companion. Ignorance keeps things simple, making life easier, but sooner or later, the blissfulness disappears, and society is hindered by not knowing the truth. By not understanding all the aspects of Rodion’s character the supplementary characters are left blissfully ignorant but at the same time are troubled by not catching the true culprit and by Rodion still being “ill”. Ignorance is only temporarily bliss; it would be better for the character’s to understand, like the reader, the full aspect of who their companion is and what he has done.

If they knew they would be able to solve this mystery of the murder and also understand who Rodion has become. Instead they are living under the façade of their friend and turning a blind eye to all the images of reality. The reader may question whether they are ignorant or choosing to be ignorant, but the truth is always eventually discovered. Once the blissfulness is no longer felt and the character’s can no longer ignore the truth they will have to accept the fact that their friend is a murderer. By learning this, life will no longer be simple, but they will be more knowledgeable and powerful. This novel truly explores the ignorance of society and sends a warning to the reader showing how ignorance can be dangerous. It shows the reader every aspect of ignorance and knowledge allowing the reader to decide which he would choose: to stay in the dark, like the supplementary characters and that society, or to seek out knowledge and the truth therefore changing his view of life forever.







Works Cited

“Adolf Hitler about the Jews – Quotes from Mein Kampf.” Upps: Oplysning om Jødernes rolle i samfundet – – A holocaust controversy. Jews Upps, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013. <;.

“Charles Darwin Quotes – Quotations from the famous naturalist.” Charles Darwin – Complete works of Charles Darwin, Biography, Quotes. webmaster, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2013. <;.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. New York: Modern Library, 1950. Print.




Term Paper- Laura Vargas

Laura Vargas

May 1, 2013

Period 1

Term Paper: Guilt

 It has been said that despite technological advances and society’s progress, emotions have always been the same; even the earliest cavemen felt happiness, sadness, guilt, and so on. Written in 1864, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment highlights the mental plight that Rodion (Rodia) Raskolnikov faces after committing murder. Although the novel was written almost 150 years ago, Rodia’s struggles can be understood by anyone thousands of years ago, as well as anyone thousands of years in the future because guilt is nothing new.

Guilt, which is defined as: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime, stems from the acceptance that one in fact committed a crime. In Rodia’s case he faces such a heavy battle in his mind because he goes through two separate phases throughout the whole novel. One phase is the one in which he believes that he did nothing wrong and that Alliona deserved to be killed because she was not a good person. Phase one is one in which his guilt is only subconscious because his conscious mind believes that he did something right and he makes himself believe that he is above all others and in a sense heroic. Phase two is the one that brings him the most pain- the one in which he acknowledges that he committed one of the most heinous acts that a human could commit. Conscious guilt is the corollary of phase two. This mental split between the two phases builds up in his subconscious and does not let him live a normal life. He spends days on end battling whether or not he should cede to the guilt and confess to the crime and therefore face punishment, or if he should try to burry the hatchet and continue living his life. However, every time that he tries to listen to the part of his brain telling him to run away from the pain and get over it the guilt returns to torment him.

In portraying guilt through Rodia’s downward spiral in the 1800s, Dostoevsky proved to understand society and the human mind. There are many articles written on the psychological and physiological effects of guilt and many of those effects directly mirror everything that Rodia went through in the novel; his inconsistency of emotions and his oversensitivity are typical of someone living with guilt. The fact that he has to constantly hear about the crime continues to stimulate his questioning of his morality.

Guilt peaks when one has loved ones whose expectations one has to live up to. Rodia’s struggle increases whenever his mother and sister are around because he loves them and knows that he cannot let them down by being known as a murderer. As a result of that, he has to deceive them, which adds onto his guilt, thus making everything even harder for him. Rodia’s guilt consumes him more and more with each struggle that comes his family’s way.

Rodia’s guilt causes his stress to build up to the point where he has so much chaos in his mind that he treats those around him poorly. Razumikhin, who has been such a loyal friend to Rodia, consistently takes his mood swings and remains by his side. Rodia’s mood swings range from him being extremely generous such as giving the money to Marmeladov’s family and in the beginning of the novel helping the drunk girl, but his mood always swings back to being frustrated and unable to deal with society.

