Crime and Punishment Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky adored Nikolai Gogol, a writer well known for his "laugh out loud" but bleak humor. Does Crime and Punishment make you laugh? What parts, if any, are funny, and why? If you didn't find any parts of this book funny, why do you suppose that is?
- We use Raskolnikov as the hero in our "Booker's Seven Plots Analysis." Would this "rebirth" formula still work if we applied it to other characters?
- What does the novel say about the different roles men and women played in Russia in the 1860s? How are their pressures different? How are they similar?
- What if Raskolnikov committed suicide and Svidrigaïlov lived, found religion, got Sonia (or Dounia), and found happiness? Would the book be as popular as it is?
- We don't get Raskolnikov's name until he gives it to the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna. Why? Is it important? Is it the most "natural" place for his name to have been revealed, or would it have been better somewhere else?
- What about Crime and Punishment's abrupt chapter endings? Do the endings comment on the chapter as a whole? Do they prepare us in some way for the next chapter?
- Who has creepier dreams, Raskolnikov or Svidrigaïlov? Why? Or maybe they are equally creepy in different ways?
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