Sophie (cookiegirl18) wrote in fdostoevsky,
Sophie
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Crime and Punishment

I'm currently reading Crime and Punishment for my English class right now and I wanted to hear some people's thoughts on the novel.

My class (collectively) give off the impression that they hate it and they complain about it constantly. I admit, I didn't like the book that much when I first read it - however, upon having some interesting conversations with some people who actually enjoyed the book, I found myself liking it.

So, I've decided to join this community and try to start some conversations about this book - in hopes that I apperciate the work of Dostoevsky a bit more! :)

Would anyone care to discuss the novel with me? Please? :)
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I read the book for English class last year, too. The project was to independently analyze any work of literature, and I knew right away that I wanted to write about Crime and Punishment (I'd read it three years earlier, but none of it had stuck with me). Anyway, to make a long story short, I grew to really love the book––as if you didn't know that was coming! :)
That's great! I read the book over the summer and the only thing that stuck was the plot. Now that I'm closely reading the book, I'm finding myself enjoying it (however, annotating is a slight pain, and I'm only on page 55. Eeek. At least it's an enjoyable read!)

Out of curiosity, what conclusions were you able to draw from the book? What did you personally think of the ending?

I remembered reading the ending and being in shock. A happy ending for this novel didn't seem to fit real well with me. I later learned that Dostoevsky hastily wrote the ending for this so he could meet the deadline, and I wondered what the ending if Dostoevsky took the time to write a proper ending. Would he still make it somewhat happy? Or would he have had Rodin die alone and depressed?
I actually really like the ending to CP, and I'm an ending-oriented reader, quite hard to please. It's one of the very, very few "mid-Victorian, marriage and happily" endings that I think doesn't suck, and I think it doesn't suck for two principal reasons: 1) it's not transparently happy, happy; Raskolnikov still has a very great deal to learn about life and is only beginning his journey; 2) following from 1, it's not really about "marriage and happily ever after"; it's about starting to learn to rethink your life, and as part of that more important, more fundamental process, opening up to Sonya's greater influence and the Bible and married life, etc., are appropriate steps.
I have to agree with you - though the cynical part of me hoped that Raskolnikov would die alone, I was actually a bit pleased with the ending.

This entire book, Raskolnikov felt that he was isolated because of this terrible crime he committed, even when he was dreaming of it - he still felt like a dirty thing and tried very hard to become invisible. Then, when he confessed and sent away - instead of being shunned as he predicted or having Sonya be completely and utterly disgusted with him, she still accepts him. It shows that there is a way of redemption, there is a way to love, there is a way to live again. If he would have died alone... I think the entire message of the novel would have changed. Don't you?
I wholeheartedly agree with labingi. I also think that having Raskolnikov die alone would have been a cop-out, so to speak––that is, having Raskolnikov cop-out. He finds death much less humbling than repentance (both the lawful repentance in prison and the spiritual repentance with Sonya), but he fears it too much (also a mark of someone arrogant, I believe) to commit suicide. With regards to the surrounding events, Svidrigailov commits suicide, and in order to draw a further contrast between the two characters, Dostoevsky had to have Raskolnikov live and repent.

The last sentence is actually part of the paper I wrote for the class; I argued that Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov begin the novel as each others' doubles and end as each others' foils. So, yeah, in that respect, I thought the ending was pretty satisfying.

On an unrelated note: I really loved Svidrigailov. I found him by far the novel's most interesting character, and there was no way that I was going to write the paper without at least partially featuring him. :P I wish I could have solely focused on him, but I couldn't figure out how to make a point out of it.
Wow! That must have been an interesting paper! I can see how Svidrigailov is a foil to Raskolnikov... but I have a hard time seeing him as doubles. Just because Svidrigailov crimes seem to be really 'evil'. Granted, murdering a pawn owner and her sister is a horrible crime, but Raskolnikov was sick (mentally and physically) and truly believed that he had the right to do it, to better the community. While Svidrigailov's actions always seem to have a selfish intention to it...

Personally, I love the character of Sonya. I think she's really interesting, to me, she seems one of the weakest yet strongest character in the book. Unlike her step-mother (I haven't gotten into the spelling of the names... sorry!) she isn't the type to complain and whine - she is able to convey her emotions without opening her mouth. She was the one who was able to convince Raskolnikov to confess, when no one else could. Also, she has this unwavering belief in her religion - which is ironic considering the life style she was forced into. To me, it shows that she is a strong women that is able to stand by her beliefs. She's a duality, and I love her for it. :)
Yeah, I agree that Svidrigailov is utterly selfish. He lives to commit crimes, pretty much, and his suicide––his last crime––is self-indulgent. Nevertheless, he strikes me as a tragic character; taking into account Dunya's rejection, I get the sense that his suicide is his way of accepting his life's purposelessness.

I think Raskolnikov only used utilitarian motives to justify his murder of Alyona Ivanovna and Lizaveta––it's really self-indulgence (again, that word!) that drives his crimes. (I have a couple of quotes that support this argument, if you're interested :P) Both he and Svidrigailov apply a sort of circular argument when they commit crimes: he can commit crimes because he is (inherently) superior, and he is superior because he can commit crimes. They're both really arrogant men, and they want to assert their superiority.

Sonya...to be honest, I haven't thought about her character very much. :/ I do like that she exemplifies how there can be honor in the lowliest of places. Incidentally, there is a description of her somewhere that sort of paints her as a Christ-like figure (though that could just be my edition).
I did feel pity for him when he killed himself over Dunya's rejection. He is a tragic character in that sense.

