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Thread: Psycho Killer, The Russian Edition

  1. #151
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Well, I’ll weigh in on the memorial dinner. I’m sure critics over the years have found deep meaning in it, but I found myself sort of snickering all the way through it. You see, it reminded me of just about every family get-together I’ve ever been to.

    To channel Seinfeld again — Shall we begin with the airing of grievances? I got a lot of problems with you people!
    Uhhhh...

  2. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellsapoppin View Post
    fire away ...
    I stopped before the concluding point but luhzin accused Sonia of stealing a hundred rouble note from him. she says she didn't do it, and as they searched her, the note fell out of one her pockets. she still says she didn't do it.

    its interesting how we also want beauty to be good and if she did indeed steal it, maybe itd be all the more tragic on that account.

    raskol is eyeing her in the midst of the conflict---Dostoevsky says his eyes were glowing. im not sure how to take that yet---maybe something along the lines of admiration.

    I havent noticed a festivus pole in the chapter yet.
    Last edited by bounty; 02-22-2024 at 06:38 PM.

  3. #153
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Sonia - Mary Magdalene ??

    After a prolonged argument/discussion among Rascal, Raz, Svidrigailov, and Dounia, Rascal ventures to Sonia's garret. It is clearly evident that he is troubled by his conscience. She also is not doing all that well. Earlier, there had been some discussion that only the sick (mentally, spiritually, physically) see ghosts. She believes she sees her dead father. Rascal says "perhaps there is no god at all". He proceeds to kiss her feet and explains that "I bowed down to all the suffering of humanity".

    Throughout this I was reminded of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany in the New Testament. Both of them were said to be women of sin which suggests they were prostitutes. Mary of Bethany washed Jesus's feet as an act of penance. Mary Magdalene served Jesus also as an act of penance. "What would I be without God" she asks. "Ras says "she is a religious maniac". Sonia prostitutes herself in order to financially support her family. Ras says all this results in "shame and dogmatic - better to go into the water".

    Ras asks about Lazarus who was raised from the dead. "I shall be a religious maniac - it's infectious". He proceeds to tell her "I have abandoned my family today" and (paraphrasing Chernychevksy) asks "what is to be done?" His answer: "break what must be broken = freedom and power".

    He indicates that he knows who killed Lizaveta leaving Sonia with the idea that he may or will soon reveal the answer to that mystery.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  4. #154
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    wait until you get to chapter 4 in the next part poppin---raskols interaction with Sonia is huge!

  5. #155
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    it popped into my head today that Katerina is in great need and raskol has a stash stolen from his victim. if I remember rightly though, he doesn't know what it consists of.

  6. #156
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Rascal at the Police Compound

    Part 4, Ch 5:

    Rascal retained some degree of discretion in that he observes the subtle but persuasive methods used by cops to ferret out suspects. He goes promptly on time in the morning to the compound but for some unknown reason is kept waiting. "He looked uneasily and suspiciously about him to see whether there was not some guard, some mysterious watch being kept on him to prevent his escape." After that prolonged wait Porfiry Petrovitch (cop) finally calls him in and seemingly takes forever to get to the bottom of why he was summoned to the compound. Ras then challenges him, thus:

    “Tell me, please,” he asked suddenly, looking almost insolently at him and taking a kind of pleasure in his own insolence. “I believe it’s a sort of legal rule, a sort of legal tradition—for all investigating lawyers—to begin their attack from afar, with a trivial, or at least an irrelevant subject, so as to encourage, or rather, to divert the man they are cross-examining, to disarm his caution and then all at once to give him an unexpected knock-down blow with some fatal question. Isn’t that so? It’s a sacred tradition, mentioned, I fancy, in all the manuals of the art?” The cop replies with "I look upon you simply as a visitor ... “You see, I’m a bachelor, a man of no consequence and not used to society."

    Ras knows the cop is trying to lay a trap and he is doing his best to avoid one. Cop does his best to put words into his mouth and makes references to matters that are of no consequence to the case at hand. "An examining lawyer cannot be bounded by formality at every step. The work of investigation is, so to speak, a free art in its own way ..."

