Page 13 of 14 FirstFirst ... 3891011121314 LastLast
Results 181 to 195 of 204

Thread: Psycho Killer, The Russian Edition

  1. #181
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Porfiry Petrovich Part VI, Ch 2

    Petrovich plays his cat and mouse game with Rascal once again. The latter can see this and becomes quite uncertain as he did before. The cop admits to spreading rumors with Razumihin and sought to exploit his anger and unease. He admits "I played pranks on you." He expects Nicolay to renounce his admission to committing the crime because of inconsistencies in his testimony.

    "Not the work of of a Nicolay -- YOU are!" [p 470]

    "The rascal is an inveterate drunkard and notoriously so." {see? he was a rascal after all!}

    He tries to get Ras to fess up. "Seek and ye shall find. This may be God's means for bringing you to Him ... Perhaps God is saving you for something ... keep a good heart and have less fear! Are you afraid of the great expiation before you? No, it would be shameful to be afraid of it. Since you have taken such a step, you must harden your heart. There is justice in it. You must fulfil the demands of justice. I know that you don’t believe it, but indeed, life will bring you through. You will live it down in time. What you need now is fresh air, fresh air, fresh air!” ... suffering is good.''

    Ras steadfastly denies any guilt. But Petrovich won't arrest hum just yet. He will allow him to mull over everything and, in time, to come forward with an admission. "Come, till we meet! Good thoughts and sound decisions to you!”


    I find this sequence to be fascinating.

    Over the years I've read of police and government authorities during the Tsarist era to have been highly brutal. They used brutal and inhumane tactics to get people to confess to crimes whether they actually committed them or not. Because of this, many innocent along with guilty people were forced into exile. Here, Petrovich plays cat and mouse. He doesn't stomp on or threaten Rascal with violence. Instead he employs innuendo, pranks, plants ideas and words into his mouth. He then lets him know that he will ultimately arrest him. In all my readings of classical Russian literature, this, so far as I can recall, was the only time cops were tactful and diplomatic in their dealings with a crook or a suspect.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  2. #182
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Beyond nowhere
    Blog Entries
    The quotes are very much to the point. Schiller was indeed concerned with crime and punishment as shows one of his most famous ballads.