When people, like Rodia, have so much going on in their heads they tend to butt heads with most people. Rodia’s relationship with Luzhin has been shaky from the start, not just because he is protective over his sister, but because he cannot function in a regular society with people carrying on regular lives.

Dostoevsky makes it so that readers spend the whole novel wondering how could the people around society not realize how sketchy he is. Why is it that nobody realizes how uncomfortable he gets whenever the discussion about the murder arises? When he goes to the police station and faints after he overhears a discussion about the murder it seems quite obvious that there must be a reason as to why that discussion affected him so much. People begin to catch onto him but no one has enough proof to bring it up against him.

“Here a strange thought came into his head: perhaps all his clothes were covered with blood, perhaps there were stains all over them, and he simply did not see, did not notice them, because his reason was failing, going to pieces…his mind darkening.” (Dostoevsky, 91) By implementing the quote while Rodia is trying to get rid of the traces of the murder, Dostoevsky mentions guilt for one of the first times. Readers see Rodia’s mind being filled with guilt and his loss of control over his life and his sanity. The fact that he, himself, is able to notice this sickness stemming from the guilt shows that he will be in a constant battle over the act that he committed.

As Rodia begins to feel the guilt and understand that he has acted immorally, he begins to distance himself from his brain. However, no one enjoys the feeling of guilt; because of that, Rodia tries convincing himself that he committed a good act. He goes through moments where he feels that he should confess and others where he feels like he will just continue living with the guilt. As his mind continues building onto the problems that he is facing, he experiences a moment of clarity after Marmeladov’s death. “Pride and self-confidence were growing in him every moment; with each succeeding moment he was no longer the man he had been the moment before. What special thing was it however, that had so turned him around? He himself did not know; like a man clutching at a straw, he suddenly fancied that he, too, ‘could live, that there still was life, that his life had not died with the old crone.’ It was perhaps a rather hasty conclusion, but he was not thinking of that,” (Dostoevsky, 188). His interaction with Marmeladov’s family inspires him to be a better person. However, this newly found confidence could counteract his temptations to confess. It will not be long, though, until the guilt creeps back onto him.

The latter part of the novel highlights his inevitable retrogression and continuous mental battle over whether or not he should carry the guilt and remain “innocent.” He battles everyone around him and does everything to try and stay away from the punishment. Dostoevsky forces readers to ask themselves whether Rodia’s crime was malicious or like he believes, for the good of mankind. This question reaches a turning point when Dunia has a gun in her hands. Despite the fact the she could be acting in self-defense, she is unable to shoot Svidrigailov. Dostoevsky employs this scene into the novel so that readers can see the difference between Rodia’s handling of violence and Dunia’s. It was so easy for Rodia to commit murder and to attempt justification. So really, the question is: does he feel guilty because he committed murder, or does he feel guilty because society will frown upon him? Although the two types of guilt would cast different lights on Rodia, it is clear that he feels remorse for what he did, regardless as to why he feels this guilt; he cannot continue living that way. Dostoevsky throws illness, madness, family and friend drama, threats, fear, paranoia and more at Rodia until he finally decides to confess.

Guilt weakens one and destructs ones relationship with oneself. This is shown, when Rodia is incapable of confessing without the encouragement of Dunia and Sonia. Though they both encourage him to confess, insisting that it will help atone for his crime, he continues to contemplate continuing his life as a free man. He has grown accustomed to the guilt, which has stripped him of raw emotions and left him desolate. Finally, he confesses and the novel immediately ends. The fact that Dostoevsky built this crime up and did not have actual justice as punishment explained to the reader shows that the punishment that the novel was all about was in fact guilt.

Dostoevsky emphasizes Rodia’s weakness and lack of remorse over Alliona’s death through Svidrigailov’s suicide. Svidrigailov kills himself once he sees that his life is not going the way that he would like. Rodia, although he has gone through phases in which he contemplates guilt, is unable to end his life. Essentially, he chooses to live in jail and accept the punishment than to come face to face with his subconscious guilt and end his life. Even through the epilogue, Rodia’s guilt is inexplicable; he does not consider the murder a sin, but an “error.” This belief shows that he feels guilty as a result of the pain and suffering that he caused his family and his initial fear of punishment.

