Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crime and Punishment: Part Two Summary


C&P is a nail-biter, or a page-turner if you do not bite your nails.  Dostoevsky knows how to lead the reader through suspense.  However, this reader still does not fully understand the animosity toward the old woman, the pawnbroker, enough to murder her.  Maybe that will be revealed later, or maybe I missed it.  

I wonder if Dostoevsky read Edgar Allen Poe's "Tell Tale Heart, written in the 1840s.  C&P was written about 20 years later.  Hmmm.

Part Two Summary

The Punishment

Raskolnikov is frantic about the traces of blood and the items he took from the old woman, and he quickly hides the evidence.  Then he receives a summons from the police, unrelated to the crime, but associated to a debt he owes his landlady; while there, he overhears the detective giving details about the crime scene, and he faints.   

He takes his stolen goods to an empty yard and buries them under a large stone as if his guilt will go away now.  He visits his friend, Razumikhin, who, while as disheveled as Rask, is at least lively, friendly, and concerned for his friend's health.  He even shares his work with him as a translator and gives him money, but Rask throws a tantrum and leaves angry; he even gets rid of the money.  That night he has a violent dream in which he thinks he hears the detective beating his landlady in the stairwell.  

Days pass, and Rask is unconscious or hallucinating; but he has been taken care of by Razumikhim, his landlady, and a doctor, Zassimov.  Razumikhim has even brought new clothing for Rask, although he is offended by the gift.  Money from his mother was also delivered to him.

While in his room, Razumikhin, Zossimov, and the housekeeper talk about the murders and how a painter has been charged with the crime because he was working in the building at the time and had earrings belonging to the pawnbroker.  Rask becomes unnerved by the details as they argue about what could have really taken place.

Meanwhile, Dunya’s fiancé, Luzhin, comes to Rask’s apartment and introduces himself, but he is rather arrogant.  Razumikhin challenges him on a few issues insulting Luzhin, and when he gets up to leave, he tries to add to the conversation about the murders; but Rask explodes over his engagement to Dunya.  At this point, Rask kicks everyone out of his room, and Zossimov is suspicious that Rask behaves oddly every time the subject of the murders comes up.

Rask puts on the new clothes, takes the money from his mother, and goes to a café where he reads the paper about the murders.  The inspector is there and approaches Rask, who is on the verge of admitting what he knows about the crime causing the inspector to become suspicious; but his behavior is so odd, that the inspector is sure Rask is delirious.  Rask decides he must go to the station and confess, and on the way he comes to the crime scene where he goes inside the room and almost gives himself up again.

The Beginning of Change

A crowd forms around a man who has been struck by a carriage, and Rask recognizes him as Marmeladov.  He helps carry him home.  Here we witness a different Raskolnikov, as if he were awakened from his self-destructive trance.  He seems alive.  Since Marmeladov dies, and his wife is distraught over how to feed the children, Raskolnikov gives her what money he has left and promises to return tomorrow.  Then Rask goes to Razumikhin’s apartment, and they walk to Rask’s place together where they find that Rask’s mother and sister are waiting for him in his room.

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