Crime and Punishment
The Home Theme
We get some grim visions of "home" in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Often, the home is a site of violence, abuse, and extreme poverty, a trap that seems impossible to escape. Eviction and homelessness seem an ever-present threat for many of the characters. Landlords and landladies are often corrupt. Positive definitions of "home" are found in the novel, though these usually exist outside, or in spite of, the living spaces of the characters. Fyodor Dostoevsky shows us extremes of negative home life, and challenges us to look for a positive idea of home.
Questions About The Home
- If you had to live in one of the "homes" in Crime and Punishment, which one would you choose and why?
- We don't hear much about Raskolnikov's home life before he moved to St. Petersburg. But based on what we know about Pulcheria and Dounia, how might we imagine it?
- Katerina and her three young children become homeless after Marmeladov's funeral dinner. How does that section comment on the idea of home in the novel?
- Do you think Raskolnikov and Sonia will have a "happy home"? Why or why not? What about Dounia and Razumihin?
- Are there any positive representations of "home" in the novel?
- Does the novel change or influence your idea or definition of home? If so, how?
- How do the "nomads" Raskolnikov sees in Siberia comment on the novel's ideas about home?
Chew on This
Representations of "home" in Crime and Punishment are all negative.