Rodia accepts his time in jail and during his trial does not try to justify his acts. Like Monsieur Meursault from Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Rodia accepts his fate and does not argue. This acceptance is his way of releasing the guilt, otherwise known as the stress affecting his loved ones. Dostoesvky shines a brighter light on Rodia’s life post-confession. He receives a relatively simple sentence and although he does not make friends in prison, his life is calmer, partly due to the fact that he does not have to deal with the pain and suffering imposed by the guilt. Rodia, who was once so bitter and separated from society, even falls in love. He realizes that he actually loves Sonia after having rejected her for so long. It seems like he has mental clarity once he confesses and he finally has the mental capacity for healthy relationships and happiness.

Crime and Punishment takes an extreme turn at the epilogue when the cold and depressing story ends with positivity. Rodia’s abrupt change in character comes from the months of suffering and isolation that he went through. His newfound faith allows Rodia to connect with other people. Through this change in attitude, Dostoevsky proves that one controls ones fate; once Rodia decided to confess, good things began to come to him and he finally had the guilt, which had been tormenting him, go away.


 Works Cited

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2007. Print.




Spencer Final Term Paper

Spencer Levine
Period 1

Crime And Punishment Research paper

A single thought can remain in the brain for a lifetime. Forever waiting in ones subconscious simply waiting for the right moment to present itself and burst into the mind forcing its owner to act upon it. While these types of thoughts are rare, they are in fact real and can be very harmful if they encourage the wrong type of behavior. In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov becomes consumed by a single thought forcing him to commit a crime that sent him spiraling down into a state of madness and paranoia.
Raskolnikov or Rodia is a character of great complexity. He does not think like the rest of society, he has his own morals and does what he believes to be right. The first scenario in which a single thought consumes Rodia would be the murder of the pawnbroker and her sister Lizaveta. All the reader knows about the pawnbroker is from the view of Rodia with the exception of one brief conversation between two men. While the reader is not given much background, we know that Rodia despises her. His initial thought is that she is a vile, greedy, worthless human being that does not deserve to remain on planet Earth. He has had to sell her some of his personal items for fear of not being able to take care of himself, this adds to his hatred of her because he feels as if she is taking advantage of his situation and thus gives him less money for the items that he so desperately needs to exchange for cash. After this first thought has been processed, it starts to develop into something more. Soon the simple thought of not liking her turns into the hatred of her. Then questions begin to arise, why is she still around? Nobody likes her. Maybe things would be better if she were not here anymore. Rodia struggled with this thought for a long time as it slowly began to make itself more present in his mind. Eventually he decided to go to a bar to have a drink when he overheard two gentlemen talking. They were speaking of the pawnbroker and how much they both despised her. This was all Rodia had to here. As soon as he became aware that he was not the only one who had wished that the pawnbroker was gone, he sprung into action. He found out the times in which the pawnbroker would be home alone and scheduled his plan accordingly. After all was set, he grabbed his axe and a decoy trinket and headed over to her apartment. He played out the plan very carefully and as she turned her back, he swung his axe right over her head immediately killing her. What he had not noticed however; was that the door was still open and standing in it was Lizaveta. He had no other choice but to murder her as well for fear that she would undoubtedly go to the police. So there stood Rodia, a former college student with a loving family, now a cold-blooded murderer of two with blood stained hands trapped inside an apartment. He had another very close call while trying to escape two painters; they had seemed to hear everything and knew what was going on. Somehow Rodia was able to escape and that’s when everything really started to go downhill.
The pawnbroker was by no means wealthy, but she did have a large amount of cash on her as well as a few valuable items that Rodia took with him after the murder. One would assume that a man capable of murder would surely spend this money and sell the items because after all what else do they have to lose. What is weird though is that Rodia never spent the money and hid the valuables under a random rock a few streets down from his apartment with no intention to ever reclaim them. This shows the reader that Rodia was not in it for the materialistic benefits that he may receive. While he was broke, he did not care about the money. He simply wanted this woman gone from society because he felt as if the world would be better off without her. That is what separates Rodia from all other murderers. He killed for himself, he killed her because he THOUGHT that he would feel better if she was gone, but unfortunately the exact opposite occurred.
Everyone’s perception of a situation is different, some can see things as positive others as negative, what matters though is the perception of those involved. Rodia’s perception of this situation immediately turned wrong as soon as he entered his apartment building. The problem with the murder was that Rodia did not think of any of the consequences. He just did it. He never even thought about the possibility of getting caught or even the personal feelings that come with having committed such a gruesome act. What he originally thought was going to be something of simplicity and nonchalant ness actually sent him into a state of paranoia and madness only to be coupled with remorse and grief. It was the first singular thought of not liking the pawnbroker that sent him into this state. This pre-emitted thought slowly gained strength and began to emerge itself from his subconscious to his full consciousness up until the point where it consumed him and was all he could think about. All he knew was that he wanted this woman gone and was willing to do anything to ensure that it happened. The thought became so powerful that he was unable to even think about the possible consequences even though he most definitely knew what they were going to be. This shows how a single pre-emitted thought can completely control ones actions and wreak havoc upon society.
