Study Guide

The Idiot Part 2, Chapter 2

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Part 2, Chapter 2

  • It's summertime, and the living is easy. Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high….
  • Wait, no, sorry about that.
  • Myshkin comes back to Petersburg from Moscow. He's all outfitted in new duds, but they look weird since he's not really a fashion plate.
  • He goes straight to Lebedev's house. Remember Lebedev? That skeezy dude from the train in the first chapter of the novel? Rogozhin's new bestie?
  • Lebedev is at home, reading the riot act to his kids, who range in age from 20 to baby.
  • When he sees Myshkin, Lebedev chases his kids away, except one teen rebel without a cause who stays behind to mock Lebedev for being drunk.
  • Lebedev starts distracting the prince with random conversation, mostly to figure out a way to weasel out of whatever questions the prince is going to have for him.
  • It turns out the teen rebel is Lebedev's nephew, who is doing a kind of sit-in protest at the house as a way to get back at his uncle for not lending him money to get outfitted for a job with the railway company. Myshkin is all, dude, he isn't required to lend you money.
  • The nephew gets upset, and lays out a long diatribe about all the embarrassing and annoying things that Lebedev does.
  • Myshkin is grossed out by this young guy and tries to get the conversation back to his own agenda. What's his agenda? It turns out that Lebedev had written Myshkin a letter about Nastasya, who ran away from the prince and asked Lebedev for help. Now she is back with Rogozhin, seemingly through Lebedev's doing. Basically, she keeps setting a wedding date with Rogozhin, then breaking it, over and over again.
  • The conversation goes on, and we find out that everyone has left the hot city for their summer houses (dachas) in the town of Pavlosk. So, the Epanchins are there, Nastasya might be there if she's not with Rogozhin at the moment—and even Lebedev is going there with the fam. 
  • The prince takes off.

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