    "The Cranes of Ibykus

    Unto the songs and chariot fighting
    Which all the strains of Greece are joining,
    On Corinth's isthmus festive gay,
    Made Ibycus, gods' friend, his way.
    The gift of song Apollo offer'd,
    To him the sweeten'd voice of song;
    Thus on a light staff forth he wander'd,
    From Rhegium, with god along.
    Now beckons high on mountain ridges
    High Corinth to the wand'rer's glances,
    nd then doth he, with pious dread,
    to Poseidon's spruce grove tread.
    Naught stirs about him, just a swarming
    Of cranes which join him on his way,
    Which towards the distant southern warming
    Are flying forth in squadrons grey.
    "Receive my greetings, squads befriended,
    Which o'er the sea have me escorted!
    I take you as a goodly sign,
    Your lot, it doth resemble mine
    From distant lands we are arriving
    And pray for a warm dwelling place.
    Be the hospitable good willing,
    Who wards the stranger from disgrace!"
    And merrily he strides on further
    And finds himself i'th' forest's center
    Abruptly, on the narrow way,
    Two murderers upon him prey.
    He must himself for battle ready,
    Yet soon his wearied hand sinks low,
    It had the lyre's strings drawn so gently,
    Yet ne'er the power of the bow.
    He calls on men, and on the godly.
    No savior answers his entreaty,
    However wide his voice he sends,
    No living thing him here attends.
    So must I here foresaken perish, -
    On foreign soil, unwept-for be,
    Through evil scoundrels' hands thus vanish,
    Where no avenger do I see!"
    And gravely struck he sinketh under,
    The feathers of the cranes then thunder,
    He hears, though he can see no more,
    Their nearing voices dreadful roar.
    "From you, ye cranes that are up yonder,
    If not another voice doth rise,
    Be rais'd indictments for my murder!"
    He calls it out, and then he dies.
    The naked body is discover'd,
    And soon, though 'tis from wounds disfigur'd,
    The host in Corinth doth discern
    Those traits, which are his dear concern.
    "And must I thee so rediscover
    And I had hop'd with wreath of pine
    To crown the temples of the singer,
    Which from his glow of fame do shine!"
    And all the guests hear it lamenting,
    While at Poseidon's fest assembling,
    The whole of Greece with pain doth toss,
    Each heart doth suffer from his loss;
    The people crowd to the Prytanis
    Astorm, his rage they supplicate
    To vengeance of the slain man's tresses,
    With murd'rers' blood to expiate.
    Yet where's the clue, that from the crowding,
    Of people streaming forth and thronging,
    Enchanted by the pomp of sport,
    The blacken'd culprit doth report?
    Is't robbers, who him slew unbravely?
    Was't envy of a secret foe?
    That Helios can answer only,
    Who on each earthly thing doth glow.
    Perhaps with bold steps doth he saunter
    Just now across the Grecian center,
    While vengeance trails him in pursuit,
    He savors his transgression's fruit;
    Upon their very temple's op'ning
    He spites perhaps the gods, and blends
    Thus boldly in each human swelling,
    Which towards the theater ascends.
    For crowded bench to bench they're sitting,
    The stage's pillars are near breaking,
    Assembl'd from afar and near,
    The folk of Greece are waiting here;
    Just like the ocean waves' dull roaring,
    With humans teeming, swells the place
    In arched curves forever wid'ning
    Into the heaven's bluish space.
    Who names the names, who counts the people
    Who gather'd here together cordial?
    From Theseus' town, from Aulis' strand
    From Phocis, from the Spartan's land
    And from the distant Asian region,
    From every island did they hie
    And from the stage they pay attention
    To th' chorus's dread melody,
    Which, stern and grave, i'th' custom aged,
    With footsteps lingering and gauged
    Comes forward from the hinterground,
    The theater thus strolling round.
    Thus strideth forth no earthly woman,
    They are no mortal progeny!
    The giant size of each one's person
    Transcends by far what's humanly.
    Their loins a mantle black is striking,
    Within their fleshless hands they're swinging
    The torch's gloomy reddish glow,
    Within their cheeks no blood doth flow;
    And where the locks do lovely flutter,
    And friendly wave o'er human brow,
    There sees one snakes and here the adder
    Whose bellies swell with poison now.
    And in the circle ghastly twisted
    The melody o'th' hymn they sounded,
    Which through the heart so rending drives,
    The fetters round the villain ties.
    Reflection robbing, heart deluding
    The song of Erinnyes doth sound, it sounds,
    The hearer's marrow eating,
    And suffers not the lyre to sound.
    "He's blest, who free from guilt and failing
    The child's pure spirit is preserving!
    We may not near him vengingly,
    He wanders on life's pathway free.
    Yet woeful, woeful him, who hidden
    Hath done the deed of murder base!
    Upon his very soles we fasten,
    The black of night's most dreadful race.
    And hopes he to escape by fleeing,
    On wings we're there, our nets ensnaring
    Around his flying feet we throw,
    That he is to the ground brought low.
    So tiring never, him we follow,
    Repentance ne'er can us appease,
    Him on and on unto the Shadow
    And give him even there no ease."
    So singing are they roundly dancing,
    And silence like the hush of dying
    Lies o'er the whole house heavily,
    As if had near'd the deity.
    And solemnly, i'th' custom aged,
    The theater thus strolling round,
    With footsteps lingering and gauged
    They vanish in the hinterground.
    And 'twixt deceit and truth still hovers
    Each hesitating breast, and quivers
    And homage pays to that dread might,
    That judging watches hid from sight,
    Inscrutably, and fathomlessly,
    The darksome coil of fate entwines,
    Proclaims what's in the heart so deeply,
    Yet runs from where the sunlight shines.
    Then hears one from the highest footing
    A voice which suddenly is crying:
    "See there! See there, Timotheus,
    Behold the cranes of Ibycus!"
    And suddenly the sky is dark'ning,
    And o'er the theater away,
    One sees, within a blackish swarming,
    A host of cranes pass on its way.
    "Of Ibycus!" - That name beloved
    Each breast with new grief bath affected,
    As waves on waves in oceans rise,
    From mouth to mouth it quickly flies:
    0f Ibycus, whom we are mourning,
    Whom by a murd'rer's hand was slain!
    What is't with him? What is his meaning?
    And what is't with this flock of crane?"
    And louder still the question's growing,
    With lightning strikes it flies foreboding
    Through every heart: "Tis clear as light,
    'Tis the Eumenides' great might!
    The poet's vengeance is now granted,
    The murderer hath self-confess'd!
    Be him, who spoke the word, arrested,
    And him, to whom it was address'd!"
    But scarce the word had him departed,
    Fain had he in his breast it guarded;
    In vain! The mouth with horror white
    Brings consciousness of guilt to light.
    And 'fore the judge they're apprehended,
    The scene becomes the justice hall,
    And guilty have the villains pleaded,
    Struck by the vengeance beam they fall.