Everyone knows the consequences of committing a crime such as a murder. Whether it is the death penalty or life in a Siberian work camp, Rodia clearly knew what the physical punishments handed down by the state were going to be. However there are two sides to punishment when it comes to a murder with no real exterior motives, physical and mental. Some argue as to which one is worse, but the fact is that Rodia went through both of them just at separate times. Rodia experienced the physical punishments when he was sent to the Siberian work camps at the end of the novel. Here he did hard labor and had to suffer through the hardships of the freezing weather and rationalized food supply as well as the poor living conditions that the camps forced upon its prisoners. While working in these camps is a true tragedy and for lack of a better word simply sucks, the mental punishment of committing such a crime is worse in my mind.
The mental punishment set in as soon as Rodia entered his apartment after committing the murder. Raskolnikov fell into a fitful, nightmare-ridden sleep, and after four days of fever and delirium, he wakes up to find out that his housekeeper, Nastasya, and Razumikhin have been taking care of him. They have all noticed that Raskolnikov becomes extremely uncomfortable whenever the murder of the pawnbroker is mentioned. For example, he was summoned to the police station for a reason that he had not known and upon arrival he sat down on a bench. He is clearly as paranoid as any other person would be if they had committed a murder the day before and then were called into the police station. However as he was sitting there he overheard a few officers talking across the room. They were simply discussing the murder and how mysterious the whole thing was. This was enough to set the paranoid Rodia off as he immediately fainted inside the police station. This actually happened a few times throughout the story as Rodia was not mentally able to withstand the fact that what he did was wrong and clearly he felt remorse for his actions and that is why he was unable to face his wrongdoings and thus could not even stand to hear about it in his presence.
This mental punishment of not being able to go on with one’s daily life can be rough. Whether or not Rodia admits it, he felt remorse for the gruesome acts that he committed. There was one time down the way were he must have thought that what he did was wrong. That initial thought entered his mind and would never come out. That is why he felt so mentally incapable because he was fighting the thoughts that what he did was morally acceptable to him self and thus he should not feel sorry. However that was not the case as the grief continuously built upon itself in his mind and that is what ultimately lead him to confess at the end of the novel. All it took was for the one simple thought of recognition that what he did was wrong for him to send himself into the mental punishment of not being able to move on.
There was one final aspect of the novel that I wished Dostoevsky would have let the reader read. While only mentioned once in the middle and a few times by his mother near the end; Rodia wrote an article about the consequences of committing a murder. Unfortunately Dostoevsky did not make this article available for his readers so we are forced to speculate as to what its content was, however if my theory is to be correct then I have a pretty good idea as to what Rodia wrote about. Rodia wrote the article while he was a student and had no thoughts about murdering the pawnbroker. He simply wrote the article with the hopes that it would get published and he could make some money. My opinion as to the contents of the article are the same as the feelings that Rodia experienced after he committed the murder. Almost everything that he experienced, he had wrote about in his article. This is coherent with my theory that pre-meditated thoughts control ones actions. Here is a man that has just written an entire article on the after effects of committing a murder. The next thing he does is commit a murder, how hard is it to believe that a man is going to feel the feelings that he wrote were going to a person in his exact position. The thoughts of what his feelings might be entered his thoughts when he began to write about it. The thoughts became stronger and stronger until he was forced to act upon them and commit the murder. So was it the article that aroused his curiosity and made him commit the murder? We will never know, but what we do know is that Rodia said that these things would happen if he committed a murder, and then he committed a murder and now one can assume that he felt the things that he wrote about, hence pre-meditated thoughts controlling ones actions.
In conclusion I would like to make my theory or in this case thesis loud and clear. I believe that as soon as a single thought is presented in the brain, it is there forever. Whether it is actively in your thoughts or stored somewhere deep in your mind, it is accessible at almost anytime. In addition, if the thought is strong enough and presented enough times, it will begin to grow on a person and the more they think about it, the stronger it gets. In Crime and Punishment, Rodia writes an article on what we would like to believe is about the after effects of a murderer. This article immediately instills what Rodia believes to be the feelings that someone should feel after having committed a murder. Now these thoughts are in his mind and can never get out. So when he commits the murder, those thoughts have been awoken and thus he feels the grief and remorse that any killer should feel. Overall I believe that pre-meditated thoughts can control ones actions to the point of full consumption and inability to move away from the thought.

