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Fyodor Dostoyevsky Collection > Crime and Punishment Section 1 - Spoilers

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message 1: by Cindy (last edited May 04, 2014 07:56AM) (new)

Cindy Brown (beautygoodbook) This is a no spoilers discussion. Happy reading Thank You Lisa for being our discussion leader for this book.


message 2: by Gina's (new)

Gina's (ginasgoodreads) | 27 comments I wanted to read this book for a while, hopefully this time I'll do so :)


message 3: by MK (last edited Jun 02, 2014 12:23PM) (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment was chosen from monthly nominations as our June 2014 Old School Classic Group Read. I hope you will join the conversation! Please take care to limit SPOILERS to appropriate threads, so so as to not to give away any plot points prematurely! :)

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message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited May 10, 2014 02:12PM) (new)

Section 1: Chapters 1-7 and Spoilers definitely allowed! :-)

If you are reading a translation other than the Penguin Classics (Mcduff) or Signet Classics (Monas), the chapters may not exactly match as I have not checked all versions.

Setting the Scene:

Who: Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov
What: A plan for a secretive and wicked deed.
When: 1860’s
Where: St. Petersburg, Russia
Why: Your guess is as good as mine. Power, Money, Madness, Depression, Anger, Hate. What do you think??

Historical Context:

http://www.college.columbia.edu/core/...

Part 1 Quotable:

Then [Raskolnikov] dealt her [Aloyna] another and another blow with the blunt side and on the same spot. The blood gushed as from an overturned glass, the body fell back.

Questions to ponder:

1. Why is Raskolnikov so suspicious of his sister Dounia's upcoming marriage, just based on a letter? Please consider the possible motives of both Dounia and Luzhin to marry each other.

2. Is there any significance in the comparison of Aloyna's body to an "overturned glass" during the murder?

3. Is this a dream or did Raskolnikov really carry out the plan?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments I just completed Prt I yesterday. I don't understand RRs motivation for killing the pawn-broker. He certainly didn't get any money to make it all worthwhile even if he could get away with it.

With regard to Dounia's betrothal: I'm afraid that RRs reaction to his mother's letter inspired me to have a less than favorable view of Pyotr P. Why didn't he pay the fare for for his betrothed and her mother to travel to St Petersburg? I'm also suspicious that a successful eligible man bypasses young women with a marriage portion or some sort of dowry, to marry a woman who is a stranger and uwho has nothing to contribute to the marriage financially speaking. There is something disagreeable about this man. Proper form would have been for Pyotr P. To speak with Dounia's brother at some point before the betrothal is considered final. This implies a lack of respect for Dounia since she is dower less and is not of any social standing.

However, up until RR rec'd his mother's letter, I don't think that RR was in the state of mind to represent himself and his sister well to someone who wants to make a respectable offer for his sisters hand. In addition, he doesn't have any clean clothes. I think if a suitor saw RR, he might think twice about the marriage.

RR doesn't seem to be much better than that drunk whose name begins with an M., by taking money from his financially poor mother and sister and not finding some sort of work since he is not enrolled in school. The way he wanders around and sleeps in his clothes made me think that he is disturbed even before he began to make plans to kill Alyona.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments Oh dear! Was it all a dream, or did RR commit murder? I did not think about this as I read. It's entirely possible when I consider his state of mind--disturbed.


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited May 27, 2014 08:07AM) (new)

Andrea (Catsos Person) wrote: "I just completed Prt I yesterday. I don't understand RRs motivation for killing the pawn-broker. He certainly didn't get any money to make it all worthwhile even if he could get away with it...."


I was wondering the same thing myself when I read that section. RR certainly does not make a productive thief! Then I thought maybe he just dreams the whole event.
Having said that, surely things will be revealed later on with much more clarity. Personally, I think it is a peel back the layers type of book--


message 8: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments At this point I think he did kill the two sisters. He may have been dreaming if he just killed Alyona but I don't know why he would dream about killing Lizaveta. He only did that in a panic. However I agree with Andrea that his state of mind is disturbed and has been since the start of the novel.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments Now I'm into ch 3 of part 3.

