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Crime and Punishment
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky Collection > Crime and Punishment 'Book as a Whole'- Spoilers

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MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Thank You Lisa for being our discussion leader for this book! :)

message 2: by MK (last edited Jun 02, 2014 12:24PM) (new) - added it

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 3: by [deleted user] (last edited May 10, 2014 01:08PM) (new)

If you have already read the entire book and would like to comment, here is the place to do it. Spoilers definitely allowed and discuss/comment away! :-)

Please feel free to join the rest of us in the Part/Section spoiler threads though, especially if you are re-reading the novel!!

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

Rui | 2 comments I've read this some time ago so forgive me if my memory is not as fresh as I would like. I remember that what surprised me the most was the fact that the main character had not any remorse or guilt over the fact that he had killed someone, but his only thought was the concern thst he could be caught... That is what impressed me the most....

message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 03, 2014 03:12PM) (new)

Well, your memory seems to be very good, as the lack of remorse was very evident to me as well.

Without giving away too much, I would even go as far as saying Raskolnikov believes he is actually doing society a favor. He even likens himself to Napoleon at one point later in the story while giving an explanation for his actions.

message 6: by Rui (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rui | 2 comments Crime and punishment was the first book from dostoievsky that I have read, and it has become one of my favourite authors. I've read it in portuguese (my native language) in a direct translation from russian (an excellent one by the way). The biggest challenge for me at first was to identify one charecter to different ways his name could take (patronimio in portuguese): sonya and sonetchca (i am sure it is not correctly written but i do not remember the right way to do it).

message 7: by Renato (last edited Jun 04, 2014 01:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renato (renatomrocha) I love this book! Like Rui, it was my first Dostoyevsky, and I also read it in a Portuguese translation (although it was Brazilian Portuguese).

This book brought a lot of debate to my friends circle, as we loved talking about justice: what exactly is justice? Encarcerating someone makes them a better person, teaches them something at all? Isn't justice just a way to make society feel better about itself for failing someone in the first place?

And of course the other ideas that Raskolnikov brought up about Napoleon and the 'great' men who changed the world etc..

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Very eloquently put Matt and thank you for explaining some of the symbolism!!

There is that definite moment of repentance at the end of the book, which is a relief (to the reader) after all those chapters that RR professes he has no guilt about the crime. I guess the skeptic in me wonders if it is true remorse being experienced by RR or just a bunch of well formulated words to appease or even manipulate others. A bit reminiscent of my reaction to the final chapter of Lolita-- I guess we would only know the answer for certain if there was a sequel!!

However Matt, I do agree with your character analysis in retrospect, as it provides a good explanation as to why RR was often physiologically ill and seemed to be struggling with himself (and his beliefs).

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments I really enjoyed reading your comments and your review Matt. I also understand your point that the portrayal of women is really dismal but I think that may be because the book was written almost 150 years ago. I really liked the portrayal of guilt throughout the book but the final realization of repentance and remorse seemed somewhat forced. I do believe that some people can become as physically ill as Raskolnikov because of guilt.. However, it seems that R recognizes that he loves Sonya and that instantly leads to remorse for his crime. Perhaps I am reading this wrong and he has to feel remorse so that he can rejoin humanity enough to realize his love for Sonya.

What I enjoyed most in the book was the psychological cat and mouse game Porfiry Petrovich played with R in his interrogations. He was really a decent man in that he allowed R to turn himself in and confess. If he had arrested him Raskolnikov would have gotten a much longer sentence and possibly would have continued to feel superior to the human race and would not have felt remorse.

message 10: by Clinton (new)

Clinton (clinton_s) | 1 comments Hey, hi, I've been reading along with the group for a bit without actually contributing anything (sorry if you don't like that), but for anyone interested in a visual layout of Raskolnikov's St. Petersburg, I looked up a public Google Maps route and was happy to see that there is one. Obviously it's modern day, but distances between locations and important street names haven't changed much. It's fun to go onto street view and "walk" around and get a feel for the environment, albeit a century and a half advanced. You can right click on any of the marked locations and select "street view" to do that. Link is posted below.

Raskolnikov's St. Petersburg

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1791 comments Thanks Clinton! How cool!