Works Cited
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and punishment. New York: Modern Library, 1950. Print.

Reaction To Spencer’s Term Paper

Lauren Beveridge
Period 1

I really like the idea for your term paper Spence! It’s great that you got so much done in such a short amount of time, but I think that may have rushed you so you skipped over some details that could tie together what you have so far. I agree with what JP said, so if you take what you will from what he said I think you’ll end up with a great paper.

Final Term Paper Installment

Lauren Beveridge
Period 1
Term Paper Installment 4
Luhzin, being an undeniably insecure and overly sensitive male presence in the novel, serves as the connection between Dunya and Stanton’s other complaint. Luhzin attempts to degrade Dunya and make her submissive and subservient, not only to make himself feel validated as a man, but to ensure that Dunya will feel dependent upon him. Once again, Dunya defies him by doing whatever she pleases despite his wishes, and ends their engagement.

Sonya relates to Elizabath Cady Stanton’s list of sentiments as well, but I believe there are two sentiments in particular that describe her situation, which is much different than that of Dunya. These sentiments are “He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty renumeration,” and “He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education- all colleges being closed against her.” Sonya is forced to become a prostitute because the men in her family are incapable of providing for her financially, therefore, they take all the money she makes each night, while she gets near to nothing for her abuse, pain, and loss of pride. This relates to the second sentiment because she has no choice but to be a prostitute because she is not allowed entrance to a school to be educated. If women were allowed to be schooled, Sonya could have made money through more honorable means.

The ideals of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Wollstonecraft lead to the feminism that is present in Crime and Punishment. The female characters are notably stronger in morals and character than the men in the novel, which was likely influenced by the movements of the feminists of this time period.

Reaction to Jp’s 4 parts

Spencer Levine
per 1

Jp you did a fantastic job writing that paper. I will keep my response short and just tell you a few of things that you may want to add or get rid of before you turn in your final copy. First of all you need to go back and re read it because there are a few sentences that don’t make sense. They sound coherent if you go by quickly, but there were definetely sentences where a word or two needed be changed, particularly in the first paragraph. In addition there was a mistake in your reference to the pawnbroker. He did not owe the pawnbroker any rent money I believe. I think that he needed money for his landlord because he didnt have any and thats why he was pawning off his money to the pawnbroker. I would suggest adding a paragraph in the middle referencing his encounter with the entire marmeladov family as they were the people who he spent 75% of the novel trying to help. That is the real moralilty in the story he continues to go out of his way to ensure that this family is taken care of. In addition you may want to write about why he turned himself in at the end. That definetly has something to do with morality as his own guilt got to him and he had no other choice, also why he did not commit suicide. I think that your paper was overall well written however could be better if you were to do some of the corrections I insist upon as I am only trying to help!