Now RR has been putting my back up. He knows that his mother is in very, very dire and poverty-stricken circumstances. She keeps borrowing money against a very tiny and inadequate pension to send him money. He just squanders it on glasses of vodka and giving his mother's money away to strangers as if he's rich. He makes no attempt to pay any of the back rent that he owes or to get himself employment. As poor as he is, he seems to think think (at least from his behavior) that he is a member of the leisured classes! Squandering his poverty-stricken mother's money secured with her miserable pension as collateral in this way for some reason angers me more than the two senseless murders!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @ Dounia's Fiancé

I think Dounia and her mother are mistaken if this fellow will help their family. And now RR has ruined Dounia's chances almost! Where else is a poor dowerless girl going to find a descent suitor? I don't like the suitor though Pyotr P Luzhin.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

RR's treatment of his mother and sister rubbed me the wrong way too. He doesn't even use the money for rent or food--


message 12: by Caity (last edited Jun 13, 2014 06:56AM) (new)

Caity (caityf) Ok, so I just finished part 1 last night and I have enjoyed this very much. The writing is great and all that, and yes, the response that he had to the letter was odd. Seems that he's dropped out of school because of debt, but I do not know why he is not looking for another job. He is wearing tattered rags, though they make a good point in showing the class situation, so it's a wonder if at that time period, were educated people expected to finish school and move forward rather than taking odd jobs? Though, I wouldn't see why that would be. I'm wondering if there's a societal issue that I don't understand regarding his not having a job. It is implied in the beginning that he is continuing some study but he seems to abandon that after the first few pages.

I have a lot of things I want some feedback on so I'd like to break it into a few topics. First, the letter from his mother:

I don't understand fully why he's mad - I think that he thinks the man will be abusive emotionally towards his sister. He was mad because of how he seems to have made it clear that he wants a wifey who will look up to him because she came from poverty. Okay, so he's a narcissist. But he should be happy that his sister is going to be elevated to a place of comfort. Instead, he compares her to the prostitution that the man in the bar had allowed his daughter to commit.

Do you think that he's angry on some level because he is the one that should be taking care of her, or is his pride damaged that his mother and sister expect this man to give him a "handout" by securing him a job? But most people would find this a hopeful thing as well. If he has such pride, it makes me wonder again about the fact that he spends his mother's money, is often ill from hunger, and yet does not seek a job.

Also, I've been lost here and there about the amount of time going by. The letter said that the mother and daughter were on their way to see him. By time he received the letter, it would have only been a day or so away, or am I mistaken? Why has he not sought them out yet? Why haven't we heard more about them? Obviously it's an important thing if the letter was so long.

He seems to be a different person than the one in the letter. The mother writes to her son as though she and her daughter think the world of him, when to us, he appears to be a bum. Yet, he's angry that the man didn't pay their fare and only paid for their luggage, which he probably was able to move for free since he was connected. So he seems to be angry not at the marriage but rather that they are being mistreated. He seemed to have read between the lines a LOT: thinking that his mother would graciously turn down the offer to live with them, but really he believes that she won't be welcome.

Also, do you think that if his sister were in love, he would have reacted very differently?


message 13: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Ok, next of course- to discuss the "Event" that is being plotted from the beginning.

When RR commits the murders, he is rationalizing by saying that he's doing a good deed. The old woman doesn't deserve her wealth, and he feels that there is divine assistance in this murder (the finding of the second ax, the conversations he overheard, etc.).

Some of you say that he didn't get anything from it, but he did fill his pockets with trinkets and watches and stuff from the chest and there was a coin purse filled with coins around her neck that he took with him, so while he hasn't stopped yet to see how much of value he has stolen, I do not believe it is a dream, and I do think that he probably came back with enough money to make it "worth it", considering he was always starving and never making rent. He probably didn't take enough to share the riches with the world in a positive way as he'd implied planning on doing.