    translated by William F. Wertz

    Ibykus was a famous poet who came from Rhegium in Southern Italy, one of many poets in the 6th Cenury BC, who was attracted to the court of Polycrates of Samos. Schiller writes about Polycrates' court elsewhere. Ibykus was known for his popular love poems, but he also wrote longer mythological poems, fragments of which survived.

    It is called the "Ibykus principle," when, as even Shakespeare said in Hamlet, "Murder, though it have no tongue, will speak." History delivers poetic justice, and as Truth appears, no more weapon than Truth itself, will render to the memories of such criminals, the dramatic justice of which Shakespeare and Schiller wrote."
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

  3. #183
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Nice. Thanks for the poem, Danik. It explains a lot. I came across quite a few references to Schiller in the novel. Here’s one I highlighted. Part 6, Chapter 2. Porfiry is speaking to Raskol, who has, as usual, been sharpshooting him. So Porfiry, in his Lieutenant Columbo sort of way, is pretending to defer to his social better:

    Why are you smiling again—because I'm such a Schiller? I bet you think I'm trying to cajole you! And, who knows, maybe that's just what I'm doing, heh, heh, heh! Perhaps, Rodion Romanych, you shouldn't take me at my word, perhaps you even should never believe me completely—for such is my bent, I agree. Only I would like to add this: you yourself seem able to judge how far I am a base man and how far I am honest!”
    The annotation by Pevear and Volokhonsky is reductive but squarely on point:

    A broad reference to the works and ideas of the German poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805), who stood, in Dostoevsky's keyboard of references, for notions of the ideal, the "great and beautiful," and a simplified struggle for freedom, all with a Romantic glow. Having loved Schiller's poetry as a young man, Dostoevsky indulged in a good deal of indirect mockery of him in his later works. Further references to Schiller in CP are all in the same tone.
    That’s pretty much how many of us have traveled through life, eh? We start out optimistic and romantic but then we wind up cynical and beaten down.

  4. #184
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    #182 #183 = very good posts ~ thanks for both as they clarify points that had been lost on me
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  5. #185
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Arkady Svidrigailov ~ Revisited Ch 3 of Part VI

    The more I think about it, the more I find this character to be rather fascinating. Like Rascal, he is a villain. A thinking villain. One who, despite all his wickedness, is thoughtful, generous, gives money to the needy, and even served as momentary deus ex machina like Rascal did.

