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07-28-2003, 01:00 AM
"Look into it more carefully!" It may be a satire of 19th century Russian society... but I have to wonder if Dostoevsky didn't rather write a satire about himself... and in doing so, humanity in general. His ravings over his superior insight, inferior social status, and the setting of the story cannot be taken as its whole. The man underground writes, at the last, "As for what concerns me in particular I have only in my life carried to an extreme what you have not dared to carry halfway, and what's more, you have taken your cowardice for good sense, and have found comfort in deceiving yourselves." Despite his earliest confessions, I think that after all of our criticism of his wretched existence, he turns it suddenly around and says something true. Dostoevsky is saying, this man does indeed exist, and, though we haven't carried it as far, he exists in you and I. Uncomfortable as that may be. He then writes, "So that perhaps, after all, there is more life in me than in you. Look into it more carefully! We are stillborn.... We are developing a taste for it... But enough; I don't want to write more from "Underground." Dostoevsky means more than he seems to at first glance... He is again writing that we are dead from birth and loving it. Atleast he knows it. This is the theme of the book, I believe. He is writing of the nature of man... the state of falleness, and yet the value and the startling fact of the individual... the puzzle that is man. (Note: perhaps this could be considered another Christian theme in his works?) The underground man continues to write from his grave, the closing statement tells us. But it is almost as if Dostoevsky, like this man with Liza, leaves us with the possibility of really living. Otherwise "...your memory on earth will end.... for you neither tear, nor sigh, nor remembrance; no one in the whole world will ever come to you, your name will vanish from the face of the earth--as though you had never existed, never been born at all! Nothing but filth and mud, however you knock at your coffin lid at night, when the dead arise, however you cry: 'Let me out, kind people, to live in the light of day! My life was no life at all; my life has been thrown away like a dish- clout; it was drunk away in the tavern at the Haymarket; let me out, kind people, to live in the world again.'" All this from a character we'd at first call "mentally troubled". Rather, look again and there's value and a sort of beauty... even if he never lets go of his resentment and he clutches at his coffin forever. Take another look: "So that perhaps, after all, there is more life in me than in you. Look into it more carefully! Why, we don't even know what living means now, what it is, and what it is called? Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We are oppressed at being men--men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalised man. We are stillborn, and for generations past have been begotten, not by living fathers, and that suits us better and better. We are developing a taste for it. Soon we shall contrive to be born somehow from an idea. But enough; I don't want to write more from "Underground."<br><br><br>

09-13-2003, 01:00 AM
this is my first book to read of dostoevsky....i had the book the idiot...a rather old and collectors item book with great illustrations in it ..but i never read it probably in fear that i would ruin it or break it ...i am on social security and i have a mental disability...i get lots of money free from the government...free medical benifits both medicare and medicade....i get low cost housing with no utilities...i get food stamps and i have so much time on me hands to do what ever i please...this book really hit home with me ..it seem i was the character in the book at times..sometimes it was disturbing to read cause some of the character wasnt like me at all...and i must say that i am very relieved to have finished it....i felt like i was on the edge of a nervous break down at times reading it but it was so interesting and fun at the same time that i had to go on reading...and then there were the times when i was more relaxed and i listen to every word he said..i have many talents ..writing..art..music...photography and so on...i know what its like to live underground in the system...most of you people that write these comments dont know jack about this book but i know you try to act as if you do...keep trying you are almost there ! hehe

05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
The underground man doesn't exist, he is a satire of Russian society in the Nineteeth century, where intelligents isn't important it is about you social status in society that makes you what you are and intelligance can't get you there. Also it could be said that the underground man is insecure about his sexuality.

03-09-2007, 04:28 PM
Yes "Underground" is a meditation of how our society caters the "unconscious" men, the colonels, etc. Second half leads to the excellent climax with Liza, and Dostoevsky does give us the possibility of life. But after it is all over, we see where the "beautiful life" has taken him. He is now underground! Good book, but BK is the best. :thumbs_up