Study Guide

The Brothers Karamazov Epilogue, Book 12, Chapter 3

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Epilogue, Book 12, Chapter 3

Ilyushechka's Funeral. The Speech at the Stone.

  • The funeral is Ilyusha's. That's right, that angelic little boy from Book 10 died just a couple days after Dmitri was sentenced.
  • All the boys have collected around Ilyusha's coffin, including Kolya.
  • The narrator notes that Ilyusha's corpse doesn't smell. His body is covered in flowers donated by Lise Khokhlakov and Katerina Ivanovna.
  • Captain Snegiryov is sober but still a mess. Mrs. Snegiryov and Ninochka are also at the coffin. Mrs. Snegiryov wants a white rose that has been placed in Ilyusha's hands, but the captain refuses to give it to her.
  • The boys and Alyosha carry Ilyusha's coffin out a few hundred paces away to the church, accompanied by Snegiryov, who fusses over trivial details such as a crust of bread he had promised to crumble over his son's grave so that the swallows would visit it.
  • The coffin is placed in the middle of the church, and everyone surrounds it as the funeral service is read. The coffin is then buried, and the children have to withhold Snegiryov from the open grave.
  • On the way back, Snegiryov starts for the grave again and the children have to persuade him to follow them home.
  • When they return Snegiryov gives his wife some flowers from the funeral, then breaks down in tears, as does the rest of the family, over the sight of his son's boots.
  • Unable to bear it, Kolya suddenly leaves, along with the rest of the children and Alyosha. As they walk slowly down the path, they come upon Ilyusha's favorite stone.
  • Overcome with emotion, Alyosha makes a little speech to the children about how he would like them to remember this moment as a time when they were all good and kind. The children declare their love for Alyosha.
  • Kolya asks Alyosha about the afterlife, and Alyosha affirms that there is an afterlife where they will see Ilyusha again.
  • Then they go back to the Snegiryovs' to eat pancakes. Really. (Hey, it's a Russian funeral tradition, OK?) The boys all cheer for Karamazov.

The Brothers Karamazov Epilogue, Book 12, Chapter 3 Study Group

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