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The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov Analysis

Literary Devices in The Brothers Karamazov

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Dostoevsky draws on religious and folk archetypes to give an allegorical depth to his novel. It's a way to show how a common trove of cultural meaning – such as religion – connects to everyday...

Setting

The Brothers Karamazov is set in the tumultuous years following Russia's abolition of serfdom in 1861. (To be more precise, if the novel is set "thirteen years" before its publication, as the narra...

Narrator Point of View

A first-person narrator in The Brothers Karamazov? That the narrator in fact steps in to say "I" may surprise you. It's easy to get lost in all the details of the book, but you might have noticed t...

Genre

The Brothers Karamazov spans almost 800 pages (at least in its English translation) – which leaves plenty of room for various literary genres. The novel's way of turning characters into symbols o...

Tone

So you're looking at those "Tone" words thinking, how can a novel have so many contradictory tones? Has the novel got multiple-personality disorder? Well, yes and no. The novel aggressively tries t...

Writing Style

Many readers of Dostoevsky's novels are struck by the amount of dialogue in his novels. You have to wonder if anyone really talks as much as Dostoevsky's characters do. But this is also what makes...

What's Up With the Title?

The super obvious answer is that the whole novel is about the Karamazov brothers. It follows the course of their lives from birth to young adulthood, at which point they are all drawn back to their...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)The epigraph echoes the elder Zosima'...

What's Up With the Ending?

Given the sensational events of the novel – murder! theft! scandal! – the ending seems a bit anti-climactic, even sappy, right? For the closing scene, Dostoevsky sends us to Ilyusha's funeral....

Tough-o-Meter

Let's be honest – this is one long novel. You have to live with this novel for a while – it just takes a long time to read. Plus the action is frequently interrupted by long, philosophically de...

Plot Analysis

The brothers return to Skotoprigonyevsk.The brothers find themselves back in or near their father's home, for vastly different reasons. All that Karamazovian fury concentrated in one locale leads t...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

The Karamazov brothers return to their father's home, only to discover that their father is an evil, selfish, horny old man.Fyodor Karamazov is more than just a really, really bad father in Dostoev...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

The three brothers Karamazov return to their father's home. Relations are particularly tense between Dmitri and his father because of an inheritance dispute and a romantic rivalry.With Dmitri and h...

Trivia

The Brothers Karamazov was originally imagined as a five-volume epic entitled The Great Sinner (source).Dostoevsky suffered from epilepsy and drew on his own experiences in his characterization of...

Steaminess Rating

Dostoevsky shares with us all kinds of horrible details about Fyodor Karamazov's debauchery, and his son Dmitri Karamazov is also quite a womanizer. But he never gives us explicit details about the...

Allusions

The Bible (1.5.1; 1.5.2; 1.5.6; 2.2.21; 3.1.13; 3.7.31; 5.3.4; 5.4.21; 5.5.10; 6.2; 6.3; 7.4; 11.4.26; 12.13.1)Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls (8.7.52; 12.6.2; 12.9.3)Friedrich Schiller:" Eleusinian Fe...
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