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Whoa!! That is kind of creepy. Yikes!!

Paneret | 7 comments Eeeks, Matt! That ax picture gave me shivers right down and back up my spine. Since the actual murder scene is somewhat minimized in the overall book--and the themes focus more on the consequences--I had not pictured that very sharp blade. Maybe that ax should be on the cover?

So. I've finished the book, enjoyed it much more than anticipated, and now feel I'm part of the Classics Group. So glad I've finally read Crime and Punishment and can take it off my TBR stack where it languished for several years. I've scrolled through the comments as well and discovered that they add greatly to the experience. Thanks all!

Sonya Tuttle | 7 comments I finished the book early this morning, and I really liked some elements of it. The biggest obstacle to my reading was Raskolnikov himself. He annoyed me, and I just couldn't like him enough to be very concerned or impressed by him. He didn't seem like a believable character. I wonder if it was the translation I chose or the character himself. Did anyone else have a similar experience?

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 852 comments Sonya wrote: "I finished the book early this morning, and I really liked some elements of it. The biggest obstacle to my reading was Raskolnikov himself. He annoyed me, and I just couldn't like him enough to be ..."

He was a very annoying character. The only characters that I really liked were, in order, Porfiry Petrovich, Sonia and to a lesser extent Dounia.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

The character of Raskolnikov did not get much empathy from me due to his attitude of superiority. Porfiry and Sonia were my favorite characters, as they did have some good qualities and balanced R's erratic behavior.

Nancy Mills (nancyfaym) Lisa wrote: "The character of Raskolnikov did not get much empathy from me due to his attitude of superiority. Porfiry and Sonia were my favorite characters, as they did have some good qualities and balanced R'..."

I agree. Not only superior, but lazy and self-pitying. As mentioned before, it seems to not have occurred to R to GET A JOB. It seems that this was a common attitude in Europeans of that time period, if literature is a reliable guide, people of a certain class would rather slide into gentile poverty than get their hands dirty or degrade themselves by taking up a trade!
Porfiry was by far my favorite character and the parts of the book involving his investigation I most enjoyed.

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks everyone for your comments so far. Matt and Clinton, your links really added a sense of physical realism to the whole story. Creepy and interesting!! :-)

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I just finished the book, and liked it more than I thought I would. This was my first time reading anything by Dostoyevsky.

message 20: by Kelly B (last edited Jun 20, 2014 10:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I think I misspoke (mistyped?), because I agree with you. My view is that he feels guilty through the course of the entire book - even though he tries to lie to himself about it - but that he doesn't feel remorse until the epilogue. In other words, he knows that what he did is wrong, but he constantly tries to justify it internally until he truly repents at the end, when, sitting next to Sofia, he looks at the herdsmen and realizes that man is all connected, all the way back to Abraham. At that point, I believe that his remorse is sincere. Before that, he's like a child trying to explain why he broke the rules, all the while knowing that he shouldn't have.

I'll have to ponder this for a bit:-). My thoughts when I finished the book were that R felt no guilt or remorse, even at the end. I thought that R was willing to repent just for Sonia's sake and their newfound love. Suddenly he sees everything in a new way, thanks to his realization that he loves Sonia.

message 21: by Greg (last edited Jun 22, 2014 12:36AM) (new)

Greg | 29 comments Well I did finish reading Crime and Punishment for the group - I'm embarrassed to admit that this is a book I appreciate for the intellectual ideas but don't really enjoy reading. I've read it more than once. I think it's because one of the things that makes me really love a book is sympathizing with, engaging with, and/or loving one or more of the characters. Serious flaws are not a problem; they make characters more interesting. But I have trouble feeling anything much for Raskolnikov. I have a hard time even pitying him. Intellectually, I can appreciate various things about the writing and the ideas, but I just don't love reading the book.

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

@ Greg

Ditto for me!! :-) Raskolnikov is a difficult character to feel any empathy for, or even identify with in any manner. The writing is wonderful however.

Kelly B (kellybey) | 266 comments I agree too:-). Although ultimately I really liked this book, it was a hard read for me. It took me a long time to finish it, and there were a few days I just wasn't in the mood to read it.

