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.
"Woe to those who have destroyed themselves on earth, woe to the suicides! I think there can be no one unhappier than they." (6.3.i)
The consequence of isolation from the profound bonds of love that Zosima believes unite all mankind is suicide. Smerdyakov's suicide testifies to this condition (see Quote #11 below).
"But what comes of this right to increase one's needs. For the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; for the poor, envy and murder, for they have been given rights, but have not yet been shown any way of satisfying their needs. We are assured that the world is becoming more and more united, is being formed into brotherly communion, by the shortening of distances, by the transmitting of thoughts through the air. Alas, do not believe in such a union of people." (6.3.e)
Zosima warns against viewing modern progress as somehow creating a global community or network (sounds kind of like a Microsoft ad). Despite modern advances, Dostoevsky is writing in the context of a deepening divide between rich and poor.
[Dmitri's] scattered thoughts suddenly came together, his sensations merged, and the result of it all was light. A terrible, awful light! "If I'm going to shoot myself, what better time than now?" swept through his mind. [...] So now all he had to do was live, but...but he could not live, he could not, oh, damnation! (8.8.36)
Taking a break from the Mokroye festivities, Dmitri finds himself alone on a porch and contemplates suicide yet again (see Quote #1 above). At this point in the novel, we've read all of Zosima's teachings (some of us, anyway, right?), so we can now read his confusion as further proof that isolation leads to suicide.