Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Epilogue, Part 2

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Epilogue, Part 2

  • Raskolnikov is in the prison hospital for some time.
  • It's not the harsh conditions that make him sick. Prison life doesn't bother him. But, he is embarrassed to be in front of Sonia, and he's mean to her.
  • He feels like a moron, serving a meaningless sentence for something that wasn't really a crime. He'll only be 32 when he gets out of jail, but what then?
  • He's sure that working just to live is no kind of life for him. Ideas still rule in his world, and he would die for the sake of ideas.
  • If only he could "repent," he's convinced that everything would be easier. But, the more he thinks about the murders, the less he believes he committed a crime.
  • He wonders if his theory was stupid.
  • He wonders why everybody is so worked up over this crime, which he considers so small compared to so many other crimes.
  • He's sure that if he had gotten away with murder, everybody would have loved him. But he didn't, and that proves he isn't great and therefore shouldn't have tried to be.
  • Raskolnikov wonders if Svidrigaïlov's way out was greater than hiscommitting suicide showed that Svidrigaïlov wasn't afraid to die.
  • Raskolnikov notices that the men in jail love life more than people on the outside.
  • He doesn't really see what's going on, thoughhe keeps his eyes on the ground. But, he knows that some huge thing alienates him from the other prisoners. They can't stand him.
  • During the second week of Lent, while he was at church with the other prisoners in his group, some prisoners accused him of being an atheistthough he doesn't know where they got the idea. They wanted to kill him over it, but the guard stopped them.
  • Shortly after, Raskolnikov was put in the hospital and was sick until Easter.
  • Still recovering in the hospital, he remembers the dreams he had while he was sick. In the dreams, some intelligent viral organism has come into being and is attacking people.
  • When men get the virus, they go insane. But, because they had always thought they were so smart, the insanity makes them even surer of their previous beliefs.
  • Whole communities are attacked, and nobody has any sense at all. Nobody knows right from wrong, and chaos is everywhere.
  • Eventually, people start killing each other, sometimes in gangs. Cannibalism is rampant.
  • There is a rumor that some people have escaped the madness and are "destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth." But nobody knows for sure if these men are real.
  • Raskolnikov wishes he could shake this dreamit makes him feel like he's still sick.
  • It's a few weeks after Easter, and the weather is getting warmer.
  • One day, at dusk, as he stands looking out the window of his hospital room, he sees Sonia. Something hits him in the heart.
  • Then, Sonia doesn't show up for a few days. She's been sick and not able to visit.
  • One day, not long after, Raskolnikov and a few other men "go off to work on the river bank." He happens to see a nomad camp.
  • The sun is shining, and the beauty of nature is all around. The nomads are singing.
  • He thinks he sees real freedom and is both perplexed and excited.
  • Then, he finds Sonia sitting next to him.
  • She offers him her hand, nervously, because he's usually pretty mean about that kind of thing. This time, he takes it with love.
  • All of a sudden, something happens inside him, and he's crying and hugging Sonia around the ankles. For the first time, she knows he really loves her.
  • They are both full of new love. They have seven years to go before Raskolnikov is out of jail and they can be together.
  • That night, when Raskolnikov is in bed, he realizes that, after his meeting with Sonia, even the other prisoners are being nicer to him.
  • He swears to himself that he will love Sonia so much that he'll make up for treating her like dirt before.
  • There is a New Testament near him. He'd asked Sonia to bring it some time before. He wonders if he can adopt her beliefs.
  • As for Sonia, she's incredibly happy.
  • The next seven years will be long and hard. Raskolnikov will have a new life but will have to suffer immensely for it.
  • The story of Raskolnikov's new life, his slow coming back to life, and his discovery of a new reality that he never imagined, however, is for another time.

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