Sonya Tuttle | 7 comments Greg, you said what I meant exactly.

message 25: by Greg (new)

Greg | 29 comments Sonya wrote: "Greg, you said what I meant exactly."

After I posted, I went back through the earlier comments and saw yours. I think our reactions were indeed similar! :) Very few books have protagonists that provoke that reaction in me - only this one and a couple books by Jean Genet and Andre Gide come to mind. I can still appreciate Crime and Punishment though; I'll just never love it.

message 26: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - added it

Katy (kathy_h) | 9189 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

Reading schedule:

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 27: by David (new)

David Brayshaw | 2 comments Rudion Raskolnikov was a poor man who committed terrible crimes. How suspicion was cast on him by the police may have been a common occurrence. Without it, what was there to go by, besides witnesses to the acts, in those days? There were no lie detector tests. Police work had enormous limitations. It's likely countless innocent people suffered due to the absence of forensic evidence, a void that ended only recently, for it hasn't really been that long ago when DNA was discovered.

Cynda | 2499 comments RR re-affirms my belief in humanity. After committing murder, his body, mind, and spirit shutdown (aka emotional breakdown) to heal enough to face the truth of his actions. RR shows his innate bravery when he admits the truth to those closest to him--except his mother. That others keep the news away from his mother tells something about the relationships he is capable of having. What a good--hearted man who made a horrible mistake.

my review

message 29: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments HI, I'm new here so I hope it's okay I chime in :-) I read this way back in college and re-read it again when I came across it cleaning out the back of the closet! I thought (given the span of years between reads) my viewpoint would have shifted but it did not. I still found it difficult, near impossible, to have more than minimal empathy for Raskolnikov. I was left questioning the sincerity of his sudden regret and repentance at the end after all his inner justification. I did, however, enjoy the writing even more this second time around. Thank you for letting me share my opinion!

Terry | 1357 comments Denise, I could not agree more.

message 31: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments Terry wrote: "Denise, I could not agree more."

I've always wondered, Terry, if it was Dostoyevsky's intent he not be an empathetic character. Or was he meant to be a "composite " character symbolic of the frailties and failings of men?

Terry | 1357 comments Oh, I don’t know... I think RR is sort of your everyday, run of the mill narcissistic, sociopathic axe murderer.

message 33: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments deleted user wrote: "@ Greg

Ditto for me!! :-) Raskolnikov is a difficult character to feel any empathy for, or even identify with in any manner. The writing is wonderful however."

I agree! Were it not for the writing it would have been impossible for me to get through the book. That level of writing, in and of itself, absolutely astounds me!

Terry | 1357 comments Okay, yes, I will agree that the writing was good. I said that before. In the end, though, it was not enough for me. I was hoping the author would do something with this guy to turn him around and understand the horror of what he had done.. RR wasn’t even repentant at his trial. It didn’t happen, or at least, it didn’t happen for me in a convincing way. The writing was good enough that I will think about this book for a long time. Yet, still, not in a good way.

message 35: by Cynda (last edited May 17, 2019 07:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cynda | 2499 comments There seems to be some masterful master writing here.

While RR does not repent with his words, he does seem to repent with his actions. Like many other humans who have done the unmentionable, RR takes to his bed, has some sort of breakdown. The reason RR not given harsher treatment? Because he seems a bit off mentally. Yep. I would say so. The breakdown was bated/abating but not abated. It cannot be until he has paid enough as his insides/his best self dictates. Perhaps like many others, RR the police to start that final phase of cleansing. (I keep remembering that Dostoyevsky was figuring out all the stories the murderers told him while he was imprisoned with them.)

I have this sneaky suspicion that all the talk that Dostoyvesky puts into RR's mouth about who gets to murder is really a socio-political statement made by Dostoyevsky. RR spouts out, refers to, others refer to the theory all too too often for there not be something Dostoyevsky to be trying to communicate. My guess: No one has the right to murder, not even Napolean.

PinkieBrown Its a while since I read it but the author, I think, can assume that any reader brings their own moral compass with them (the same moral compass he attacks directly in The Brothers Karamazov) and he sets up an argument between what the reader brings naturally and this character (a dialectic I think it’s called); then spends the rest of the book pushing and pulling against it. If you end up feeling entirely unsympathetic to the character I think that’s entirely proper.