    For some reason Ras goes to see him after Petrovich leaves. He does not know why he felt so compelled to go there - ''that man had some hidden power over him ... The man always had some design, some project. '' Ras wonders if Svid had spoken to Petrovich -- could he have been the one who gave hints to the cop about Ras killing the old b___atch??? "I shall kill him" he thinks. Spots him at a tavern though they tried briefly to avoid each other. Meeting there was a 'miracle', not chance. Svid told him previously that their fates intertwined. "This is a town of crazy people". A hedonist, he admits to being a gambler, one who committed other crimes, possibly even murder ~ the indirect killing of a serf who committed suicide because he was victimized by cruelty, possibly the death of a a 15 year old mute, and he may have poisoned his wife Marfa Petrovna. Ras threatens him as he has designs on sister Dounia.

    While Svid is an atheist and does not believe in a Providence, he also feels there is no retribution nor salvation. Evil, to him, is the natural course of life. Life is forever a "burning ember" (perhaps an image of Hell). But he tells Ras that Dounia "saved him". I'm not sure from what but it may possibly be that she succeeded in preventing him from committing further evil. Ras was evil but was loved by Sonia and led to the path of salvation. Svid equally evil but not loved by Dounia which led to his ultimate doom. Both Ras and Svid were impulsive and felt guilt. Each sought to expiate their guilt by giving away money. Ras was from a lower class and this is why the state pursued him until his guilt could be fully established. Svid was from a higher class but was never prosecuted for his crimes. In the end Ras ''felt convinced that Svidrigailov was the most worthless scoundrel on the face of the earth.'' Svid admits, that to the world he is of no consequence ~ "a worthless low fellow like me". But Ras will have to answer to society for his crimes. Svid will not except answer except to himself.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  6. #186
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    ^ Good one, Poppin!

    Svidrigailov is an odd duck. A weird dude. A maaaaniac. I'm not sure I have him figured out. I tried to hate him, but he's just so charming (for a psycho-killer anyway). I mean Luzhin is easy to despise, but not so Svid. I'd think he's beyond redemption then he'd surprise me — by saving some orphans, or actually falling head over heels for Dunya and showing his human side. Of course in the end he couldn't have the one thing he needed, the one thing he could never have, the only thing that might save him, which was to have Dunya love him back. Raskol has Sonya, but Svid ain't got nobody, so there was only one way out.

    Buy the ticket. Take the ride.
    - HST

  7. #187
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    ^Thanx @Sancho

    All throughout C & P there are many recurring symbols, some of which have biblical implications. All help to illustrate how the story is a portrayal of a Hades like life and atmosphere. An atmosphere that with divine or divinely inspired help can possibly lead to redemption and salvation. Among these symbols are:

    alcoholic beverages: Demon drink leads to much dissipation, family dissolution, poverty, and can lead to death as it did with Marmeladov who fell under a carriage. Families are torn apart because of it. Scholars become disinclined from their studies while under the influence. At a tavern Rascal listens in on (and is inspired by) a group of chatters who discussed the rationality of croaking the old b_atch of a landlady.

    Haymarket: a section of the city of St Petersburg. It is terribly seedy with low class gambling joints, dives, houses of ill repute, and wide spread dissipation. The district seems to have a magic hold on certain people, including the rogues gallery that comprise the roster of characters in this book. This pull draws low lifes readily disposed to degeneracy and so many vices. It also appears that its pull leads to a determinism that stifles free will choices by its victims.

    poverty: it is ever pervasive. This state of being is a curse upon everyone with but a small hand full of characters. Inspector Petrovich, Svidrigailov, and Luzhin appear to be the only ones who lived comfortably economically while everyone else lived in privation or was of lower economic class origin. Poverty was the cause of so many ills as people pushed to be free of its ravages with some resorting to social sins in order to make a livelihood. But poverty could also bring out some one's humanity as it did mostly with the female characters such as Dunia, Sonya, Nastasya, Mother, and, at times, it did the same for Rascal and Razmuhin.

