Study Guide

The Brothers Karamazov Book 5, Chapter 3

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Book 5, Chapter 3

The Brothers Get Acquainted

  • Ivan tells Alyosha that it's about time they got acquainted, since they haven't really gotten to know each other since Ivan left for school when he was 15 and Alyosha 11.
  • Thinking about his dramatic scene with Katerina, Ivan tells Alyosha that he still thirsts for life, which he believes is a very Karamazov quality. Alyosha agrees and professes that we should all love life, even more than meaning.
  • Ivan asks Alyosha whether he's seen Dmitri today. Alyosha says no, but he did see Smerdyakov. Ivan is intensely interested in what Smerdyakov had to say. Alyosha asks Ivan what will happen between Dmitri and their father, and Ivan fends off the question, asking Alyosha if he's Dmitri's "keeper" (which is oddly exactly what Smerdyakov said in the previous chapter).
  • Despite everything, Ivan seems to be in a celebratory mood and is positively happy about being free of Katerina. In fact, he wonders if he ever loved her in the first place.
  • He then claims that it's important for Alyosha to understand exactly what kind of man he is, and goes off on a long monologue about how he believes in God but rejects the world that God created.

The Brothers Karamazov Book 5, Chapter 3 Study Group

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