Study Guide

Crime and Punishment Part 4, Chapter 4

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 4, Chapter 4

  • Raskolnikov goes straight to Sonia's place and finds her there.
  • They go into her room. It reminds Raskolnikov of a dismal "barn." It's around 11 p.m. Raskolnikov says he has to tell Sonia something and that he might never see her again.
  • She wants to know if that means he won't be coming to her father's funeral tomorrow.
  • He says he doesn't know yet.
  • Raskolnikov comments that her room is crummy and that she should be scared to live there.
  • The landlords, the Kapernaumovs, are good to Sonia. They are very poor and have seven kids.
  • Sonia says she thought she saw her father on the street today.
  • Raskolnikov asks if Katerina abused her physically.
  • Horrified by the suggestion, Sonia denies it but says it wouldn't matter if Katerina had hit her. Katerina is like a child. She's also a sad woman but full of "justice."
  • Raskolnikov tells Sonia that she's responsible for Katerina and the kids now. He asks what will become of them all.
  • The landlord wants to get rid of Katerina, and Katerina plans to move immediately.
  • Raskolnikov wants to know if it will be up to Sonia to find them a new place to live.
  • Sonia says that it doesn't matter. She and her family are "one."
  • She tells Raskolnikov that Katerina is losing her mind. She feels guilty because she's been mean to Katerina before. She was showing her some collars she was selling for Lizaveta (yes, that Lizaveta) and Katerina wanted one, but Sonia told her she'd have nowhere to wear it.
  • Raskolnikov says he knew Lizaveta. He asks what Sonia will do when Katerina dies. Soon enough, he says, her little sister Polenka will have to do just what she's doing (become a prostitute).
  • Sonia insists that will never happen, that God won't let that happen.
  • Raskolnikov reminds her that God lets it happen to other people. He even suggests that God doesn't exist.
  • Sonia starts crying, and Raskolnikov tells her she's losing her mind.
  • On his knees, he kisses her foot and then asks her why she doesn't kill herself.
  • She can't abandon the children, she explains, but he can tell she's considered suicide before.
  • It becomes clear to him how important her family is to her, and Raskolnikov can see that Sonia's degraded life hasn't touched her on the inside.
  • Still, he thinks there are only three possibilities for her: suicide, insanity, or becoming corrupt and starting to like being a prostitute.
  • In response to Raskolnikov's questions, Sonia reveals that she believes completely in God. This causes Raskolnikov to conclude that she's "a religious maniac."
  • He sees a Bible in her room, a Russian translation of the New Testament. It was a gift from Lizaveta.
  • Raskolnikov demands that she read him the story of Lazarus.
  • Finally, she reads to him: Lazarus dies and is buried. After four days, Jesus requests that Lazarus's burial stone be moved. He then calls to Lazarus, and Lazarus comes out of the grave, alive.
  • That's it, Sonia tells him.
  • After a silence, Raskolnikov tells Sonia that he has "abandoned" his mother and sister.
  • He begs Sonia to be with him, to run away with him somewhere.
  • He repeats that this might be the last time they see each other, but if he can, he'll come back the next day and reveal the identity of Lizaveta's killer.
  • After he leaves, she feels like she's losing her mind. All her worries spin around her head and she has bad dreams. She thinks of Raskolnikov.
  • It seems the two of them had an audience.
  • Svidriga├»lov, who lives next door to her (he was the 50-year-old man following Sonia the other day), heard everything through the thin wall. Since he enjoyed the conversation so much, he puts a chair near the wall so that next time he can listen more comfortably.

Crime and Punishment Part 4, Chapter 4 Study Group

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