Saturday, October 01, 2005

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Reading this classic is like going down with fever!

Reading Crime and Punishment is quite like going down with fever, your mind is likewise affected for the while you are at it, and even when the fever is gone, you take some time to recover. Whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger, and so does this reading. Raskolnikov, the chief protoganist is a student who justifies to himself that a pawnbreaker must be killed, for betterment of world and himself; world as she cheats and leeches money from poor students and people like him, and himself as by taking her money he could use it for his own advancement. The first part of the novel describes this crime, while the latter part deals with punishment, most of which comes from within.

The novel is a forceful field of philosophy and religious undercurrents, that are primal forces that keep the reader in a state of feverish interest and persistant agony. Dostoyevsky's great success lies in creating this character, who in more ways than one, represents the nihilists in our inner selves. His character is a person that could reside in any one of us and his dark tale awes, bothers and compells the reader to delve into various moral and philisophical questions that form the subtext of this masterpiece.

Besides (the famous) Raskolnikov, there is a whole range of cast that completes Dostoyevsky's world of trauma and drama. The other main character of interest is Sonia, who must sell herself to keep her family well-fed. Raskolnikov encounters her, and their parallel sagas criss-cross many times. Right after committing the murder, Raskolnikov's mother and sister make an appearance, and without divulging much, I can say that with them the entry of several characters into the novel make it full of suspense and mystery as well. There are a bunch of detectives trying to discover the murderer of the pawnbroker and their efforts bring a sense of thrill into this otherwise dark and complex novel.

Like all classics, the story is just one aspect of the novel. Dostoyevsky is remembered more because of the narrative that forces ethical, existential, social and religious questions into the head and heart of the reader. This novel is a classic read for it pushes the reader over the edge of self-abnegation into a wild current of poignant self-appraisal. It is brilliant in its bringing a character like Raskolnikov into literary circles, and composing a story that will ail before it can cure.

Not an easy it. Not happy either. Classic and must read, nevertheless!


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Just a warning - that last post appears to be spam. Another warning: Dostoyevsky can tie in you knots. The Gambler is one of my favourites...

Anonymous said...


Not an easy it. Not happy either. Classic and must read, nevertheless!--:) as always i feel like i have read the book myself... but i have made a mental note and on paper as well :)