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mea505
11-10-2008, 02:13 AM
Although the two books have nothing in common (other than information), I have found that reading "Demons" along with "Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia," by Orlando Figes, is extremely helpful. Demons is a novel, whereas Natasha's Dance is an academic book; but reading something about the cultural history of Russia has been extremely helpful in understanding some of the things that are said and done in "Demons," so much so that I encourage others to read "something" about the cultural history while or before tackling "Demons." One can find "Natasha's Dance," by Orlando Figes online, specifically at Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

I have often found this to be true when reading novels, specifically those that have originated from some form of historical value, as has "Demons." It is actually a combination of two other books that the author was working on at the time, well before attempting to write "Demons." Reading other material certainly does help, and in this case, it helps one understand why the characters "do" certain things.

Concerning another aspect of the novel, "Demons," it is sometimes extremely difficult to ascertain the subject of sentences in the book because of the author's overuse of the pronoun. This can be appreciated by an example in the text, as follows:

She jumped up at once and threw on a black shawl. Dasha flushed a little again, and watched her with questioning eyes. Varvara Petrovna turned suddenly to her with a face flaming with anger.

Of course, it is obvious, if one reads the sentences more than once, along with the other material that is in the book, who the author is trying to refer to; however, at first glance, it is almost impossible to understand who "she is" and who "her is" in the three sentences described.

QUESTION: In the 3rd Chapter of the novel, "Demons," what is "The Sins of Others?" What does it represent? Is it real, or is it an imaginary and fictional force thought up by the characters in the chapter?

--- Mark

bazarov
11-10-2008, 06:04 PM
Concerning another aspect of the novel, "Demons," it is sometimes extremely difficult to ascertain the subject of sentences in the book because of the author's overuse of the pronoun. This can be appreciated by an example in the text, as follows:


Maybe your translator just made a lousy job.



QUESTION: In the 3rd Chapter of the novel, "Demons," what is "The Sins of Others?" What does it represent? Is it real, or is it an imaginary and fictional force thought up by the characters in the chapter?



You will find out that later, if you didn't get in first time reading. Who said that? Stepan Trofimovich. When? When Varvara Petrovna asked ( ordered would be more appropriate) him to marry Darya Pavlovna. Why did she do that? To move Darya from her son....I will stop here, now you try further with others who said that :D

Shortly, who's sin it is that they all must suffer? And yes, it's real.

Truthlover
07-18-2009, 12:52 PM
Regarding use of pronouns, I found a clue that works for me: the person referred to by a pronoun in a new paragraph is usually the last person mentioned in the paragraph immediately preceding. This is another case where we must pay full attention to what we are reading. I too wish that Dostoyevsky had made it easier for us but, again, the work we put into this novel more than pays off. The message is powerful and is helping me understand contemporary problems, especially about "liberals" and "conservatives."

Pardon me for adding this quote from Sir Winston Churchill: "Anyone under 30 who is not a liberal has not heart. And anyone over 30 who is not a conservative, has no brain." I don't mean to offend anyone, but I think Dostoyevsky would have agreed with this great British Prime Minister.