Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment Epilogue, Part 2 Summary
READ THE BOOK: Epilogue, Part 2
- Raskolnikov is in the prison hospital for some time.
- It's not the harsh conditions that make him sick. Prison life doesn't bother him. But he is embarrassed to be in front of Sonia and he's mean to her.
- He feels like a moron, serving a meaningless sentence for something that wasn't really a crime. He'll only be thirty-two when he gets out of jail, but hat then?
- He's sure that working just to live was no kind of life for him. Ideas still rule in his world and he would die for the sake of ideas.
- If only he could "repent," he's convinced that everything would be easier. But, the more he thinks about the murders, the less he believes he committed a crime.
- Was my theory so stupid? he wonders.
- He wonders why is everybody so worked up over this crime, which he considers so small compared to so many other crimes.
- He's sure that if he had gotten away with murder, everybody would have loved him. But he didn't, and that proves he isn't great and therefore shouldn't have tried to be.
- Raskolnikov wonders if Svidrigaïlov's way out was greater than his – committing suicide showed that Svidrigaïlov wasn't afraid to die.
- Raskolnikov notices that the men in jail love life more than people on the outside.
- He doesn't really see what's going on though – he keeps his eyes on the ground. But, he knows that some huge thing alienates him from the other prisoners. They can't stand him.
- During the second week of Lent, while he was at church with the other prisoners in his group, some prisoners accused him of being an atheist – though he doesn't know where they got the idea. They wanted to kill him over it, but the guard stopped them.
- Shortly after, Raskolnikov was put in the hospital and was sick until Easter.
- Still recovering in the hospital, he remembers the dreams he had while he was sick. In the dreams, some intelligent viral organism has come into being and is attacking people.
- When men get the virus, they go insane. But, because they had always thought they were so smart, the insanity makes them even surer of their previous beliefs.
- Whole communities are attacked and nobody has any sense at all. Nobody knows right from wrong and chaos is everywhere.
- Eventually, people start killing each other, sometimes in gangs. Cannibalism is rampant.
- There is a rumor that some people have escaped the madness and are "destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth." But nobody knows for sure if these men are real.
- Raskolnikov wishes he could shake this dream – it makes him feel like he's still sick.
- It's a few weeks after Easter and the weather is getting warmer.
- One day, at dusk, as he stands looking out the window of his hospital room, he sees Sonia. Something hits him in the heart.
- Then Sonia doesn't show up for a few days. She's been sick and not able to visit.
- One day, not long after, Raskolnikov and a few other men "go off to work on the river bank." He happens to see a nomad camp.
- The sun is shining and the beauty of nature is all around. The nomads are singing.
- He thinks he sees real freedom, and is both perplexed and excited.
- Then, he finds Sonia sitting next to him.
- She offers him her hand, nervously, because he's usually pretty mean about that kind of thing. This time, he takes it with love.
- All of a sudden, something happens inside him, and he's crying and hugging Sonia around the ankles. For the first time, she knows he really loves her.
- They are both full of new love. They have seven years to go before Raskolnikov is out of jail and they can be together.
- That night, when Raskolnikov is in bed, he realizes that, after his meeting with Sonia, even the other prisoners are being nicer to him.
- He swears to himself that he will love Sonia so much that he'll make up for treating her like dirt before.
- There is a New Testament near him. He'd asked Sonia to bring it some time before. He wonders if he can adopt her beliefs.
- As for Sonia, she's incredibly happy.
- The next seven years will be long and hard. Raskolnikov will have a new life, but will have to suffer immensely for it.
- The story of Raskolnikov's new life, his slow coming back to life, and his discovery a new reality that he never imagined, however, is for another time.
READ THE BOOK: Epilogue, Part 2