2. Is there any significance in the comparison of Aloyna's body to an "overturned glass" during the murder?

Interesting - I hadn't noticed that but I think that the overturned glass might be connected to how he judged other criminals. Recall how he says that people who leave stupid traces of their crime are ones who do not think it through beforehand, yet he finds himself in the same spot? Also, it could be that the overturned glass represents himself. Could it be that he is similar to this woman in some way and the murder has made him see who he really is?

3. Is this a dream or did Raskolnikov really carry out the plan?

I think it was real, but he did seem to unravel a bit afterwards. He was paranoid as one would expect one to be after a double murder, but he also seems to go into slight madness.


message 14: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Last thing for me to bring up: Sorry if I'm going through this too thoroughly! Never been in a book club thing and I like having someone to talk to about what I read!

This is a book about existentialism. I want to open a discussion about that. What do you think about that?

Wiki: "In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world."

There are many points in which RR points out absurdities in the world or where he shows his struggle with moral issues.

How do you feel the murder played a part in the writer's attempt to make a statement about existentialism? Do you feel that RR committed the murders because he felt it was of a higher good, which then validates his existence?


message 15: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments Caity wrote: "Ok, next of course- to discuss the "Event" that is being plotted from the beginning.

When RR commits the murders, he is rationalizing by saying that he's doing a good deed. The old woman doesn't ..."


I like your thoughts regarding the comparison of Aloyna's body to an overturned glass.


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 13, 2014 04:40PM) (new)

@ Caity:

I am not well versed in the philosophy of existentialism, and it has been a while since I have taken a literature class. However, I did find an interesting and thorough article discussing various philosophies represented in Crime and Punishment:
http://www.centerstage.org/crimeandpu...

An excerpt from this webpage:

According to Kierkgaard (often regarded as The Father of Existentialism):
"Religion required a leap of faith, an idea with some circularity-- Dostoevsky came to the same conclusion."
"One's complete freedom to do anything good or bad, triggers a dizziness of freedom, experienced as anxiety. This dread can either lead to sin or salvation."


message 17: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments 1. Why is Raskolnikov so suspicious of his sister Dounia's upcoming marriage, just based on a letter? Please consider the possible motives of both Dounia and Luzhin to marry each other.

I think Raska was so suspicious due to the off-the-cuff comments his mother made in the letter, such as when she claimed she'd refuse Luzhin when he asked her to live with them.
I'm sure Dounia felt she had no choice but to marry Luzhin. No money, no prospects, and a mother who clearly favors the brother. Plus it was probably becoming apparent that Raska wouldn't be much (if any) help in the future.

2. Is there any significance in the comparison of Aloyna's body to an "overturned glass" during the murder?

My translation doesn't include that quote. I'd guess though that it means Aloyna's life blood is draining out of her just like liquid from an overturned glass.

3. Is this a dream or did Raskolnikov really carry out the plan?

I think he really carried it out.


message 18: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Do you think that he's angry on some level because he is the one that should be taking care of her, or is his pride damaged that his mother and sister expect this man to give him a "handout" by securing him a job? But most people would find this a hopeful thing as well. If he has such pride, it makes me wonder again about the fact that he spends his mother's money, is often ill from hunger, and yet does not seek a job.

That's a good point. I do think Raska felt some anger/jealousy that a perfect stranger could come and help raise the family out of poverty. I felt that the mother worded the letter in a way to make Raska feel really guilty, and I bet he felt helpless that he had no part in deciding if Dounia should marry the guy. Raska's mother and sister have essentially made a move to decide their (or at least Dounia's) futures, and Raska plays no part in it. It's like they're telling Raska they've given up on him and his future prospects.


message 19: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Also, do you think that if his sister were in love, he would have reacted very differently?

