Saturday, March 22, 2008
Crime And Punishment
I read Dostoevsky. I liked Doestoevsky. I 'll even admit that I spent a lot of time saying "Raskolnikov" whilst rolling my rrrrrrrrrrrr's constantly. It's a cool name, one that I had actually heard before in book-like conversations and articles, but never having read "Crime & Punishment," I did not know who Raskolnikov was. I enjoyed the book a lot. I found myself pacing at some points as I was reading, wondering what was going to happen next.
There were some great characters in this book. Luzhin, Dounia's fiance - what a piece of work. What an arrogant chauvinist pig, with his "marry a poor girl, she'll be beholden to you!" ideas. Ugh! I was so glad when Dounia finally dismissed him and even happier when his guise of trying to frame Sonia for theft was seen through by everyone and he left Petersburg in disgrace.
Katerina Ivanovana, Marmeladov's wife, was a wanna-be aristocrat. So much so, with all her heart and soul, that she would invent situations with the elite and then firmly believe her inventions. She felt she was more than her status, poor woman. She married a drunk and died consumptive and miserable.
I was confused by Svidrigailov. He loved Raskolnikov's sister Dounia (she was the nanny to Svidrigailov's step-children) so much, that it led to the point of madness and I could not understand this. He was rich, he was free with his (wife's) money. Was he a murderer in his past? It's hinted at. He lied to Raskolnikov about his feelings for Dounia (I'm over her), and then, in a disturbing scene reeking of attempted rape, holds her against her will, and then releases her when she screams she cannot love him. His suicide left me confused.
Then there is the main character, Raskolnikov. What struck me most about Raskolnikov was that he didn't care about the actual crime. He did not care. He cared that it was not a success; that he did not become this "Napoleon-like" figure by committing it. In his mind he was an uber-human, but did not get the satisfaction of or ...some proof that validated his status as an uber-being, when committing the crime. He has zero remorse.
I think he was mentally ill. His mood swings, all within one train of thought, were all over the place. He was erratic. He was lunatic.
He was lazy. He does not want to work and lays in bed for days at a time, just thinking. Is he depressed? He feels above people, yet he does not want to do a single thing to get himself out of his poverty. He does not even commit the crime FOR money, just because he feels he can because he is above the law. And this even, does not bring him satisfaction.
The deed done, he acts insane. Yes, when one commits a crime like he did, it would make any human being erratic. But he was not acting erratic because of remorse, it was because of insanity. In his mind, nefarious people were everywhere. Everyone had a secret agenda to get to him, even the most innocent remark was taken as "he knows!" The internal conflict was so confusing, so all-over-the-place. He was a broken man.
He can't love; not his mother, not his sister, no one. Not until the very end, and I really don't know where that revelation came from. The revelation, the last "A-Ha! I Love Sonia!!" came too quickly for me. He's still not remorseful, even in jail. He just realized he loves Sonia and now wants to live life. I wonder what the future held for those two. I wonder if the mood swings and insanity reared their ugly heads in this relationship. It ends optimistically, but I don't see Raskolnikov changing in a blink.