Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

For those of you who might be afraid of Russian literature because of the long, hard to pronounce names, this is a great novel for you.  I’ve read a few things from Dostoevsky and he is clear and understandable. 
Written in 1917, Crime and Punishment follows impoverished university drop-out, Raskolnikov, as he murders and robs a pawnbroker and her sister, then has to suffer under the consequences of his actions. 

Raskolnikov is quite possibly the world’s worst criminal and that is kind of Dostoevsky’s point.  The crime occurs in the beginning of the story and we watch the character unravel under the guilt of it all.  There was no physical evidence tying him to the crime.  He could have gotten away with it if he had kept his cool, but instead, Raskolnikov seemed to sabotage himself over and over—behaving nervous and guilty, getting defensive, failing to come forward to the police right away with his involvement with the pawnbroker, raving about the crime while suffering from fever.  But Raskolnikov’s actions support Dostoevsky’s belief that people who are basically good will suffer more from their conscience than the actual punishment itself. 

Is Raskolnikov a good person?  He killed two women with an ax and stole from them.  On the other hand, when his scoundrel of a drinking buddy dies, leaving a sick wife and several children behind, he gives the widow most of his cash.  He also seems to have genuine affection for his sister and saves her from making a mistake of a marriage for the sake of security.  He even falls in love with a kind-hearted prostitute, someone whom many men would not consider worthy of love. 

Overall, I give Crime and Punishment

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Psychology – 5 bookmarks
Literary Merit – 4 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Robert Pattinson (Raskolnikov), Emily Blunt (Sonia), Michael Sheen (Detective Petrovich), Tom Hardy (Razumihin)

1 comment:

  1. I love Crime & Punishment! I read it in high school and then asked for a copy for Christmas. I still wonder what Jason, Bev and I would have come up with if Mr. Albrecht had let us write our theme on the "Three Hee's." LOL