The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Isolation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
"[...] every once in a while, if only individually, a man must suddenly set an example, and draw the soul from its isolation an act of brotherly communion." (6.2.d)
Mikhail, Zosima's "mysterious visitor," here celebrates brotherly love as a force that can unite and heal a fractured society. This suggests that Alyosha's care for his brothers may have a significance beyond fraternal devotion.
"Which of the two is capable of serving a great idea – the isolated rich man or one who is liberated from the tyranny of things and habits? The monk is reproached for his isolation. [...] We shall see, however, who is more zealous in loving his brothers." (6.3.e)
Zosima points out the irony that those who are living it up in the world are in fact the most isolated because they are driven by selfish needs. Monks, who are isolated from the world, are more in tune with the rest of humanity because they are not driven by selfish needs and can devote themselves wholly to the love of mankind.
"'What is hell?' [...] 'The suffering of being no longer able to love.'" (6.3.i)
Zosima views Russian Orthodoxy as based on universal love. Hell would mean isolation from this universal love, which would cause immense despair. In the novel, characters do seem to suffer the most when they feel the most unloved – think, for example, of all those twisted love triangles.