    St Petersburg: I was reminded of Dante Allegieri's Florence, Italy in his "Divina Comedia" and of the Bible's account of Babylon which symbolizes a Hell on earth. In Babylon so far as I can recall from past readings, the pagans did not conceive of a Divine Reward after life expired on earth. Death was ever pervasive in their art as it likely reflected the hardships and downfalls of life under the miserable circumstances there. All throughout C & P death showed its ugly head from beginning to end.

    water: in the Bible water represents water and sustenance. The children of Israel escape from captivity through the parting of the waters, Moses is revived after his exile by water, Jesus in order to show his divinity walks on water, his disciples are called "fishers of men", water is turned into wine to celebrate life, people are immersed in water (a process called baptism) in order to achieve salvation and redemption. But in C & P it seems to have negative implications: Ras tries to hide stolen property in a lake but is stopped when he sees so many people, when he fainted he was revised by water, tea is used to energize the weary, Ras is repulsed by a woman who attempted suicide by drowning, and Svid croaks himself in the rain thereby purging the world of a wicked sinner.

    yellow: this color appears t represent atmospheric seediness, prostitution, and negativity. Don't know why it was used that way but it is clearly in evidence. Perhaps it reflects a pervasive jaundice like life in that society. Dunno for sure.

    As has been pointed out earlier, some of the character's names have symbolism as well. Please feel free to add more symbols to this list.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  8. #188
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Svidrigailov (continued) Ch IV, V, VI

    This segment kinda makes me wish that Svidrigailov had been the main character in the book. He and Rascal were so much alike. In fact he suggested that they were "birds of a feather". But Svid has much more depth of character. There is so much more method in his madness and has had so much more life experience than did Ras. His manner of expression has greater depth as well. "... in the country, I was haunted by the thought of these places where anyone who knows his way about can find a great deal. Yes, upon my soul! The peasants have vodka, the educated young people, shut out from activity, waste themselves in impossible dreams and visions and are crippled by theories; Jews have sprung up and are amassing money, and all the rest give themselves up to debauchery."

    While Ras gives token amounts of money to others in the hope of making amends for misdeeds, Svid gives enormous amounts of money for that purpose and makes arrangements so that those in need can be provided for. He even offers to help Ras escape to America with a pledge to finance his flight. Earlier he had said, "a misdeed is appropriate if the principal aim is right, a solitary wrongdoing and hundreds of good deeds ... Russians broad in their ideas."

    After a prolonged meeting at the Haymarket dive, they depart.

    Svid meets Dounia. He gives her water to calm down. After an intense conversation she shoots at but only grazes him. He appears to welcome this. They split as she heads for the canal, he to his flat. He goes to Sonia, gives her a bond worth 3,000RR, and says that giving it to her was like giving it to Ras. His motivation is unclear since he knows she will make every sacrifice possible for Ras. Thereafter he makes a late night visit to the family of his betrothed (a 16 year old girl) and gives them 15,000RR. Mother says he is a "great man". From here, things go downward - he goes to a very seedy hotel, one where a filthy room is of yellow color and is infested with mice. He sees or imagines flowers and a coffin containing a 14 year old girl (did he insult her or led to her death in any way?). "I never liked water ... even in a landscape" as heavy rains pour down. He appears to be getting delirious and calls out for his deceased wife. A flood is about to start and he expects rats to soon be walking the streets to escape the water. He leaves the hotel and sees a homeless 5 year old toddler. Or did he imagine this?

    He sees a couple of low lifes in a park and says "I'm going to America". Then he pulls the gun out and croaks himself with them as witnesses. I'm not sure what the expression meant but it was clear he was greatly dissatisfied with conditions in his native land and sought a new home, a possible "paradise", certainly an escape in venturing to "America".

    Up to just a few hours before, he was prosperous, seemingly had everything under control, had people at his command, also had Rascal's fate in his hands as well. He was making amends to those he had hurt all of whom appeared to be satisfied with the way he handled those affairs. On top of all that, unlike Ras he was not being held accountable for any crimes, society was not persecuting him, he was not on the run nor threatened by anyone or by the authorities. Previously he asked,

    Well, let me tell you, Rodion Romanovich, I don’t consider it necessary to justify myself; but I would be grateful if you could explain to me what was particularly criminal about how I behaved in all this, speaking without prejudice, with common sense?

