Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Versions of Reality

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Versions of Reality

Part 2, Chapter 3

But of thatof that he [Raskolnikov] had no recollection, and yet every minute he felt that he had forgotten something he ought to remember. He worried and tormented himself trying to remember. (2.3.1)

When Raskolnikov wakes up from his illness, his reality is extremely confused. He's forgotten what we might assume he'd rather forget. But here we see that forgetting is actually causing him pain. Raskolnikov really wants to see life clearly. It's just that everything is so confusing that he can't sort it out.

Part 3, Chapter 2

He [Razumihin] brought his fist down heavily on the kitchen stove, hurt his hand and sent one of the bricks flying. (3.2.1)

This is Razumihin's "morning after" moment. Even though we didn't see him do anything so awful, he beats himself up for talking too much and too crudely while drunk. He's also embarrassed about being drunk in front of Dounia. His reality while drunk conflicts with his reality while sober.

Part 3, Chapter 6

He [Raskolnikov] lost consciousness; it seemed strange to him that he didn't remember how he got into the street. It was late evening. The twilight had fallen and the full moon was shining more and more brightly; but there was a peculiar breathlessness in the air. (3.6.62)

This is right before Raskolnikov relives the murder in his nightmares. Dostoevsky's dream sequences seem both realistic and totally exaggerated. He's really good at scary dreams.

Part 4, Chapter 3

And, of course, too, [Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin] did love Dounia in his own way; he already possessed her in his dreamsand all at once! No! The next day, the very next day, it must all be set right, smoothed over, settled. (4.3.3)

Luzhin needs a reality check, big time. Here he even admits that his fantasy or "dream" Dounia is nothing like the reality. That's dramatic irony in action. While we are aware that this is not facing reality, Luzhin isn't. Dostoevsky shows him, though, by soon removing him completely from the novel with no explanation.

Part 4, Chapter 4
Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov

"But, perhaps, there is no God at all," Raskolnikov answered with a sort of malignance, laughed and looked at her. (4.4.93)

This is in response to Sonia's insistence that "God" won't let Polenka become a prostitute. Believing or not believing in God are versions of individual reality. Raskolnikov sometimes believes in God and sometimes doesn't.

Part 6, Chapter 6

And she had destroyed herself, crushed by an insult that had appalled and amazed that childish soul, had smirched that angel purity with unmerited disgrace and torn from her a last scream of despair. (6.6.39)

While Raskolnikov revisits his crimes only occasionally, we get the idea that Svidrigaïlov's nightmares are becoming more and more his reality. On top of that, he's seeing ghosts of the people he abused and of Marfa, whom he probably murdered. This quote refers to the young girl he drove to suicide.

Epilogue, Part 2

But that is the beginning of a new storythe story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another. (Epilogue.2.30)

Usually when we hear about "passing from one world into another," it's in reference to somebody dying. Here, it's as if Raskolnikov's life before was a kind of death and through love (and suffering), he is finally born.

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