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Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary
We get a little background information now: Raskolnikov first heard about the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna, sometime around the winter before last from a student. He was able to avoid pawning his things for a good six months but then took the ring, even though he'd heard about Alyona and thought she was awful. After pawning his ring, he stopped in a bar and focused on the strange new idea forming in his mind. Meanwhile, a student was talking to an officer about Alyona, and Raskolnikov thought this an interesting coincidence. The student was criticizing the pawnbroker for her meanness, horrible money-lending rates, and the way she treated Lizaveta, who was pregnant. Then, he said he could kill and rob Alyona, and if he did, the world would be a better place. Raskolnikov was upset by this. He had heard this kind of talk before, but what struck him was that he had "the very same ideas" that Raskolnikov did. (End background information.) After the market, Raskolnikov goes home and falls asleep. Nastasya wakes him about 10 a.m., again bringing him some of her tea. He doesn't respond to her, so she leaves the tea, coming back at 2 with soup. She wakes him again, and he tells her to go away, and then he gets up and eats a little. Hearing a clock strike, he realizes how late it is and starts preparing for the night ahead. First, he sews a little loop that he attaches to the inside of his coat. That's so the axe can hang in his coat without being noticeable. Second, he finds his "pledge," the thing he wants to pawn. (Remember the cigarette case he mentions in Part I, Chapter One?) It's a piece of metal and a piece of wood stuck together, wrapped in paper, and tied up with an intricately knotted string. She'll have trouble untying the knot, and that's when Raskolnikov can kill her, or so his theory goes. Raskolnikov knows that Nastasya will be away from the kitchen. He can steal her axe. He's convinced himself that killing the pawnbroker won't be wrong from a moral perspective. In any case, Raskolnikov tries to unconvince himself but is unsuccessful as he moves toward the kitchen. Nastasya is in there. Raskolnikov can't understand why he thought she'd be out. He gets mad but then thinks of the caretaker, who has an axe. Sure enough, the caretaker is out, and Raskolnikov steals his axe, puts it in the axe-holding loop inside his coat, and goes on his way. Then, he remembers that he never changed his hat for a less conspicuous one. It's late though, and there's no time for hats. Fascinated by everything he sees along the way, Raskolnikov gets to the pawnbroker's building as a clock strikes 7:30 p.m. A cart carrying hay hides him from anyone who might be watching as he hits the stairs. Now, he's at the fourth floor. He passes a room being painted, but the painters don't notice him. The pawnbroker's door faces the stairs. He's worried that he looks creepy and pale. She doesn't answer when he rings the bell, but he knows she's in there. He can hear her listening on the other side of the door. Raskolnikov decides to act casual, to mutter in an irritated fashion, as if he were an ordinary customer. Later, he would wonder how he was able to think of doing that. But, for now, he hears the door being unbolted.
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