Study Guide

The Idiot Part 2, Chapter 11

By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2, Chapter 11

  • The Epanchins are way mad at Myshkin—like, three days worth of anger, which we guess is a lot back in the days where the only form of entertainment was going to visit other people.
  • During that time, Myshkin gets a visit from Adelaida and her hubby (she's the middle Epanchin sister, remember?). They aren't supposed to be there, but come anyway, and the main upshot of the visit is try to figure out what the deal is between Radomsky and the mysterious carriage woman, who turns out to be Nastasya. Um, duh.
  • Prince Sh. is all, so why was Nastasya trying to make it sound like Radomsky has some kind of debt problem, anyway? Everyone clearly thinks that this is some scheme to make Radomsky look bad.
  • Myshkin wonders whether maybe the debts are real, but Prince Sh. is like, no way dude, that guy is crazy-loaded so he has no reason to borrow.
  • They leave, and Myshkin is a little overwhelmed by the whole thing.
  • He has a fleeting wish to just get the heck out of that town and away from all the drama.
  • Ganya comes to see him.
  • Ganya is his new BFF, which we know because Myshkin asked Ganya to handle the whole Pavlichev's son situation.
  • But now, Myshkin is kind of spacing out, and so Ganya just chitchats with him without telling him the main thing that he came to say, which is…yeah, we don't find out either. Oooh, mystery.
  • There is some info in the chitchat though, and Dostoevsky makes a point to say that Ganya kind of brings these things up without any context. So, you know, this is probably what he's been wanting to talk to Myshkin about.
  • First, it turns out Nastasya has been in Pavlosk for four days now, and she's already the talk of town society.
  • Second, it turns out that Radomsky doesn't know her, but that the debts might be real, since super rich people sometimes have liquidity problems with their money.
  • And third, it turns out that Aglaya had had a big fight with her whole family.
  • Myshkin kind of ignores all these hints, and we are forced to wonder what Ganya was about to reveal.
  • The next person who comes to bother Myshkin is Keller, the ex-military guy who wrote that article to try to help the fake Pavlichev's son. What does he want? Well, at first he seems to want to do some kind of confession of all his sins or something. Myshkin actually really gets into this conversation and starts to wonder how he could maybe transform this guy into a decent human being. And then Keller hits him up for money. Nice.
  • Keller fesses up that the whole thing was basically a plan to soften Myshkin up first so he would say yes to the loan, but then Keller is kind of taken aback by the fact that Myshkin doesn't get mad and asks for much less than he originally was planning on. Myshkin hands him 25 roubles for his troubles.
  • Lebedev shows up next and confesses that he had a hand in the whole woman-in-the-carriage-yelling-at-Radomsky thing. He was the informant about who Myshkin's guests were. Myshkin starts asking whom Lebedev tipped off, but when Lebedev says Aglaya, Myshkin shuts him up and kicks him out of the room.
  • Late that night, Kolya comes in to tell Myshkin some more news. Okay, don't you love how he just sits around and everyone brings him these bits of info? He's like an anchor on the nightly news or something—"We now go to our correspondent in the field. Kolya? How are things at the Epanchins?"
  • Um. Anyway.
  • The Epanchins are no longer on speaking terms with Ganya and his sister—because apparently Ganya is the reason Aglaya had the big fight with the rest of her family.
  • Myshkin gets all mad about this, and Kolya totally calls him on just being jealous.
  • The next day, Myshkin goes back to Petersburg on business, and on the way back, he runs into General Epanchin on the train.
  • General Epanchin grabs him and starts a long half-crazed monologue about how the Epanchins don't blame Myshkin for anything, and how screwed up the whole thing is.
  • So here is what Epanchin knows:
  • (1) Radomsky really is loaded, and stands to inherit another fortune from his uncle.
  • (2) Radomsky doesn't know Nastasya and is generally being honest in being confused about what she was talking about.
  • (3) Epanchin thinks Nastasya is trying to pull some kind of revenge act for the way Epanchin behaved earlier. (Perhaps for not stopping Totsky? It's sort of hard to figure out what he thinks, since he is speaking really incoherently.)

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