September 23, 2012
Escaping the Desire
In the group discussion of the novel Lauren states that she believes Raskolnikov will feel a sense of relief once he commits the act that has been inhibiting his mind this past month. I fully agree with her on that expectation. Chapter 5 further highlights his desire to get the act over with and then he can get that out of his system and move on with his life. Dostoevksy highlights this sense of imprisonment due to his impending duty by showing Raskolnikov’s procrastination with everything else that he is to do. He decided that he would not see Razumikhin until after he has carried out the act, if he does.
Dostoevsky continues his use of suspense and foreshadowing into chapter six which is at this point the chapter that readers were waiting for: Raskolnikov firmly deciding that he will in fact kill Alyona. Dostoevsky introduced both of Raskolnikov’s dreams into the story as his devices for suspense, pushing back the crime and also using foreshadowing through Raskolnikov dreaming about witnessing a murder. Once he awakes from the dream, though, we see his typical momentary compassion by his repulsion to the idea of murdering Alyona.
Raskolnikov’s personality remains puzzling in these chapters because there has not been an exact reason given yet for why he ought to kill Alyona. His carelessness during his preparation and planning of the murder, Raskolnikov exhibits an abnormal indifference towards the atrocious act that he knows he is about to commit. We see the urgency in getting the crime over with rising in Raskolnikov and albeit his knowledge and compassion prove he knows better, it seems that this will be the only way that he can relieve himself from the torturous desire to lash out.
September 10, 2012
Raskolnikov, A Romantic
As Brittany points out the fury Raskolnikov feels over his sister’s arranged loveless marriage I had a slight realization. From the beginning of the novel we have been guided by Dostoevsky to view Raskolnikov as an emotionless sociopath. His lack of feelings and care build his character that we have discovered. However, the fact that he is so upset by his sister’s engagement shows the he believes in true love. It is not that he is possessive and does not want his sister getting married; it is that he thinks that she is “selling herself” and her marrying a man whom she does not love is absolutely immoral.
But why would a sociopath care about one’s feelings in a marriage. Maybe there is a layer of Raskolnikov’s personality that we still have not seen. He can be deeper than the erratic and unexplainable character that we have observed. He has a romantic side and this can lead to him possibly doing good, rather than the harsh crime that we believe we will soon see him commit. We see his moments of clarity when he cares for people and tries to help but he almost always follows up with a sociopathic freak out and disregard of the troubles the others are facing.
He truly cares about his family though, and only wants them to be happy and respected. It seems that he would do anything to protect his mother and sister, knowing that he is the only man who they can trust. He wants to be the man that they can rely and decides he must stop Mr. Luzhin, and that Dunia deserves to find someone that she loves and does not marry just because it is an easy way to support Pulcheria and Rodia.
September 10, 2012
Through Raskolnikov’s soliloquy in chapter four readers may form a better understanding of his life and the lives of those around him. His extremely angry reaction to his mother’s letter further continues our view of him as a sociopath. However, what I have found very interesting is that despite the fact that Crime and Punishment was originally written in the 1800s the characters are very relatable and the situations that they face are also prevalent in our society today. Raskolnikov is the typical over-protective brother who does not approve of his mother and sister’s actions although they have good intentions. He sees the bad that comes their way and decides to be that the man they need and declares that he will not approve of these actions no matter what. He compares Dunia and Sonia in the sense that they are both degrading themselves for the bettering of the family. This is very common in today’s societies with girls becoming strippers or prostitutes to provide for children or even their education. Furthermore, when Raskolnikov stumbles upon the extremely young drunk girl he is taken aback because that was a rare sight in those days for girls to be drunk. Today, however it does not surprise readers to see this activity amongst young girls. Raskolnikov’s initial worry about the girl highlights his confliction because soon after he immediately wonders why he cared and that it does not matter what happens to the girl. And so the question arises that he may not only be a sociopath, but bipolar as well…
September 2, 2012
In the second chapter of Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky highlights the complexity of family life, specifically during times of struggle. Through the introduction of Semion Marmeladov, Raskolnikov is pulled into a world of greater hardships than his own. After being told of the vices of destitution, Raskolnikov is forced to listen to Marmeladov’s stories about his failing family life. From these stories Raskolnikov sees the importance of money to a family. While Marmeladov is without work, his daughter works as a prostitute, his wife is bitter, and the kids are unhappy and hungry. Once Marmeladov gets his job back, his wife and daughter praise his and brag about him. However, Marmeladov’s alcoholism leads him astray once again and he leaves the family without any money. He drunkenly drags Raskolnikov along with him to visit the family, and his wife scolds him and exhibits contempt towards him. By calling him a criminal and a drunk she strips him of his once positive ties with his family.
Seeing the pain that the family was going through impacted Raskolnikov so much that he left them the only money that he had left. He then goes through some thoughts reaximining the situation. Sonia will have to go back to having a yellow ticket and the family will remain in the mess that they got themselves into. He then goes onto question mankind, “What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race of mankind—then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificial terrors and there are no barriers and it’s all as it should be.” Raskinokov is questioning the justice system, stating that there are no natural laws; crimes are only crimes because we, humans have deemed them to be crimes.