Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 2, Chapter 1

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 1

  • Raskolnikov stays in bed for a long time. When he wakes between 2 and 3 a.m., he hears terrible screaming from the street.
  • He hears this every night, when the bars close and the drunks are released.
  • Realizing the time, he wakes up, and everything comes flooding back to him.
  • He still has a fever, and his body shakes intensely and his teeth clack together.
  • As usual, he fell asleep with his clothes on and his door unlocked.
  • Standing in the moonlight, he checks himself all over for signs of his deed.
  • He finds dry blood on the unraveled cuff of his pant leg. He cuts this off. He can't find any other blood on his clothes.
  • Then, he remembers the things he's stolen, still in his pockets.
  • He takes all of the items out and stashes them in a hole in the wall, where the wallpaper has come unstuck. What a stupid hiding place, he thinks, wondering if he's insane.
  • "Mechanically," Raskolnikov gets his "old student's winter coat," wraps up in it, then passes out again, but only for a few minutes.
  • He forgets to get rid of the axe holder he's sewed into his coat.
  • He takes care of that, but he's forgetting something important.
  • He wonders if this feeling is how his "punishment" starts, so soon after the crime.
  • The bloody "fringe" is right there in the middle of the floor!
  • He would hide it in the stove, but everybody hides their evidence in the stove.
  • Then, he wonders if maybe he has blood all over his clothes but just can't see it because he's losing his mind.
  • He does find some blood in his pocket (because the purse he took was bloody and was in his pocket), and he tears it out of his pants.
  • He discovers blood on the boots, too, and the toe of one sock is totally bloody because there was a hole in his shoe, and he stepped in the pool of the pawnbroker's blood.
  • He can't figure out what to do with the pocket, the fringe, and the bloody-toed sock.
  • He decides to throw them away but then passes out again, unable to move, even though he tries. Around 10 a.m., he hears Nastasya banging on his door.
  • She has the porter with her. He has a summons for Raskolnikov.
  • The police want to talk to him.
  • Raskolnikov expresses surprise. Nastasya comments that he looks extremely ill.
  • Nastasya sees the rags in his hand (he fell asleep holding them) and thinks he's been snuggling them like a child would a doll or a blankie. She finds this quite amusing.
  • Raskolnikov puts the bloody sock on, then takes it off, then puts it on.
  • He takes the summons and the rags and goes out, muttering about the police and having confused thoughts.
  • As he nears the police station, he becomes more convinced he'll confess.
  • He gets to the police station, shows his summons, confirms that he is a "former student," and is asked to wait. If it is about the murder, the clerk wouldn't be treating him calmly.
  • He notices a woman all dressed up, also waiting.
  • In sweeps a policeman, and the woman jumps up like she knows him, but he ignores her.
  • He glares at Raskolnikov and asks his business. Raskolnikov shows the summons.
  • They argue; the officer is rude to him, and Raskolnikov is rude back. He tells the officer he shouldn't be yelling and smoking, that it's rude.
  • So, here's why he was summoned: Raskolnikov had signed over a promise to pay 150 roubles to his landlady, the widow Zarnitsyn. She had signed over the note to Mr. Tchebarov to pay off something else, and the cops want to collect the money.
  • Raskolnikov is surprised to hear this, but at the same time, he doesn't care about things like that anymore.
  • Now, the officer, Ilya Petrovitch, begins giving the dressed-up lady a hard time. He calls her a "shameless hussy."
  • She runs a house of prostitution, and the neighbors complained that there was fighting and bad behavior around there the night before.
  • The lady explains that it was all the fault of a customer, a writer, who caused a scene and then threatened to write about her house in the papers and give it a bad name.
  • He tells her to make sure it doesn't happen again.
  • Ilya Petrovitch thinks writers (and students, too) are a crummy bunch of people and gives examples.
  • Nikodim Fomitch, a head police honcho, comes in, remarking on Ilya's bad temper.
  • Ilya complains that Raskolnikov, "an author or a student," is a bum who won't pay his debts or his rent and won't move out.
  • Nikodim says, "Poverty is not a vice."
  • Ilya's nickname is the Explosive Lieutenant, but he is a softie at heart.
  • Raskolnikov wants to be nice, suddenly, and begins to explain about the situation with the landlady. Here's the story:
  • Raskolnikov moved in there three years ago and had promised to marry his landlady's daughter, though he wasn't in love with her.
  • When the girl got typhus and died, her mother asked Raskolnikov to give her the note for 150 roubles (what she said he owed for either past rent or for something related to his promising to marry her daughter).
  • She said he could have unlimited credit and stay as long as he wanted, and she would never try to collect the note.
  • The officers don't care about his story and get him to sign a paper saying that he's broke and won't leave town or sell any of his stuff until the debt is paid.
  • Then, he feels really sick and has to sit. In the meantime, Ilya and Nikodim begin discussing the details of the murder of the pawnbroker.
  • Raskolnikov gets up to leave but passes out.
  • When he wakes up, Ilya questions him about his illness and then lets him go.
  • On the street, Raskolnikov is sure the cops are headed straight for his room to search it.

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