The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
"In the end, he sees nothing in life apart from sensual pleasure, and thus he teaches his children. Of the spiritual sort of fatherly duties – none at all. [...] Let us recall, however, that he is a father, and one of our modern-day fathers." (12.6.4)
The prosecutor Kirillovich suggests that Fyodor was such an appalling father that he brought on his own murder. But it seems here that he is also sounding an alarm to society at large when he suggests that Fyodor's horrible fathering is a modern epidemic.
"We [Russians] are of a broad Karamazovian nature – and this is what I'm driving at – capable of containing all possible opposites and of contemplating both abysses at once, the abyss above us, an abyss of lofty ideals, and the abyss beneath us, an abyss of the lowest and foulest degradation." (12.6.5)
The prosecutor seems to state the whole premise of the novel here – that the Karamazovs represent all Russians. This is odd because he clearly seems to believe Dmitri is guilty. Perhaps by having an antagonist voice the novel's premise, Dostoevsky is highlighting how irrefutably superior and total his own novelistic vision is?
"Love for a father that is not justified by the father is an absurdity, an impossibility. [...] I speak not only to fathers here, but to all fathers I cry out: 'Fathers, provoke not your children!' [...] Otherwise we are not fathers but enemies of our children, and they are not our children but our enemies, and we ourselves made them our enemies!" (12.13.1)
By generalizing the Karamazov conflict to the larger society, Fetyukovich seems to be suggesting that social conflicts begin in the home, with really awful parents (specifically fathers) who are unable to give their children the moral guidance that would shape them into mature and reasonable adults.