I'm not sure. That's an interesting question. I think he may have still felt unsettled, and probably found some reason to dislike the future husband.


message 20: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments How do you feel the murder played a part in the writer's attempt to make a statement about existentialism? Do you feel that RR committed the murders because he felt it was of a higher good, which then validates his existence?

I think the main reason Raska committed the murders was for greed: he hoped what ever money, gold, watches, etc. he could steal would help him out of debt, and prevent his sister from marrying for financial reasons.

He used the fact that the old woman was a horrible person as justification for her murder. Same with the "signs" he kept convincing himself he noticed: justification. He needed some little push to convince him that committing murder would be something he could do, and something he maybe even *should* do (in his disturbed mind).


message 21: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Lisa wrote: "@ Caity:

I am not well versed in the philosophy of existentialism, and it has been a while since I have taken a literature class. However, I did find an interesting and thorough article discussin..."


Ooh I'll have to check that out. I am familiar with other works but not with this one. I'm used to existentialism being associated or related to atheism, which is a common assumption but it really isn't an atheist philosophy. So that's why this book has been so interesting for me. Thank you for sharing!


message 22: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) I think Raska was so suspicious due to the off-the-cuff comments his mother made in the letter, such as when she claimed she'd refuse Luzhin when he asked her to live with them.
I'm sure Dounia felt she had no choice but to marry Luzhin. No money, no prospects, and a mother who clearly favors the brother. Plus it was probably becoming apparent that Raska wouldn't be much (if any) help in the future.


You really think that she favors the brother that much? She kept saying over and over how much she and his sister love him and miss him. I thought it was a tad overdone, but could it be that they consider him unstable? Maybe that's the talk of a woman who is saying, "of course there's nothing wrong with you - we love you so much!" but really she's worried that he'll never take care of himself and she'll have to worry about him forever. That just occurred to me... Or perhaps they both agreed that Dounia must marry for money because she has no choice, but at the same time, they had to sheild his pride because you know, they didn't consult him. Since there is no father alive, RR would have to be the one to grant permission of his sister's hand. They said there wasn't time or something like that, so maybe they knew he'd say no so they made that up. The whole thing is odd - I'm curious to see what happens with them later in the story.


message 23: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Kelly wrote: Raska's mother and sister have essentially made a move to decide their (or at least Dounia's) futures, and Raska plays no part in it. It's like they're telling Raska they've given up on him and his future prospects. "

I agree...


message 24: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Kelly wrote:
I think the main reason Raska committed the murders was for greed: he hoped what ever money, gold, watches, etc. he could steal would help him out of debt, and prevent his sister from marrying for financial reasons.

He used the fact that the old woman was a horrible person as justification for her murder. Same with the "signs" he kept convincing himself he noticed: justification. He needed some little push to convince him that committing murder would be something he could do, and something he maybe even *should* do (in his disturbed mind).


The thing is though, he doesn't really think about the results of the theft. He thinks about the planning and sorting out of it all, he thinks about the "signs" etc. but I can't recall any time that he is thinking about what he'll do with the money, the relief it will bring, and he doesn't even count the money. In fact, he falls asleep several times before he even thinks to hide it let alone count it. So far, he has yet to count the money, from where I am at in the book.

If he were doing it for purely greed - wouldn't he be thinking over and over about how great it will be to have money, etc.? He seems to be just plain mad now that it's over - the way that he's grown all paranoid and stuff. But then again, he didn't get any pleasure from the killing either.

Hmmmm....


message 25: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Lisa wrote: "RR's treatment of his mother and sister rubbed me the wrong way too. He doesn't even use the money for rent or food--"

No, but there seems to be something weird about the whole thing surrounding his finances because he gives away some money to the family of the man in the bar, and then later feels awful about giving away the money that he desperately needs for himself. It's like, he was trying to help, but then he also doesn't seem to think anything about spending what has been sent to him for help.


message 26: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments Caity wrote: "Lisa wrote: "RR's treatment of his mother and sister rubbed me the wrong way too. He doesn't even use the money for rent or food--"

No, but there seems to be something weird about the whole thing ..."


