Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Education

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 1, Chapter 2
Sonia (Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov)

[Marmeladov:] "[…] but Katerina Ivanovna, my spouse, is a person of education and an officer's daughter." (1.2.18)

The narrator tells us later that Katerina's education is what allows her to maintain a certain "dignity" and pride through all of her trials and tribulations. The suggestion is that education has value beyond helping one get that dream job. It can also be a source of sustenance. We don't know if Katerina is the best character to demonstrate that point.

Part 1, Chapter 3

[..] a painted table in the corner on which lay a few manuscripts and books; the dust that lay thick upon them showed that they had been long untouched. (1.3.1)

Aha! Proof that Raskolnikov hasn't been doing his homework and evidence that he's dropped out of school. Dostoevsky belabors this point so we understand that education is a big issue here.

Part 3, Chapter 3
Dounia (Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikov)

[Dounia:] "Pyotr Petrovitch [Luzhin] makes no secret of the fact that he had a cheap education, he is proud indeed of having made his own way." (3.3.124)

Did you find it odd that Dounia has a better education than Luzhin, yet she can't get a decent job and he can? This is because very few professional positions were open to women in Russia (and elsewhere) in the 1860s.

Part 4, Chapter 3
Dmitri Prokofitch Razumihin

[Razumihin:] "And the great point of the business is that we shall know just what wants translating, and we shall be translating, publishing, learning all at once." (4.3.28)

We love Razumihin's energy. Even though he dropped out of college, he knows multiple languages and is very business savvy. Do you think he's reached the point where he doesn't need the structure of school to guide his studies?

Part 4, Chapter 4

But at the same time he knew now and knew for certain that, although it filled her with dread and suffering, yet she had a tormenting desire to read and to read to him that he might hear it, and to read now whatever might come of it! (4.4.157)

What a confusing sentence. What seems to be going on is Raskolnikov's reading of Sonia's mind. She is terrified of reading to him but very badly wants to do so. She wants to help him with his religious education. But, remember when she tells Raskolnikov how much she loved reading to her dad? Since Raskolnikov was one of her father's only friends at the end of his life, she can also share in mourning her father by reading to Raskolnikov.

Part 6, Chapter 8

[The Explosive Lieutenant:] "Then these midwives, too, have become extraordinarily numerous." (6.8.58)

Oh, Explosive Lieutenant, don't be so hard on women. Why does Raskolnikov want to confess to this guy, anyway? The first time he meets him, he complains that students and authors are horrible people. In this section, he spends lots of time making fun of women for trying to create better opportunities for themselves. He does admit that maybe there aren't quite enough jobs for women.

Epilogue, Part 2

Life had stepped into the place of theory and something quite different would work itself out in his mind. (Epilogue.2.26)

This passage could be seen as an argument that Raskolnikov had too much education. He was so focused on ideas and theories that he confused himself right out of happiness. Adapt this sentence to use on your teacher next time you forget your homework.

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