My abiding memory is that almost as soon as the murder is committed his base motive, the need for money, disappears; he buries the ill gotten gains and people start offering him money to help him. The irony was very funny; I think Dostoevsky had a very sharp sense of humour. 😀

Cynda | 2499 comments Good point Pinkie. Thanks.

message 38: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments PinkieBrown wrote: "Its a while since I read it but the author, I think, can assume that any reader brings their own moral compass with them (the same moral compass he attacks directly in The Brothers Karamazov) and h..."

Yes. There is a definite moral push and pull throughout the book. I always intended to read The Brothers Karamazov but never managed to get around to it. Maybe this is a good time! :-) Thanks, Pinkie!

PinkieBrown Welcome. I’m trying to remember the source of a comment I read that Crime in the title properly translates as Moral Transgression, which I thought was a more profound way of looking at it; the introduction to my copy talks of how he has separated himself from society by committing the crime and it becomes a psychological thriller (the first one?) because of how this self-exile then affects him. Whether he gets caught or not; the form of his punishment and how he tortures himself; I thought he felt a sense of relief at being arrested, in the end. I’d be interested to hear how anyone else felt about that.

Cynda | 2499 comments Pinkie that is exactly what Inhave been trying to say, but saying it nowhere near as well :-)

PinkieBrown This is a book where I have not had clear feelings about it since I read it and I had real problems writing a review so this discussion is helping me find some more coherent thoughts about it as well; especially having just finished TB Karamazov where he delves a lot deeper into the idea of the source of morality.

I’ve read a lot of crime novels and seen a lot of noir movies and they all have a background noise of morality or its absence (something like John D Macdonald’s “The Executioners” aka Cape Fear is buzzing with it) and I think they are all informed by Crime and Punishment.

The one book in succession to it is A Clockwork Orange and Burgess read C&P on the way to St Petersburg where he found the thugs to be dressed as spiffily as the ones he had left behind in England! The language of ACO is another nod to it and if we are talking about unsympathetic characters that would be my choice. ACO’s introduction talks about moral determinism as its major theme and in the middle of this nightmare story there’s a memorable speech by the prison chaplain;
“It may not be nice to be good....It may be horrible to be good...What does God want?Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions”

I feel Dostoevsky would at least approve of the attempt to ask the question.

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Katy (kathy_h) | 9189 comments Mod
Finished? What are your thoughts for the book?

message 43: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments Katy wrote: "Finished? What are your thoughts for the book?"

Hi, Katy, Congratulations on finishing it! :-) How did you like it? When I fist read it, many years ago (college) I wasn't sure what to make of it (lol!). However, all these years later re-reading it I think it is a cleverly disguised moral compass designed to challenge the reader from within (hence the emotional push and pull).

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Katy (kathy_h) | 9189 comments Mod
Sorry, I was asking who had finished the book. Not me, unfortunately.

message 45: by Cynda (last edited Jun 30, 2019 04:37PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cynda | 2499 comments Hi Katy. Good to see you. I finished sometime ago. I am with Denise about the moral compass. Although RR in someways acts as though he is not remorseful, his inner moral compass leaves him mostly depressed and obsessed about his murderous actions. Literary Ambiguity.

Beyond the ambiguity was this moral gray scale I could not get away from. Gray is not a very entertaining tone/color to a colorist (me), but can be revealing.

message 46: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments Katy wrote: "Sorry, I was asking who had finished the book. Not me, unfortunately."

Hi, Katy, It can be difficult to get through but worth the effort. I'd e interested to know what you thought of it should you decide to finish reading.

J_BlueFlower (j_from_denmark) | 1427 comments Visiting Saint Petersburg last week:

Building where Dostoyevsky lived while writing Crime and Punishment:

Raskolnikov’s apartment:

The back yard of the pawn-broker:

message 48: by Denise (new)

Denise  Shaw | 15 comments J_BlueFlower wrote: "Visiting Saint Petersburg last week:

Building where Dostoyevsky lived while writing Crime and Punishment:

Raskolnikov’s apartment:

The back yard of the pawn-broker:


Interesting pictures! Thanks for sharing them!!

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