All Four Post

JP Lorie


Morality is said often said to be the difference between man and its surrounding. Humans are one of the few organism to feel a need to help all those within their species, even if it defies the natural route of nature. However, this specifically contradicts the natural instinct of survival. Fyodor Dostoevsky shows this contradiction and the battle between rationale and emotion along with their roles in a poor society through Darwinism as his protagonist endures the internal struggle of living this life in Russia in the classic novel Crime and Punishment.


The internal struggle between the instincts of survival and morality define the protagonist of this Russian classic. Rodion Raskolnikov, or Rodia, has the rationale and intelligence which sets him apart from those around him. He is naturally smarter then others and understands his spot within the society that surrounds him. Living in the lower end of Russian society, many suffer, hunger, thirst, or die. It is a part of life that is accepted. Rodia’s internal struggle manifests in this place, his understanding of the natural way of life in which some die or suffer while others live is contradicted by his inept desire to help despite it being futile. 


Rodia’s conflicting desires is one of the prevalent themes found within Dostoevsky’s novel. These internal conflicts deal with Darwinism and how it is found in todays society. Charles Darwin was a scientist who is accredited with the discovery of the theory of evolution. In his theory, Darwin defines the notion of natural selection, also sometimes referred to as survival of the fittest. This is applied in nature, it describes the way in which a species advances. When an animal is born with some kind of defect, or if it is unable to change to the environment around it then it dies. Only those that are able to change or are able to survive within their environment are able to reproduce and make more children, hopefully passing these genes that are important for the species’ survival, thus survival of the fittest. Over time these changes occur and theoretically the species evolves. This is seen with all organisms including humans. According to this, mankind should be the fittest organism of the evolutionary progression. As a follower of Darwin, Dostoevsky incorporated these ideas and placed this theory in the realm of Rodia within his society. Somewhere along the evolutionary path humans developed morality, which distinguishes the species. However, is this a survival trait? Dostoevsky analyzes this with the lower class, intelligent but struggling Rodia.


The first portion of the book is made up of several key moments in which Rodia is left with a decision. Weather to help someone who needs help, because they need money and are suffering, or to let them fend for themselves and take care of himself. Rodia is torn between this decision. For the purpose of survival Rodia shouldn’t help others, especially because there is no obligation to. However, Rodia continuously does; allowing his morale conscience to overtake that of survival. This struggle however is so strong that despite his seemingly altruistic actions he remains infuriated at his sympathies finding himself suffering because of it. Any money or charity given away means less for him and thus continues his own suffering.


The truly peculiar thing about Rodia is his division. Does it make him a good person, a bad one, or something different all together? His good gestures are that of a good man and as the protagonist the audience is forced to feel for him as he does these good deeds. However, he hates himself for it after the gesture is done. This is seen in when Rodia tries to help the young drunk girl in the street. Rodia is conflicted with these polar opposites. He understands that this is a regular conundrum and that girls such as this one constantly suffer in his society and that there is nothing he can do to influence a change in that. However, he also feels empathy, he sees the young drunk as the frightened girl that she is and feels compelled to help. In the end, as expected, he helps the girl and protects her but still walks away bitter and feeling as if he has not created an impact. Rodia not only lives at polar ends of this evolutionary and morality spectrum but he lives both to the fullest. He is obviously smarter then most and lives most of his life with rationale justification, he continues living in this style even when making these hard decisions. However, even on the other end of the spectrum with morality Rodia does not do the bare minimum but consistently helps as much as possible. Thus Dostoevsky is able to illustrate the two realms of this human decision. However, when looking at this in terms of Darwinism are these decision good? Which is the right one? And how does Dostoevsky want the audience to see his split protagonist? When helping these people out the audience looks at the good natured side of Rodia. They see compassion, empathy, and generosity, all traits of a lovable protagonist. In day to day life this kind of person would be respected and considered better then most for their good qualities. These are the people appreciated most within a society as kind hearted and caring and yet Rodia rejects it and resents himself for it. According to Darwinism, his rejection of this is what makes him the “fittest”, theoretically it should be what makes him better then most. His independence is what helps him survive. This is what people should be like to continue evolution and make people continuously better.


