Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 1, Chapter 6

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 1, Chapter 6

  • We get a little background information now:
  • Raskolnikov first heard about the pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna, sometime around the winter before last from a student.
  • He was able to avoid pawning his things for a good six months but then took the ring, even though he'd heard about Alyona and thought she was awful.
  • After pawning his ring, he stopped in a bar and focused on the strange new idea forming in his mind.
  • Meanwhile, a student was talking to an officer about Alyona, and Raskolnikov thought this an interesting coincidence.
  • The student was criticizing the pawnbroker for her meanness, horrible money-lending rates, and the way she treated Lizaveta, who was pregnant.
  • Then, he said he could kill and rob Alyona, and if he did, the world would be a better place.
  • Raskolnikov was upset by this. He had heard this kind of talk before, but what struck him was that he had "the very same ideas" that Raskolnikov did.
  • (End background information.)
  • After the market, Raskolnikov goes home and falls asleep.
  • Nastasya wakes him about 10 a.m., again bringing him some of her tea.
  • He doesn't respond to her, so she leaves the tea, coming back at 2 with soup.
  • She wakes him again, and he tells her to go away, and then he gets up and eats a little.
  • Hearing a clock strike, he realizes how late it is and starts preparing for the night ahead.
  • First, he sews a little loop that he attaches to the inside of his coat. That's so the axe can hang in his coat without being noticeable.
  • Second, he finds his "pledge," the thing he wants to pawn. (Remember the cigarette case he mentions in Part I, Chapter One?)
  • It's a piece of metal and a piece of wood stuck together, wrapped in paper, and tied up with an intricately knotted string.
  • She'll have trouble untying the knot, and that's when Raskolnikov can kill her, or so his theory goes.
  • Raskolnikov knows that Nastasya will be away from the kitchen. He can steal her axe.
  • He's convinced himself that killing the pawnbroker won't be wrong from a moral perspective.
  • In any case, Raskolnikov tries to unconvince himself but is unsuccessful as he moves toward the kitchen. Nastasya is in there.
  • Raskolnikov can't understand why he thought she'd be out.
  • He gets mad but then thinks of the caretaker, who has an axe.
  • Sure enough, the caretaker is out, and Raskolnikov steals his axe, puts it in the axe-holding loop inside his coat, and goes on his way.
  • Then, he remembers that he never changed his hat for a less conspicuous one.
  • It's late though, and there's no time for hats.
  • Fascinated by everything he sees along the way, Raskolnikov gets to the pawnbroker's building as a clock strikes 7:30 p.m.
  • A cart carrying hay hides him from anyone who might be watching as he hits the stairs.
  • Now, he's at the fourth floor. He passes a room being painted, but the painters don't notice him.
  • The pawnbroker's door faces the stairs. He's worried that he looks creepy and pale.
  • She doesn't answer when he rings the bell, but he knows she's in there.
  • He can hear her listening on the other side of the door.
  • Raskolnikov decides to act casual, to mutter in an irritated fashion, as if he were an ordinary customer.
  • Later, he would wonder how he was able to think of doing that.
  • But, for now, he hears the door being unbolted.

Crime and Punishment Part 1, Chapter 6 Study Group

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