    On the surface it appeared as if he croaked himself because Dounia rejected him. But there has to be more to this than just that. The world seemed to be at his feet. Yet, he self immolated because his conscience was so troubled despite not being under any form of threat. I wonder if symbolically this represent a godless Russia since he clearly was churchless and non spiritual. Could he have symbolized the direction Russia was taking when it did not submissively go to church, adhere to its teachings, lived a life of obedience to the Ten Commandments, and conform with Old World ways? What is clear is that Dostoyevsky is one to dislike those who live a life of dissipation, lack manners, practice immorality, do not adhere to churchly principles, and do not conform to traditional lifestyles. The unhappy fates suffered by those who engage in these practices illustrate this.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  9. #189
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Well I think that’s just it. Svid has no soul. He’s a child molester and a child murderer and it bothers him not. He entered into a marriage (and a contract) with Marfa but cared not a flip about her. Then he murdered her too. His whole life was like that…until he met Dunya, at which point he fell head over heels. If he hadn’t cared about her, he’d’ve offed her way back when she was working as governess in Marfa’s household, like he offed the young serf. But he let Dunya go and even helped make sure her reputation stayed intact. From that point on everything he does is done in the interest of trying to win Dunya’s heart. And he doesn’t just want her. He needs her. He doesn’t just love her. He wants her to love him back. But that’s never going happen. The closest thing to love he gets from her is hate, but at least that's something. When she knicks him with the bullet, he kind of enjoys it. Now he knows she’ll never love him so there’s only one way to go. There is no redemption for Svid only death, and it has to be death by his own hand.

    Raskol of course was badly misguided, but he has a soul. He initially thought killing Alyona would be good for the community, but he didn’t count on the collateral damage of Lizaveta. And then his crimes bother him more and more as time goes by. Svid has no guilt, but Raskol can’t escape it. Much of the last half of the novel is involved with the question of whether or not Raskol is redeemable. I think this is foremost in Profiry’s thinking when he doesn’t arrest him for murder, but rather lets him walk the streets and later turn himself in. The only way out for Svid is by his own hand, but it takes the help of Sonya and Mother Russia (by way of Siberia) to redeem Raskol.

  10. #190
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Beyond nowhere
    Blog Entries
    "What is clear is that Dostoyevsky is one to dislike those who live a life of dissipation, lack manners, practice immorality, do not adhere to churchly principles, and do not conform to traditional lifestyles. The unhappy fates suffered by those who engage in these practices illustrate this."

    One can not forget that Dosto himself was a heavy gambler and on account of this contracted big debts. He sort of was rescued by his secretary and second wife Anna Grigorievna.

    Svid as described by both of you, Poppins and Sancho. As Sancho pointed out he may represent an alternative form of punishment to Raskol. Sonja´s love puts Raskol on the difficult path of redemption. Svidrigailow doesn´t have this option
    "I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some of my experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read. "
    Gerald Murnane, Tamarisk Row

  11. #191
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Good point, Danik. I didn’t realize Dostoevsky was rescued by Anna Grigorievna. I guess we can’t separate the writer from what’s written, particularly with this writer. His religiosity, his time in prison, his personal failures all seem to be infused into his work.


    You know, it was not lost on me that Svid’s last, cheesy hotel room had yellow walls. Raskol’s room had dusty, peeling yellow wallpaper. Alyona had yellow wallpaper as well, but hers was cheery with geraniums on it. Did this make anybody else think of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, The Yellow Wallpaper?

    Anyway as far as primary colors are concerned, Crime and Punishment certainly leans heavily towards yellow. I can’t remember a single instance of a cheery blue-sky day or the crystal blue waters of the Neva river, although there are many of the characters who have the blues. Red, I think, is mostly associated with blood in the book. Raskol gets it on his hands and a sock during the murder. It’s splattered on him when Marmeladov is killed. Yellow, by contrast, is everywhere.