If we look at Rodia’s independence as a unique survival skill, than that means that empathy is the opposite, and thus hurtful to himself and the people that act in such a way. If animals were to sacrifice themselves to help those weaker in the pack they would all die. The strong would sacrifice themselves and the weak would eventually find themselves on their own and die. Natural selection is thrown out in a society where no one can die because they are all protected. Furthermore, they are all reproducing only adding to this cyclical mess. Rodia symbolizes this division. His humanity hinders him despite his full understanding of its uselessness and he fails to escape it.


Rodia’s empathetic division is furthermore symbolic of our own society. Dostoevsky shows the poison of empathy within our society through Rodia. Our society has police, fire fighters, hospitals, homeless shelters, therapy, and so many more institutions whose sole purpose is to help people live better, stronger, and longer despite any disadvantages they may have. These act as safety nets which don’t allow the weak to fall through. No natural selection can occur if everyone is equally fit. Thus we poison ourselves with more problems such as caring for the old, protecting the weak, and over population. Rodia sees these problems within his society and still tries to help those weak ones because he can’t bare not to. He adds to society’s problems and his own because of his empathy. This is further shown by the lack of money he has later on because of his uncontrollable kindness.


Dostoevsky writes Rodia as an intelligent man who has a fuller understanding of society and its shape as it revolves around him. Generally, like most people, he tries to live happily and help those in need, even if at a personal cost. Unfortunately for Rodia, his costs are marginally larger because of his own state of poverty. However, because Rodia is well versed in Darwinism, as he symbolizes it’s place in society, he also understands the need and will to survive. Survival of the fittest does at time mean the old and weak die for the young and strong. This instinct should be an advantage to any organism as it overcomes another obstacle, through killing or stealing, to help itself. However, does Darwinism and its concept apply in human society? As Rodia is poor and hungry he discovers that the old woman who he pays rent to has a small sum of money. She is a mean woman whom no one enjoys and yet she has this sum that Rodia needs. Survival is prioritized and he kills her for the money, however, he also kills her sister as she witnesses the crime. It is this scene that changes the rest of the book. Up until this point Rodia was helping people at his own risk and cost, he had not hurt others for his own and, although the first is bad it was for survival but murder is illegal. Morality then comes to play a large role in the analyzation of Darwinism in human society through Rodia.


It is the next chapters which truly represent the heart of Darwinism in a moral and modern society. For the next two parts of the novel Rodia’s emotions grow quite exponentially and he finds himself more anxious. As a realist and Darwinist he finds he be has done the right thing for himself and society. However, Rodia begins to have uneasy nights and find himself nervous around others especially at the mention of the murders. “Can this be the punishment already beginning? Indeed it is,”. Rodia becomes plagued by guilt, haunted by the morality hidden away in the back of his mind. His sickness further shows this and he ultimately becomes unable to interact with society in a inauspicious way as he becomes too anxious or sick with guilt as he even faints when it gets to be too much. Morality, although once a guiding light and tool for functioning in society has hindered Rodia through guilt. Therefore, it is not a tool of evolution as it prohibits survival of the fittest as his emotional state has taken control of him. However, Darwin’s solution is not any better. Killing off others and breaking the law for one’s own gain works in the natural world but is another harmful trait in a modern society as it ultimately leaves most imprisoned, thus unable to continue procreating meaning they aren’t passing down their genes and don’t fit Darwin’s definition of fit. In a way this could be considered the only way to truly be fit in today’s society, the avoidance of jail or death before procreation. On a basic level this is seen in the natural world, live, eat, procreate, and die however, the way in which to go about doing this is what has changed since our pre-morality period.