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

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Jenn | 413 comments Mod
Please discuss Book 4: Lacerations.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 722 comments I'm about halfway through this section and finding Lise to be silly in a Dora kind of way (from David Copperfield). I hope Alyosha does not become infatuated with her.

Has anyone else noticed that Dostoevsky named one of his more despicable characters after himself? I wonder if this means anything, like he relates his most negative qualities to those of Fyodor Pavlovich? Or did he just choose his name because it's a common one? I somehow doubt that being a coincidence, though. Is he purposefully distancing himself as a person from the "good" character of Alyosha?


Kylie | 37 comments Is anyone else getting irritated with this book? It is interesting and entertaining to a certain degree, but I still have no idea what this book is actually about.

Also, is it just me or does Russian literature make women out to be extremely weak, overly dramatic, and completely irrational? Or do I feel this way because I read AK last month? I got the same feeling from AK about men's views on women. What do you guys think?


Kylie | 37 comments Alana wrote: "I'm about halfway through this section and finding Lise to be silly in a Dora kind of way (from David Copperfield). I hope Alyosha does not become infatuated with her.

Has anyone else noticed that..."


I have to say that I completely overlooked this! I can in no way think that this is coincidental! I think that you make a good point about how the author may relate to the Fyodor in the book. Another random thought, could his father have also been named Fyodor and so the Fyodor in the book is based off of his father? I have no idea, I think I'm gonna have to look that up at some point!


Alana (alanasbooks) | 722 comments Kylie, that's a good point. Just looked at Wikipedia and looks like his father's name was Mikhail, so probably not, but there could be another person. It's a fairly common name. I just wonder if it's based off of himself, what the psychological reasoning is there?

I agree, the women are really starting to get on my nerves. Grushenka is mean, Katerina is hysterical, and Lise is just ridiculous. Put together the last two and you get Dora from David Copperfield and I couldn't STAND that girl. At least Dickens had some positive female characters to counterbalance that, though. I wonder if this is how Russian men view their women, or how they WANTED their women to be? Or they just had no idea how to write a female character and didn't care. However, the book is not finished yet, so I will reserve judgment until the end. Someone may be redeemed yet.


message 6: by Chahrazad (new) - added it

Chahrazad | 49 comments I find most characters to be overly dramatic, men as well as women; it's just that men do it more elegantly :)I don't know whether it is a trait in all Russian literature to portray women as frail and hysterical but it is the case with Dostoyevsky most invariably.
I found Ivan's analysis of Katerina Ivanovna's character to be really accurate as he says:

"believe me, Katerina Ivanovna, you really love him. And the more he insults you, the more you love him — that’s your ‘laceration.’ You love him just as he is;
you love him for insulting you. If he reformed,you’d give him up at once and cease to love him. But you need him so as to contemplate continually your heroic fidelity and to reproach him for infidelity. And it all comes from your pride."

Ivan is the most intriguing for me at this point, since Alyosha is more or less a Christ figure and Mitya is a scoundrel.


message 7: by Phil (last edited Dec 18, 2012 03:24AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Phil (Lanark) Kylie wrote: "Another random thought, could his father have also been named Fyodor and so the Fyodor in the book is based off of his father?"

Unfortunately not. Dostoevsky's full name is Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, so therefore his father must have been called Mikhail (the middle name is a patronym, dereived from the name of their father, hence why the Brothers are all called X Fyodorovitch as their father's called Fyodor).

I have to say that this book isn't engaging me as much as I thought it might considering its huge reputation. I'm normally a big fan of Dostoevsky but this isn't holding my attention as much as, say, Crme and Punishment, The Idiot, or The Devils did. Too much philosophical chat and the action and dialogue are so hysterical, I'm always having to force myself not read it as a slapstick comedy.

The Brothers all seem one-dimensional, I agree with the posters above that the women are all either hysterics, invalids or whores. Overall, the only character so far who seems to actually have a character, rather than a "trait" is Fyodor himself - and I'm always pleased when he appears in a scene.

I'm currently tempted to put this aside for a week or so after I finish books 5 and 6, in order to read something more engaging through Christmas.

Can one of the people who raved about this book during the voting period pop in and tell me what I'm missing? Because this - although better than Anna Karenina - isn't so far living up to its hype. I'm dreading one of the Brothers murdering Fyodor - I really hope it doesn't happen because it would deprive me of the only interesting character in the book.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 722 comments I didn't rave about it, because I hadn't read it, but I really did want to read it so I don't mind. But I won't be picking up another Dostoevsky anytime soon. I have heard good things about Crime and Punishment though...then again, I heard good things about B.K.


message 9: by H (new)

H | 2 comments I'm surprised that people are struggling because I'm finding this strangely gripping! I think all the ambiguity is causing a strange kind of suspense - I still don't have any idea what the plot is supposed to be, how reliable the narrator is, etc. Possibly that ambiguity is largely in my own head (Alyosha is obviously supposed to be the 'good' character), but the author seems to argue for everyone with such conviction. I mean, I was fully prepared to believe that Grushenka would turn out to actually be nice, and I'm kind of disappointed that she didn't. And Fyodor is clearly horrible, but also strangely entertaining. Sometimes I can't even tell if it's supposed to be sincere or satire, which might be a problem with the translation, but it only adds to the confusion.


message 10: by Dolores, co-moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dolores (Dizzydee39) | 342 comments Mod
Alana wrote: "Kylie, that's a good point. Just looked at Wikipedia and looks like his father's name was Mikhail, so probably not, but there could be another person. It's a fairly common name. I just wonder if it..."

I agree with you about the way the women are portrayed so far in this book. I also wonder if it is the way that Russian men of that time think that their woman act or wish them to act or is it just the only way they know how to write them. Or could it possibly be really the way Russian women of that time did act? I haven't read that much Russian literature from that time period to make an informed decision, but it would be interesting to find out.


Sheila | 16 comments I don't mind the way the women characters are portrayed so far. At least they're not completely weak like some stereotypical characters. Both Grushenka and Katerina remind me of Scarlett O'Hara and that character was written by a woman, so I don't think it's a case of men writing women badly. The writers could just be showing the way the society of that time told women they should be. Some characters may try to slightly go against this, but I think it was much more common for women to act the way they were expected to act.


message 12: by Botic (last edited Oct 22, 2013 08:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Botic | 1 comments I've just read book four and so far I'm also finding the characters to be too dramatic. Especially the women.

Yesterday saw a russian movie called Stalker by Tarkovsky. In it the protagonist's wife is also acting overly dramatic.

I've read some comments and many claim that in russian culture there is this tendency of the extreme. Everything is taken to the hilt! That includes emotional expression.

Maybe Fyodor is trying to reflect that in the novel.


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