Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crime and Punishment

Lately I am reading classics - trying to plan ahead for teaching English to ARG in the next few years.

Just finished reading Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment".

I don't have the time, energy or (frankly) the desire to write a whole essay about the novel. But I do have a few thoughts.

What a hard book to start. The first several chapters are almost painful. Rodya, the main character and the perpetrator of the crime is not a loveable character. But worse than that, Dostoyevsky gives us a minds-eye view of all Rodya's thoughts leading up to, during and after the crime. The guy is nuts. And living inside his head for hours on end is disturbing.

But I perservered. Not just because I thought I ought to, but  because there was something strangely compelling. I think it was the dialogue between the characters that grabbed me. And the fact that there were more characters, not just the crazy Rodya. The exchanges between the characters were fascinating. I don't even know why - I'll confess. But I was enthralled by the conversations. And further on in the story, honorable and virtuous characters are introduced that round out the cast.

The other thing that Dostoyevsky does masterfully is describe the inner dialogue that goes through people's minds. He gives glimpses into the thought processes of a few characters - and he is so spot on. I've never read anyone who can accurately, or perhaps better said - realistically, narrate a characters inner thoughts.And for those characters whose heads aren't opened up, such a complete picture is painted that the reader can't help but understand what is going through their hearts and minds.

So, in the end, I really loved the book! I couldn't put it down. I couldn't wait to learn Rodya's ultimate fate.

If I had more time, I'd write about what I thought of the ending. But ARG needs to computer now for school work. Maybe another time.


Beth said...


I thought I had posted a comment--and was wondering why you never responded. Now I see that my comment didn't go through! I will try again.

I am currently listening to Crime and Punishment. I am just over 1/3 of the way through. I tell you--that beginning was rough! I kept going because I had just finished Brothers Karamazov and although I can't say I enjoyed the book, I did find it compelling and am glad I read it. Also, reading the Spark Notes helped me a lot to appreciate things about the book I otherwise would have missed.

I didn't finish reading your post b/c I don't want to spoil anything in C&P. Is there anything in you post that will give away surprises?

Sue said...

Nope - no spoilers here!

Mike said...

This book is probably the only classic that I've read as an adult. I enjoyed it well enough, but I find it hard to discard my usual sci-fi fare in favor of more classics. I'm impressed by your motivation.