Crime And Punishment
This is the story of Raskolnikov, an impoverished and lonely university student. To improve his family’s living conditions and support himself, he robs and murders a selfish old woman. She is predatory and exploitative, amassing wealth and valuables as a loan shark. After the crime, he suffers excruciating remorse and inner torment. Raskolnikov becomes anxious and delirious. Finally, Sonia, a kindly and compassionate prostitute, inspires him to surrender to the authorities, and thus he experiences a tumultuous rebirth of the soul.
Author : Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky was a Russian realist writer born in 1821. He completed his first novel, Poor Folk, in 1845 and it received widespread acclaim. This early success paved the way for a brilliant literary career. His most renowned works include The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Insulted and the Injured, The Idiot, and The House of the Dead. Dostoevsky’s writings often focus on the inner dilemmas and suffering of underprivileged individuals from the lower strata of society. Dostoevsky uses in-depth psychological descriptions to create convincing character portraits.
Overview | Chapter 1
Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the novel Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoevsky, the work’s author, was a realist writer. Alongside Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev, he was one of the three towering figures of nineteenth-century Russian literature. Crime and Punishment is one of his most celebrated works and is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece.
The novel explores social psychology as well as telling the story of crime and detection. It takes place in Saint Petersburg around the middle of the nineteenth century. The narrative concerns Raskolnikov, a university law student. After committing a murder, he is wracked by inner torment. Finally, he experiences a spiritual rebirth, but not until he has been inspired to turn himself in by Sonia, a kindly Christian soul. In the book, Dostoevsky masterfully details the psychological changes that occur after the murderer commits their crime.
In 1864, Fyodor Dostoevsky, with his brother Mikhail founded the literary magazine Epokha. The magazine published Fyodor’s and other authors’ works. After the death in the same year of both Fyodor’s first wife, Maria, and Mikhail, Dostoevsky fell into financial difficulty, running up huge debts with his creditors. It forced him to stop publishing the magazine and commit to an unfair contract with another publisher for his work. However, this unfavorable agreement led to the completion of this novel, Crime and Punishment.
Many of Dostoevsky’s writings are introspective and discreet. His dissection of the human psyche is simultaneously comprehensive and profound, barbed and unforgiving, expansive and detailed. The Austrian writer Franz Kafka once said, “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” Dostoevsky’s works can be considered as such axes. If Tolstoy has shown us the breadth of Russian literature, then it can be said that Dostoevsky represents its depth.
Through his writings, Dostoevsky, having himself experienced life’s hardships, attempts to expose society’s darkness and criminality. He describes the living conditions and sufferings of the underprivileged and expresses his heartfelt sympathy for their plight. He articulates the need for social change. As the Russian poet Merezhkovsky once said, Dostoevsky is sometimes closer to us than our loved ones. In sickness, he is a fellow patient. In both good and evil deeds, he is an accomplice. Nothing brings people closer than common weakness.
The topics, crime and punishment are recurring motifs in literature. They represent humanity’s fall from grace and the subsequent path to redemption. This novel raises many precise questions, such as “What is crime?”, “Why do people commit crimes?” and “after committing a crime, is it possible to be redeemed?” In the draft of his book, Dostoevsky states that his goal in writing is to expose these dilemmas. Did he succeed, and was he able to address all these problems? Let’s find out together in this bookey.
We will introduce this story of crime and redemption in three parts:
In Part One, we will introduce the plot of the story and experience the characters’ journey of crime and redemption together;
In Part Two, we will briefly analyze psychological descriptions as a writing technique, and discuss how they are used in the book to shape the character of Raskolnikov;
Finally, in Part Three, we will explore the religious ideology and humanitarian spirit of the novel.