I think that the money he gives to others is a way to balance his personality by showing that he does think of other peoples needs and not just himself. He was mad at "the old lady" because he felt she was a greedy money lender(pawnbroker). He seems to want a more even distribution of wealth in his country.


message 27: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments You really think that she favors the brother that much? She kept saying over and over how much she and his sister love him and miss him. I thought it was a tad overdone, but could it be that they consider him unstable? Maybe that's the talk of a woman who is saying, "of course there's nothing wrong with you - we love you so much!" but really she's worried that he'll never take care of himself and she'll have to worry about him forever. That just occurred to me... Or perhaps they both agreed that Dounia must marry for money because she has no choice, but at the same time, they had to sheild his pride because you know, they didn't consult him. Since there is no father alive, RR would have to be the one to grant permission of his sister's hand. They said there wasn't time or something like that, so maybe they knew he'd say no so they made that up. The whole thing is odd - I'm curious to see what happens with them later in the story.

To me, it came off as she favored the brother more than Dounia, but the way she wrote the letter makes it hard to tell. The mother could be reassuring a disturbed Raska that they still believe in him despite all the evidence that he's, well, a loser:-). I'm so interested to see how the mother and sister react to him if/when they meet up with him in Petersburg. Will they treat him like the "perfect" son who can do no wrong, or like the disturbed individual the reader sees?


message 28: by Kelly B (last edited Jun 14, 2014 06:35AM) (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments The thing is though, he doesn't really think about the results of the theft. He thinks about the planning and sorting out of it all, he thinks about the "signs" etc. but I can't recall any time that he is thinking about what he'll do with the money, the relief it will bring, and he doesn't even count the money. In fact, he falls asleep several times before he even thinks to hide it let alone count it. So far, he has yet to count the money, from where I am at in the book.

If he were doing it for purely greed - wouldn't he be thinking over and over about how great it will be to have money, etc.? He seems to be just plain mad now that it's over - the way that he's grown all paranoid and stuff. But then again, he didn't get any pleasure from the killing either.

Hmmmm....


I think he's so panicked and paranoid right now that the money he stole (and even his money problems) have become secondary to the fear of being caught.

He's a hard character to figure out. I suspect the further we get in the book, the more about his personality and motives will be revealed.


message 29: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Another thing that struck me is that he doesn't think much about the women he killed or the actual murders. It's all about his fear of getting caught. No guilt for what he did (so far).


message 30: by Lesley (last edited Jun 14, 2014 02:52PM) (new)

Lesley | 46 comments I have just finished Part 1, and really enjoying this discussion.

I think that Raska believes he is 'above' (morally at least) most of the characters he comes across, so gives handouts, disagrees with his sister's choice, and commits the murders. He probably is suffering depression too, so doesn't do anything to improve his conditions. I am wondering if there are no jobs at the time, although I don't think he would do just anything to get by.


message 31: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I wonder if he thinks himself too good to work at the types of jobs he'd be likely to get. He mentions teaching lessons for a bit, but seems to think the low pay isn't worth it.

It's interesting how he refers to and thinks of himself as a student, when apparently he hasn't been in school for a bit.


message 32: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) I can't seem to quote with my ipad so I will do that later.

As I enter the next section things become even more confusing but obviously that is for the other thread so I won't say anything else about it.

But I wanted to know what you all thought about the drunk girl incident?

