Study Guide

The Brothers Karamazov Book 3, Chapter 5

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Book 3, Chapter 5

The Confession of an Ardent Heart. "Heels Up"

  • Dmitri continues to tell Alyosha about his history with Katerina. After he loans her the money, the family's honor is saved. Then the colonel dies of an illness and Katerina and her sister leave for Moscow. A wealthy aunt takes Katerina under her wing.
  • Katerina is able to repay the money to Dmitri and also, in a letter, offers herself in marriage to him. Dmitri sends a letter back, then sends a letter explaining the situation to Ivan. Ivan is living in Moscow at the time, and Dmitri tells him to go see Katerina. There, Dmitri suspects, Ivan fell in love with Katerina. Later Dmitri finally arrives in Moscow, where his engagement with Katerina is celebrated.
  • Although Katerina had made him promise to reform, Dmitri is quickly seduced back to his old ways by Grushenka, a foxy babe in their hometown. Grushenka also has her claws in their father, Fyodor.
  • Dmitri confesses that the worst of it is that Katerina had entrusted him with 3,000 roubles to send to her sister in Moscow. But instead of sending the money, Dmitri had spent it all partying with Grushenka.
  • Dmitri's only hope, as he tells Alyosha, is to repay Katerina so that he's not the absolute lowest scum of the earth. Since he has no money of his own, he asks for Alyosha's help in getting the money and in breaking off his engagement with Katerina.
  • But Alyosha's just a poor monk. Where is he supposed to get the money, you ask? From the very same father, Fyodor, who's also in love with Grushenka.
  • Smerdyakov has told Dmitri that Fyodor, in an attempt to win over Grushenka, has promised her 3,000 roubles. All she has to do is sneak into his room with a secret knock that only Smerdyakov and Fyodor know. But now Dmitri knows about their little scheme because Smerdyakov has spilled the beans.
  • This is why Dmitri has been hiding in their neighbor's garden guzzling cognac. He's waiting for Grushenka, to prevent her tryst with his father.
  • On top of all that, Dmitri wants Alyosha to convince their father to give Alyosha the money intended for Grushenka, money Alyosha can then give to Dmitri to give back to Katerina.
  • Complicated much?

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