    Ras responds to the game playing by asserting, "“It’s a lesson,” he thought, turning cold. “This is beyond the cat playing with a mouse, like yesterday. He can’t be showing off his power with no motive… prompting me; he is far too clever for that… he must have another object. What is it? It’s all nonsense, my friend, you are pretending, to scare me! ... let us see what you have in store for me.”" He angrily threatens to storm out of the office when something quite unexpected (or was it so) happens.



    Ch 6

    Nikolay "confesses" to the murder! “I am guilty! Mine is the sin! I am the murderer,” Nikolay articulated suddenly, rather breathless, but speaking fairly loudly.

    ''For ten seconds there was silence as though all had been struck dumb; even the warder stepped back, mechanically retreated to the door, and stood immovable.

    “What is it?” cried Porfiry Petrovitch, recovering from his momentary stupefaction.

    “I… am the murderer,” repeated Nikolay, after a brief pause.

    “What… you… what… whom did you kill?” Porfiry Petrovitch was obviously bewildered.

    Nikolay again was silent for a moment.

    “Alyona Ivanovna and her sister Lizaveta Ivanovna, I… killed… with an axe. Darkness came over me,” he added suddenly, and was again silent."




    “I suppose you didn’t expect it?” said Raskolnikov ... Porfiry had shown almost all his cards—of course, he had risked something in showing them—and if he had really had anything up his sleeve (Raskolnikov reflected), he would have shown that, too. What was that “surprise”? Was it a joke? Had it meant anything?

    Thereupon Ras meets the man who called him "murderer".


    When I read the book years ago, like Ras, I wondered if that "confession" was staged in order to make Ras more vulnerable to the subtle police tactics. I'm sure that will unfold as I read on.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  7. #157
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Ya know, I wondered about that, but in the translation I’m reading it makes it pretty clear Porfiry is as surprised as Raskol at the false confession. I thought the detective was about at arrest him but was thrown off by Nikolai the painter, sort of, bursting in and confessing. I could almost see the thought bubble over Porfiry’s head — what the…!?

    Okie-Dokie, I’m going back over some my highlights, chapter 1, the act of the murder itself:

    He could not waste even one more moment. He took the axe all the way out, swung it with both hands, scarcely aware of himself, and almost without effort, almost mechanically, brought the butt-end down on her head. His own strength seemed to have no part in it. But the moment he brought the axe down, strength was born in him.
    Any thoughts? It almost seems as though Raskol was a witness to the murder, not a volitional actor in it, and then a “strength was born in him.”
    Uhhhh...

  8. #158
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    im almost done with the first chapter of the last section.

    yes, I agree, Russian columbo seemed surprised.

    as far as the confession---(I think it was) raz who was just recently visiting raskol to chastise him for his treatment of his family, and he mentioned the confession as if it were a done deal and one wonders the effect that will have on raskol.

    the murder---the re-reading of what you just posted reminds me almost of an out of body experience.

    just finished chapter 2 of the last section---talk about your Russian columbo!

    back a few pages to a meaningful passage (p400)

    it had been too stifling, too cramping, the burden had been too agonizing....and he had agreed at the time with Sonia, he had agreed in his heart he could not go on living alone with such a thing on his mind!
    I used to be a huge fan of the reality show survivor---one of the things I noted about the contestants was how often they would do themselves in because the burden of their secret knowledge was too great for them not to share.
    Last edited by bounty; 02-27-2024 at 03:52 PM.

  9. #159
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    Part 5, chapter 1

    Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin has pangs of guilt over whether he should have given Dounia and her mother more money as he wanted to have control over them. He muses, "why was I such a Jew?" and realizes that he made a mistake in not doing so.

    He goes onward to the memorial dinner for Marmeladov. His widow Katerina Ivanovna Marmeladova ('proud, excessively proud') spent ten roubles for the dinner - this evidently to show that she was somehow not impoverished and of some financial means. The dinner draws a number of interesting characters which kinds remind me of Bohemian type parties I attended in NYC in the late 1970s and early 1980s: lots of intellectual types speculating on "free marriages", the woman question, marital dissolution (always a big no no among Christians in those days and up to the early 1960s), progressive politics, nihilism, communal living, "stupid dullards". He is quite uncertain of himself among these people. He wonders,

    Even if he had been certain that all the progressives were fools like him, it would not have allayed his uneasiness. All the doctrines, the ideas, the systems, with which Andrey Semyonovitch pestered him had no interest for him. He had his own object—he simply wanted to find out at once what was happening here. Had these people any power or not? Had he anything to fear from them? Would they expose any enterprise of his? And what precisely was now the object of their attacks? Could he somehow make up to them and get round them if they really were powerful? Was this the thing to do or not? Couldn’t he gain something through them? In fact hundreds of questions presented themselves.

