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Notes from the Underground

Notes from the Underground


by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Zverkov Timeline and Summary

  • The Underground Man introduces us to Zverkov by talking about how much he hated the man. Zverkov, he explains, was pretty and rich. Everyone used to kiss up to him for his cash and looks.
  • He also owns an estate with 200 serfs, and he used to talk about how he could have sex with all the new brides because that was his right as master.
  • The Underground Man invites himself to Zverkov's going-away dinner. When we finally meet Zverkov, the guy seems to be taking pains not to make a scene with the Underground Man.
  • He asks the Underground Man a series of questions about his work, seemingly to make small talk.
  • Zverkov also has a stutter, which the Underground Man finds to be offensive and mocks.
  • In turn, Zverkov mocks the Underground Man's pithy salary.
  • But he then tries to change the subject to something more pleasant, like his womanizing.
  • This lasts for about three minutes before the Underground Man decides to toast Zverkov. Of course his toast is offensive. While the other men are outraged, Zverkov tries to let it slide.
  • He and the other men move from the dinner table to the lounge, leaving the Underground Man behind. They converse about intellectual matters while the Underground Man sulks.
  • Before he leaves the restaurant, Zverkov responds to the Underground Man's attempted apology. "Insulted?" he asks. "You insulted me? Understand, sir, that you never, under any circumstances, could possibly insult me."
  • At the end of the night, the Underground Man decides he will either get forgiveness from Zverkov, or he'll slap him in the face.
  • Shortly thereafter, he settles on the slap. Fortunately for all, Zverkov is gone by the time the Underground Man arrives at the brothel.