The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Book 11, Chapter 2 Summary
An Ailing Little Foot
- When Alyosha arrives at Madame Khokhlakov's at Lise's urgent request, Madame Khokhlakov is a nervous wreck. She's been immobilized by swollen foot for the past three weeks, but that hasn't stopped her from getting all dressed up.
- Madame Khokhlakov's latest tizzy is over an anonymous article that's appeared in a newspaper called Rumors, which sounds a bit like a 19th-century version of PeopleUS Weekly.
- Someone has written horrible things about events in their town – which the narrator finally names as Skotoprigonyevsk. (Try saying that 5 times fast.) This anonymous author has claimed that Dmitri has flirted with a certain unnamed society lady – i.e., Madame Khokhlakov – who has gone so far as to offer him 3,000 roubles two hours before the murder to run away with her. He spurned her, however, and it is implied that he preferred to kill his father rather than spend his life in Siberia with this unnamed society lady.
- Madame Khokhlakov is convinced that it's about her, and that it's by Rakitin. Rakitin is jealous because she rejected him and is pursuing a flirtation with Perkhotin, the young official to whom Dmitri pawned his pistols. Rakitin had written a silly little poem about her foot, and she and Perkhotin had laughed over it.
- Madame Khokhlakov also informs Alyosha, to his surprise, that Ivan has visited Lise. After Ivan's visit, Lise has been terribly upset.
- Their conversation is interrupted when Perkhotin enters, and Alyosha leaves for Lise's room.
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