Ugh, Raskolnikov really annoys me sometimes with his arrogance. I just finished the part where he rants and rants and RANTS about the letter that his mother sent him, and how he's angry that Dunya was getting married and all that jazz. I can see where he's coming from - he has the superhero complex where he doesn't want to see his loved ones suffer because of him; yet at the same time he's this lazy student who does nothing. And even when he gets the 'kick in the ass', he goes off and kills two women. Argh! It bothers me that the letter his mother sent him, filled with love and hope powered him to do such a violent murder.

It's alright, to be honest, I didn't even think about Svidrigailov much either. Besides, the book is filled with several characters that anyone could get really attached to.

What edition do you have? I have the one translated by Richar Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I think either editions would have her painted as a christ like figure. She's very forgiving in that sense and Dostoevsky sort of hits you over the head with all of the biblical allusions he smashed with her. :)
I have the Pevear/Volokhonsky edition, too! The first edition of CP I read was translated by David McDuff. It became a pretty big slog to read––probably why none if it stuck the first time around. :)

One could argue that Part Six and the epilogue is essentially a big treatise against suicide, but I love that it's much, much more than "suicide is sin." Rather than strictly enforcing faith, Dostoevsky has Rasknolnikov discover it. I'm not religious, but it's refreshing how religion is portrayed so personally here.
Oh! Ouch! I heard that edition is a terrible translation. But the Pevear and Volokhonsky edition is REALLY great!

What I find in a lot of other books, Religion is portrayed very 'cult like' or it comes off so fake that I'm disgusted by it. Here, Religion is seen almost as a symbol of hope. Which gives it a huge credibility and it is a nice personal touch.

Also, one thing that my classmates hate but I love - is the amount of detail and though goes behind each setting. My teacher presented us with the passage describing Rosknolnikov's apartment which is yellow - and being the good student I am, I only started to seriously annotate the book today because of my busy schedule. Anyway, I realized that yellow is repeated so many times in the novel! I looked up the color yellow and the meaning, and of course there was the 'happy, joy, spring time' meaning, but then I found the 'neg' meaning which was, 'Criticism, laziness, or cynicism' which sort of embodies Rasknolnikov! Maybe I'm reading too far into this... but it would make sense, no?
Also, why don't the people in your class like Crime and Punishment?
Two of the main reasons is because of the size and the language they find is dry. I think they get confused with all of the Russian names as well, which I guess makes it much more complicated to understand.

I use to find the book bad for the very reasons above... however, now, I don't see the language as dry, I can somewhat keep up with the Russian names and I'm use to big books - so that was not really an issue.
Yeah, it's hard to approach books like this totally cold. I've started to read The Brothers Karamazov, and I'm Sparknote-ing it as I go along so I have a better sense of what happens and what to look out for. (I'm a casual reader who reads mostly popular nonfiction outside of class :P)
Especially since it was assigned summer reading - which no offense or anything, always seem to take ten times longer to read then if we were told to read it in class. I know I got fed up with the book very quickly over the summer, because it wasn't the light read that I could pull out when I'm by the pool or on the bus like previous summer readings.

How are you liking The Brothers Karamazov? My grandmother loves it and is trying to convince me to read it.
I loved it. I'm a big fan of Russian literature in general.

As for conversation... here's something most people don't mention. What did you think of the nearly omnipresent inspector character?
i never knew there are so many people interested in russian lit!!! what a relief!! im russian myself and i was longing to find some english speakers who read russian classics. aren't you finding it hard to read? its hard enough to read them in russian for russian speakers :)are you guys/girls in school? if yes, where do you live? i live in cyprus, an island in the mediteranean. we have a large russian community here but hardly anyone reads books, unfortunately. as far as the english and cypriots here are concerned, they have never even heard of any russian writers. please tell me how are you finding russian lit and what other authors except Dostoevsky you have read. i will really appreciate it :)
Really? You consider it hard? (Don't worry, I'm not trying to sound condescending!) I always believed though that literature in your language was always easier to grasp? Of course, there is always exceptions to that rule... But I did find it difficult to follow through Crime and Punishment, the second time wasn't as bad. I'm in High School right now in the States.

I found that the first time around, I HATED C&P the second time, I found it REALLY interesting! :) I really want to read ... Anna something? If I find time that is...
Anna Karenina? ...yeah i found CP hard!! its dry and heavy but it has so much to give to its reader...where exactly in the states do u live? :)i go to an english school in Cyprus and we dont do any russian lit..we do shakespeare, jane austen, english poets, chaucer, which isn't bad but i wish we did russian lit too. u really can not imagine how greatful i am to find people who read russain classics and are able to appreciate them :)
Why did Raskolnikaff commit murders?
Dostoyevsky’s popular novel Crime and Punishment explains how the criminal takes the turbulence in his mind after the criminal act as his punishment. The hero of the novel Raskolnikaaf is a law student, who stops his studies half way through owing to his poverty. He kills an old lady who lends money to people for their accessories, when she is alone. He kills her sister too, who unfortunately happens to visit there at that moment. He takes her money bag and a few a pawned items such as a watch and chain and hides them in a secret place. No one has witnessed the murders he committed. No one has even had the slightest doubt on him. In a few days the police arrest a person who resides in the same building where the old lady lived. Still the mere thought of whether the police might have a doubt on him bothers him. He roams around as a nervous person. His health deteriorates rapidly.
Though I have read countless recommendations and critical notes about Crime and Punishment, when I read the novel for the first time I was perplexed as to why did Raskolnikaaf have to commit those murders. When he surrenders himself to the police he notifies that money was the motive of his murders. Neither the police nor do the readers could accept this as a motivating factor for his murders. One could not fathom the fact that the kind hearted Rodia, who gives away the last of his rubles to those who are in need will commit such cold blooded act for money.