He was so protective of her, following her and demanding that the policeman stop the creepy man from coming near her for fear of the man raping her, and he has assumed that she might have already been raped or forced to be drunk and taken advantage of, and then he even gives the policeman money for the cab fare. But what was the point of that whole thing? Why do you think he changed his tune so abruptly? I had forgotten about it and now I am wondering what that was about and why did he suddenly tell the policeman to drop the matter? I had thought that it showed his morals and probably was a reflection of his protectiveness of his sister, but then he suddenly tells the policeman to let the well dressed man do as he pleases. Was this a foreshadowing of his madness? Or an indication early on that he has an imbalance? Clearly there's something disturbed about him and maybe we are supposed to understand that about him so that we can understand why he is poor and jobless.

Do you think that the girl's flippant response to be left alone had anything to do with his sudden callousness?


message 33: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Oh and one more thing I was curious to disuss - what do you think about the dream about him and his father and the horse? Anyone?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments That dream was really upsetting to me. I can read all manner of abuse to humans but abuse to animals really upsets me. I couldn't come up with any point to that dream. There may be an interpretation for that dream, but I'll have to have it pointed out to me.


message 35: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) I completely agree - I had a hard time reading that part too. Animal stuff always gets to me much more than human suffering.


message 36: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 46 comments I also can't handle animal cruelty and had to skip that bit. I was hoping it was not necessary to the storyline.


message 37: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments Andrea (Catsos Person) wrote: "That dream was really upsetting to me. I can read all manner of abuse to humans but abuse to animals really upsets me. I couldn't come up with any point to that dream. There may be an interpretatio..."

That part was upsetting to me too. It was horrible.

I wondered if it was really a dream, or a memory of when he was a young child.


message 38: by Kelly B (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments But I wanted to know what you all thought about the drunk girl incident?

It was so strange how R wanted to protect her, then changed his mind and yelled to the police officer to let her be. R seemed to think that the police officer would allow the other man to bribe him for access to the girl.

R's first reponse towards the girl was compassion. It seemed like after observing her for a bit he then changed his mind and felt she was destined for what had happened and would happen to her. Same with R assuming the police officer would take a bribe from the other man. R has such a skewered view of the world: he's very suspicious and assumes the worst of people.

I think R's reaction to the girl fits in well with the existentialism theme of the book (or existentialism as I am interpreting it;-). Lisa's quote above from Kierkgaard: "One's complete freedom to do anything good or bad, triggers a dizziness of freedom, experienced as anxiety. This dread can either lead to sin or salvation." R's first inpulse is to interfere and help the girl; then he decides "complete freedom" gives the girl the right to do what she wants even though she's drunk and not herself. R feels dread regarding the girl, and his change of mind later towards her shows he's "leading to sin" rather than salvation.


message 39: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Kelly wrote: "It's interesting how he refers to and thinks of himself as a student, when apparently he hasn't been in school for a bit."

Yes, but it also seems that there are many others in shoes, based on the off comments here and there. I should have read the link with more information on the time period - I don't know what the economy was like but it sounds pretty bad.


message 40: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Kelly wrote: "I wondered if it was really a dream, or a memory of when he was a young child."

That thought occurred to me as well when reading it. Although, I'm honestly not sure. I don't feel that there was enough evidence that it was a memory, but it really wouldn't surprise me. Especially as I get further into the book.


message 41: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Kelly wrote: "Another thing that struck me is that he doesn't think much about the women he killed or the actual murders. It's all about his fear of getting caught. No guilt for what he did (so far)."

No, but he had rationalized to himself about it. And then he was so consumed with being clever and not getting caught, I don't think he had time to really sit and think about them as people.

Also, he seems to have a contempt towards humanity that comes and goes. I think that maybe Dostoevsky just wanted to remain on the path of R's life and his madness or whatever. If he'd gone into a place of dwelling on the crime (I'm reminded of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, haha) then I think that would have been an unnecessary amount of information that would have detracted from the messages of the book.