    He makes a prediction of an anticipated Utopian society ~ "in the future society there will be no need of assets, but her part will have another significance, rational and in harmony with her environment ... The community is established that there should be no such rôles. In a community, such a rôle is essentially transformed and what is stupid here is sensible there, what, under present conditions, is unnatural becomes perfectly natural in the community. It all depends on the environment. It’s all the environment and man himself is nothing ... " and then he goes on to praise free marriages, especially those that are childless and non committal.

    Luzhin doesn't appear to care for women all that much unless they can be used for his personal gratification. Indeed, he appears to be a character with much ambition and one who does not hesitate to exploit others for his own gain. As a consequence, he does not appear to have many friends in the story, if any at all.


    And one last note - I misplaced my note re something in the book which appeared to suggest that 'cleaning out the cesspool is more honorable than the institution of the family' or something like that. I believe it was either Luzhin or Lebeziatnikov. Something to do with social standing which, again, is a recurring theme in Dostoyevsky's writings particularly in C & P.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  10. #160
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Yep, Luzhin cares mainly for Luzhin. I don’t think he feels guilty so much about not giving Dunya and Pulcheria enough money as he is remorseful he didn’t see how giving them more money would make them more beholding to him.

    “Moreover, it was also a mistake not to give them any money at all,” he was thinking, as he sadly made his way back to Lebezyatnikov's closet. “Devil take it, why did I turn into such a Jew? There wasn't even any calculation in it! I thought I'd keep them on a short tether for a bit, and get them to see me as their Providence, and now look! ... Pah! ... No, if I'd handed them, say, fifteen hundred meanwhile, for the trousseau, and for presents, for all sorts of little boxes, toilet cases, trinkets, fabrics, and all that trash from Knop's, and from the English store,[106] things would be better now...and firmer! They wouldn't have refused me so easily! They're of such mold that they'd be sure to regard it as their duty, in case of refusal, to return the gifts and the money; and to return them would be a bit difficult, and a pity! And conscience would prick them: how can you suddenly chase a man out like this, when all along he's been so generous and rather delicate?...Hm! I missed that one!” And snarling once more, Pyotr Petrovich told himself then and there—but only himself, naturally—that he was a fool.
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think Luzhin’s Jewish. I think he’s using that expression because he’s thrifty. My mom used to use an unfortunate expression when she was particularly successful in the negotiation over the price of a used car or something. She’d say, with a smile, she “jewed him down.” She probably picked it up from her father and never thought too much about it, but eventually she quit using it. I think she figured out it just wasn’t kosher.
    Uhhhh...

  11. #161
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    Luzhin

    Originally Posted by Sancho
    Yep, Luzhin cares mainly for Luzhin. I don’t think he feels guilty so much about not giving Dunya and Pulcheria enough money as he is remorseful he didn’t see how giving them more money would make them more beholding to him.



    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think Luzhin’s Jewish. I think he’s using that expression because he’s thrifty. My mom used to use an unfortunate expression when she was particularly successful in the negotiation over the price of a used car or something. She’d say, with a smile, she “jewed him down.” She probably picked it up from her father and never thought too much about it, but eventually she quit using it. I think she figured out it just wasn’t kosher.


    This episode is a prelude to the dinner party which reveals much about the character of the people in the novel. Indeed, Luzhin is a villain who doesn't give a flip about anyone. But then neither does anyone else or so it appears as, evidently, the only people who show up for the commemorative dinner are those low lifes who are more interested in getting their bellies full rather than honoring the poor dude who just got croaked. Interestingly, only Rascal was thought to have any class (they thought he was headed towards a distinguished legal career) and refinement.

