Reaction To Spencer’s Term Paper

Lauren Beveridge
Period 1
4/28/13

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.

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Final Term Paper Installment

Lauren Beveridge
Period 1
4/21/13
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

4/21/13

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.

Reaction To Spencer’s Term Paper

JP Lorie

I think you are on the right path to a fantastic paper. Just a couple things to watch out for and things that could make you’re paper even better. You’re intro paragraph focuses on the idea of a thought and the obsession of it, however, your support talks about the thought and its development rather than the one singular thought or intent. This isn’t bad but rather more interesting as it brings your reader along a journey through Rodia’s mind, however, if you do wish to go down this path you need to show that in the first paragraph. Also be careful not to summarize, let the essay be told by the development of the thought not the actions of Rodia, it starts with a passing thought, then grows into an obsession as he becomes at war with himself over it. Even more afterwards this one obsession takes over his life. Thats a big deal that you could show as well, the progression and the consequences of it (which you do touch upon).

 

Also just review for grammar a bit (although its pretty hypocritical for me to say that).

Part 1 of Spencer 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 were not around anymore, 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 who had seemed to not have any worries, 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 he 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.

 

 

Opinion Of Laura’s end to her term paper- Brittany Schrager

Laura’s term paper is very well written explains the end of the book well. She explores how Rodion is bliss in jail not feeling guilty for his act but he is also lonely. With little friends, it seems that even in Jail Rodion still feels superior to everyone. It is interesting how Laura also touches on the point of him not feeling guilt for the act of murder but in turn for the pain it caused his friends and family. This allows me to consider a different point of view of Rodion that he is even more of a sociopath then I believed at first. The ending of Laura’s Term paper also leads to a complete conclusion of her paper in full.