Not to mention, so far there hasn't been anything consistent about his personality or behavior so I think that it would have been really odd to suddenly make him be predictable there.


message 42: by Caity (new)

Caity (caityf) Kelly wrote: "I think R's reaction to the girl fits in well with the existentialism theme of the book...R feels dread regarding the girl, and his change of mind later towards her shows he's "leading to sin" rather than salvation."

Great point! I thought that it went hand in hand with the existentialism too but didn't want to keep pounding on that door if no one else finds the topic to be interesting (the topic being philosophy).

This is also from wikipedia's existentialism page: "A central proposition of Existentialism is that existence precedes essence... the most important consideration ... is that they are individuals—independently acting and responsible... rather than what labels, roles, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived categories the individuals fit ("essence"). The actual life of the individuals is what ... could be called their "true essence" instead of there being an arbitrarily attributed essence others use to define them."

I think that if we keep this existential philosophy in the back of our minds, his erratic behavior will make more sense. True, he's totally crazy, but at the same time, it all makes much more sense when you consider the writer, as is true with all books IMHO.


message 43: by Kelly B (last edited Jun 17, 2014 01:00PM) (new)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I think that if we keep this existential philosophy in the back of our minds, his erratic behavior will make more sense. True, he's totally crazy, but at the same time, it all makes much more sense when you consider the writer, as is true with all books IMHO.

I'm definitely seeing more of the existential theme the further I get in the book.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments @Kelly

Once existentialism was brought up here in relation to this book it helped me to understand what I was reading a little better!


message 45: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 194 comments I've only just got around to this book. I'm sure everyone's long finished, but I thought I'd check in so as not to allow myself to give up.

Have finished part one. It seems that R has some sort of personality disorder at the very least. I found the dream/memory of the horse highly disturbing. I wonder if this was perhaps a foreshadowing of the killings. In the dream the men who whipped the horse and the owner who ended his life so brutally seem to echo Alonya's treatment of her vulnerable sister. Shortly after the dream R's wrath towards the pawnbroker seems to rise to a new level. The irony is that not only does he avenge the horse: Alonya's sister in the story, but he succeeds in ending the sister's life; something that Alonya had failed to do; at least physically.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Hilary wrote: "I've only just got around to this book. I'm sure everyone's long finished, but I thought I'd check in so as not to allow myself to give up.

In the dream the men who whipped the horse and the owner who ended his life so brutally seem to echo Alonya's treatment of her vulnerable sister ..."


Glad you are persevering and joining the discussion. Your thoughts about the meaning of the horse dream are very interesting!! I never could figure out with any degree of certainty if the dream was a recollection of an actual childhood event, or if it was something invented by R's subconscious.


message 47: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 194 comments Thanks, Lisa, for getting back to me. It is certainly complex, but, so far, very interesting. I shall try to hang on in there, despite other books hollering for attention!


message 48: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9112 comments Mod
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is our 2019 2nd Quarter Long Read for the group. The group previously read the book in 2014.

This is one of seven Spoiler Threads


message 49: by Katy, New School Classics (new)

Katy (kathy_h) | 9112 comments Mod
We will use the original discussion threads for the book, which breaks down into two parts per month for a quarterly read.

Here is the reading schedule I plan to use for this discussion:

April 1 - 15: Part One

April 16 - 30: Part Two

May 1 - 15: Part Three

May 16- 31: Part Four

June 1 - 15: Part Five

June 16 - 30: Part Six & Epilogue

Book as a Whole

Film versions of the book.

Previous thread on translations


message 50: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) | 676 comments I just finished part 1. I hadn’t plan to read Crime and Punishment this year, but this group read came up and I couldn’t pass up a re-read of one of my favorites!

I love how we get to see Raskolnikov’s thoughts. One thing I noticed is how Dostoevsky sets the tone of Raskolnikov as an obsessive compulsive - i.e., him counting the exactly 730 steps, etc. I’ve never read a novel in which I’ve felt so personally invested in a character as in this story. Dostoevsky just pulls me in as a reader through his sharp, vivid writing and descriptions.


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