    Katerina Ivanova (widow) treats the dinner guests like crap. But she made sure everyone ate and drank to their full. Throughout the unceremonious proceedings all looked disgustful or expressed disgust and mistrust about one another. There were also negative expressions about foreigners such as Germans and Poles {interestingly, no anti Semitism}. Landlady Amalia Ivanova (I don't believe there is any relation between the two women) is of German origin. There is much talk about social status and pretended advanced social rank. The widow claims to be descended of high rank and says she hopes (or had hoped) to use inherited monies to create a school for girls. The landlady says to always mind die Wäsche or the laundry. In other words, always check for propriety under all circumstances. A statement dismissed by the widow. Everyone was enthralled by their conflict and wanted to see a fight.

    That's some company these people keep! I couldn't help but laugh at this segment.

    But then things get really serious.

    Luzhin (just a note to Sancho ~ Luzhin so far as I know is an old Russian name with most of these people being Orthodox Christian, not Jewish) appears and makes a serious charge against Sonya who had arrived late. After some wrangling, a 100RR note falls out of her pocket. He claims he will prosecute but relents and offers to dismiss all charges. Then, Lebeziatnikov fires out against him and says that he saw Luzhin slip the money into Sonya's pocket in order to cause trouble. The entire crowd in the party start to get hostile. Luzhin accuses him of being a hate filled radical liberal and atheist. "I do not agree with your free thinking ... propositions!"

    This is when Rascal finally stands up and asserts that he was aware of Luzhin's plan because it was part of his deal to show he had been victimized when the family condemned Luzhin's proposals to Sonya. That this was all a set up to make the family, esp Sonya, to look bad in order to make him look good.

    Now the entire party is furious at Luzhin who does not challenge them and he storms out of the building after vowing to get revenge on all of them.

    Interesting how the conservative, Orthodox, traditional Russian turned out to be the crook while everyone else was either victim or used by him. Kinda reminds me of today's headlines with politician Boebert always claiming to subscribe to moral, Christian principles while she engages in open drunkeness and perverse sexual activity and while her sons commits crimes and is thrown into jail (same with Palin but that's a different story). Biggest advocates being biggest hypocrites. As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun.

    Luzhin reminds me of Tulkinghorn in Dicken's Bleak House as both were crooked lawyers who sought to exploit others for their financial gain or for social advancement. Tulkinghorn paid a steep price for his corruption. We shall see what transpires next for Luzhin.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  12. #162
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Haha. Poppin, it’s funny that Rep. Boebert comes to mind when reading the memorial dinner chapter. That chapter reminded me of just about every family get-together I’ve ever been to, on the Irish side anyway. Every once in a while we’ve had firearms produced to settle arguments, produced but not discharged thank god. So I’m thinking firearms probably appear at every Boebert family reunion. In fact, I’m thinking it’d be foolish for a Boebert family member to not be packing heat at a get-together. To borrow a phrase from Hunter Thompson, her people seem like the kind of people who live their lives — armed and drunk.
    Uhhhh...

  13. #163
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    Wink

    Ha, ha!

    GREAT post!
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  14. #164
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
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    In that segment above a certain Madame Kobilatnikov and her writing entitled 'General Treatise on the Positive Method' was mentioned within the social context of right and wrong. I tried but could not find anything like that online. Perhaps such a writing does not even exist. The Polish term lajdak (roughly meaning bad guy) was used by the three Poles to describe Luzhin as they made threats against him. Very memorable segment in C&P ~ Part 5 Ch 3.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  15. #165
    Registered User bounty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellsapoppin View Post
    ...Interesting how the conservative, Orthodox, traditional Russian turned out to be the crook while everyone else was either victim or used by him. Kinda reminds me of today's headlines with politician Boebert always claiming to subscribe to moral, Christian principles while she engages in open drunkeness and perverse sexual activity and while her sons commits crimes and is thrown into jail (same with Palin but that's a different story). Biggest advocates being biggest hypocrites. As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun.
    I enjoy an insightful tying of literature to current events; however, when its done from a position of both animosity and ignorance, the combination is too much to bear.
    Last edited by bounty; 03-01-2024 at 05:02 PM.

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