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The Brothers Karamazov
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INDIVIDUAL BOOK DISCUSSIONS > The official unofficial The Brothers Karamazov thread (*spoilers)

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message 1: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments Okay I will finally make a proper thread for this book. I am myself on 'Book V' of the novel and have been really enjoying myself. I hope this can be just a thread to talk about the book or if you are reading it like myself this can be a mini-group discussion? (Is that allowed? Will I get sent to the Goodreads version of Siberia for unwittingly breaking a group rule? I'm still kind of new.)

Anyway I am still lmao at the last chapter ("And In Fresh Air") at how much of a troll F.D. is. Now I was already aware of this since Notes from Underground was my first Dostoevsky read, but without giving away plot he really got me (and Alyosha) good. I could almost swear I heard him laughing from beyond the grave. He seemed to say "oh you feel warm, moved real fuzzy? TIME TO KILL THAT NOISE, NOOB!" And I was just reading it going, "What. The. Hell?!" So yeah any other TBK stories?


message 2: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments So to update for the 1.3 people watching this thread I am 3/4 through the "Grand Inquisitor" chapter and my thoughts will be pending after I am done.


Bryn Hammond (BrynHammond) I'm a big, big fan. Great idea to have a thread - where we can yatter on to our heart's content with anything Karamazov?


message 4: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments Yeah I didn't see one when I joined so I made one up until a more "legitimate" thread was made I'm guessing if the book ever becomes s group read; in the meantime, you can't have a Russian literary group and not have anything on 'The Brothers K'.


Amalie  | 650 comments Mod
Ken wrote: "Yeah I didn't see one when I joined so I made one up until a more "legitimate" thread was made I'm guessing if the book ever becomes s group read; in the meantime, you can't have a Russian literary..."

Hello Ken, we decided 2 Dostoevsky and 2 Tolstoy readings will be enough for this year. I hope will come back to this next year perhaps, for now I hope you'll enjoy your reading.

I'll add a spoiler alert for the thread, just in case.


message 6: by Ken (last edited Oct 02, 2012 09:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments That's fine and thank you for informing me. I'm just on Book VI that details the life of Father Zosima now. I would also ask that spoilers have the spoiler tag on them.


message 7: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments Wow I 'm in the middle of the section on Father Zosima's life and am amazeda at how amazingly...I want to say Tolstoy like this is (and I mean that in best possible way). It seems Dostoevsky really wanted to take a gentle approach to this character and he is doing such a good job here.


message 8: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments Well I am finally about to start on the actual trial of the novel. I have to say that the last arc featuring Dimitri dragged for me somewhat but the display of him and Grushenka was worth it. I'm just glad to be past the half way point with this book.


message 9: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE!!!!! Hell yes! Now does anyone want to talk about this now?


Patrice I'm game. REad it a couple of years ago. I thought the Grand Inquisitor section was very convincing and heart felt and perhaps Dostoyevsky's true feelings. He's been sent to siberia once already for stating the "wrong" opinions. If nothing else he seemed still ambivalent.

BTW, the best line of the book "the sticky little leaves in spring" is Shiller's.


message 11: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments That argument does not hold up I quite well if you read the whole book, but I guess every one wants to feel validated.


Patrice I read the whole book! I know he presents another argument. I read somewhere that some government official questioned him about the GRand inquisitor. That it was too convincing and wouldn't it sway people? Dostoyevsky said that it was his way of setting them up, to demonstrate that he understood the other side of the argument very well, and then to knock it down. But it's just my personal question mark. Even if he comes down on the religious side, that other argument is out there and so powerful it's hard to think that he wasn't torn.


message 13: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Moten | 57 comments I would think that all people that have faith are at some point torn that is beside the point. When I read the novel it is 4 characters and there perspectives (really two) who stick out. I will get to this. in a minute.

The Grand Inquisitor, for all its fame, pales in comparison to the chapter that comes directly before. The Grand Inquisitor would not challenge my world view but the "Rebellion" chapter is so powerful that if you didn't read the novel (and see the plot revolving with the children) you would really be affected. That chapter was Ivan's best moment.

But in this novel you have 4 people on opposite sides. You have Ivan and Smerdyakov on one side and Father Zosima and Alyosha on the other. you have two who state their positions and two who carry those positions. Ivan says that "he respectfully returns the ticket" and that "in a world without God, all is permitted". On the other end you have Father Zosima who says "Love is such a priceless treasure that you can buy the whole world with it, and redeem not only your own but other people's sins" and most importantly "everyone is responsible for everybody else" which is a direct challenge to Ivan's attempt to "return the ticket" since the ticket, from the Elders' point of view, would be non-refundable.

Now that we have the the stated beliefs we have those in the novel who carry them out (oh but we do have to come back to Zosima and Ivan to see how they put their conclusions to practice). We have Smerdyakov the bastard half-brother on the one end who decides to follow Ivan's advice which leads to him taking revenge on the family by killing his father, framing his brothers (or at least convincing Ivan that he was guilty) and hanging himself. Ivan who was the inspiration for Smerdyakov goes into horror, starts seeing the devil tormenting him everywhere, and leaps into total psychosis and we last see him laying unconscious in Katerina Ivanova's house. On the other hand we have Alyosha who was trained directly under Father Zosima and of course is the main protagonist of the novel. Now to be fair at one point Alyosha does have a crisis of faith, but ironically he meets someone who is doing as bad and really worst than he is and from that point on he doubles down on his faith. We see tht the consequences of that is that Alyosha ends up relpacing Father Zosima as the moral center of the town. Also now we are shown Zosima's path to God and what he did directly after his conversion and how it effected every one around him and made him the famous monk that he became.

My point is, I do very much agree that Dostoevsky shows equally both sides of the for God-anti-God (though that this is not accurate because Ivan is much more against the morals and the world of his God more than wondering about the specter himself since he says he would openly concede that) spectrum objectively (although you could argue that the analytical atheism of Bertrand Russell, Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. does get maligned even by Ivan and especially by the Grand Inquisitor himself), in the end Dostoevsky comes down on the side of God. That is my only argument and if you have evidence more than a "gut-feeling" to the contrary my book is right in front of me.


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