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The Brothers Karamazov
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Past Group Reads > The Brothers Karamazov: Book X

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Jenn | 413 comments Mod
Please discuss Book 10: The Boys.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 722 comments This section almost seems out of place, and certainly is a change of pace from the interrogation and faced-paced nature of Book IX. The note of compassion in it is compelling, however. The SparkNotes summary is interesting:

Ivan looks at the abstract idea of suffering children and is unable to reconcile the idea with his rational precepts about how God ought to be. His solution is to reject God. Alyosha, on the other hand, sees an actual suffering child and believes that it is God’s will for him to try to alleviate the child’s suffering to whatever degree he can. His solution is to help Ilyusha. Again, Dostoevsky shows how the psychology of skepticism walls itself off, in elaborate proofs and theorems, from having a positive effect on the world, while the psychology of faith, simplistic though it may be, concerns itself with doing good for others. This very subtle response to the indictment of God presented by Ivan in Book V brings the philosophical debate of the novel onto a plane of real human action, and shows the inadequacy of Ivan’s philosophy—which Ivan himself would readily acknowledge—to do good in the real world.


message 3: by Phil (last edited Jan 03, 2013 05:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil (Lanark) Interesting SparkNotes comment. It would make more sense I suppose if Ivan had been around at all within the last 300 pages. I'm losing patience with this book. I can see why people love it so much, if I'd read it at the age of 18 I might have loved it too, but I'm not sure now that it repays enough the amount of attention you need to give it.

As Alana says, this section seemed completely out of place, and should have come just after Ivan left for Moscow - especially if it's supposed to contrast Alyosha with Ivan. Right through the section, I was waiting to see how this connected with Fyodor's murder or Mitya's defence - and it had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

The entire structure of this novel is a mess: 500 pages of static philosophising, 100 pages of action, and then another static 75 pages. I hoped for more from this book, I really did. However, the reviewers on its Good Reads page are incredibly militant in their defence of it, I've never seen so many 5 Star reviews backed up by a 5000 word essay - perhaps it attracts strident, philosphical didactics.


Danielle | 55 comments But I love the character of Kolya in this section. He reminds me of me when I had just started college and thought I knew everything. I especially like when he finally gets to talk to Aloysha and the bit about reading "Candide."


Sheila | 16 comments I thought this section seemed out of place at first too, but I'm guessing that the part with feeding a pin to the dog could be a hint that Smerdyakov is the murderer because he suggested the whole thing to the boy. That shows me that he's interested in watching others suffer or in inflicting suffering.


Sheila | 16 comments Alana wrote: "This section almost seems out of place, and certainly is a change of pace from the interrogation and faced-paced nature of Book IX. The note of compassion in it is compelling, however. The SparkNot..."

Thank you - I hadn't made that connection between Ivan going on and on about suffering children and then Alyosha helping one - probably because there were so many pages in between!


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