Reading journal: Crime and Punishment by Fjodor Dostojevski. Entry 2.

I will make this short, since I don’t have many comments on this part of the book.

  • This part of the novel is an emotional roller-coaster. It starts with Raskolnikov’s wild attempts to destroy all evidence of the crime and his feverish panic when called in to the police station for an interview (over an unrelated matter), descends into pathos when his fever is described, although whether it is caused by real illness or is merely a psychosomatic effect of his shock and guilt after the murder is left up to the reader to decide (probably a mixture of both). Then there is a comic interlude when his prospective brother-in-law Lusjin arrives and both the reader and Raskolnikov discover him to be vain and pompous, both of which Raskolnikov mocks loudly but the man either does not understand or pretends not to. There follows another slip into almost mad despair with suicidal thoughts, followed by a very sad and pathetic scene which nevertheless lifts Raskolnikov’s spirits. Raskolnikov’s despair and guilt are never far away, however, so that one feels almost guilty for laughing at the funny parts. All of this is brilliantly done and never feels overdramatic.

  • That another man’s death should make Raskolnikov decide not to give himself up to the police creates a great opportunity for a dramatic twist in the narrative. It seems to me that his apparent decision to do something for the dead man's family could either lead to his redemption or his doom.

  • Marmeladof has resurfaced, if only briefly. His daughter Sonja has been introduced, and in a way that makes me think she will play some part in what is to come, either as Raskolnikov's love interest or his conscience made flesh.

  • I also have a feeling about Dunja, Raskolnikov’s sister, and his friend Rasumikhin – that there might be a romance in the cards, or at least unrequited love.

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