    And yellow is a highly malleable color. It can suggest happiness or sickliness, a sunshiny day or a jaundiced pallor. Yellow eyes indicate illness unless they happen to be looking at you from within a wolf’s head (and behind his fangs), in which case they signal danger.

    Donno, I’m still thinking about it.

  12. #192
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    yellow symbolism

    Donno, I’m still thinking about it.

    A thought occurred to me, one perhaps inspired by life experiences: yellow or jaundice color can also come about when one over drinks the spirits. Such over indulgence can cause your skin and eyes to turn into that color, at least on a temporary basis. Dostoyevsky portrays a highly decadent St Petersburg in which every manner of degeneracy and dissipation is on full display 24/7. Perhaps it is his way of showing that intemperance is everywhere, that it leads to social and moral decadence, and that it creates societal degeneracy. As a committed teetotaler, I couldn't argue against that. On the contrary, my wish is that people would agree and refrain from those social elements that cause such harm. But no, I'm not one to preach!
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  13. #193
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Here’s the initial description of Marmeladov:

    He was a man already past fifty, of average height and solid build, with some gray in his hair and a large bald spot, with a yellow, even greenish, face, swollen from constant drinking, and with puffy eyelids behind which his reddish eyes shone, tiny as slits, but lively.
    I’m pretty much a teetotaler as well. I’ve got too many Irish uncles, you see. They were a lot of fun growing up, but after awhile I came to see the dirty underbelly of that habit and I decided not to go down that path. So by not allowing that monkey to climb upon my back, I have time to do other things, like read a great work of literature and try to figure it out with you-all.

    Here’s another reference to yellow I came across. Sonya has been summoned to Luzhin’s place. The paragraph seems loaded with meaning. Before she got there Luzhin was having a discussion with his roommate, Lebezyatnikov, who was propounding the virtue of the new ideas coming out of the parlors of Petersburg at the time - socialism etc. Meanwhile Luzhin was counting his money. He still has his fat-stacks on the table when Sonya arrives and it makes her uncomfortable. The money is gray, his glasses are gold, and he a big ring with a yellow stone:

    Sonya hastily sat down. The gray and iridescent bills which had not been removed from the table again began flashing in her eyes, but she quickly turned her face away and raised it towards Pyotr Petrovich: it suddenly seemed terribly indecent, especially for her, to stare at someone else's money. She tried to fix her eyes on Pyotr Petrovich's gold lorgnette, which he held in place with his left hand, and at the same time on the massive, heavy, extremely beautiful ring, with its yellow stone, on the middle finger of that hand—but suddenly she looked away from that as well, and, not knowing what else to do, ended by again staring straight into Pyotr Petrovich's eyes.
    When she looks Luzhin in the eye she almost resembles a Jesus figure, tossing the money changers out of the temple of god. Luzhin gives her a few “shekels” and tells her it’s for her family, but of course we later find out this was all a ruse to frame Sonya. Ooo, burn!
    Last edited by Sancho; 03-06-2024 at 11:01 AM.

  14. #194
    Registered User hellsapoppin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Ras goes to Mom/Sis, bedraggled and soaked from the heavy rain. He is determined to do/say something. Though not specified at first, we know that he was looking to fess up as he had been told to do by Sonia. Mom had read the article provided by Ras' friend Dmitri Prokofitch Razumikhin (the latter name again, spelled with or without the k several times). She believes it is a work of genius - that it will make him a leading man and inspiration to others in Russia. She asks, "where are you going?" He replies "wherever God sends me ... only pray for me." Obviously, he is now looking for some measure of redemption which he hadn't really done before. "I haven't faith ..." but did have pride [the Bible teaches pride comes before a fall]. He passed by the Neva several times, thought about suicide but couldn't bring himself to do it.

    He is not entirely sure why he is giving up. "What crime?" he asks. He feels there is nothing to expiate about his action and that what he did was "not stupid" as the old b___atch exploited and harmed people.

    He departs from his grieving but loving mom.

    Ras then goes to Sonia's room. Dounia is with her. The sun was setting. Ras feels uncertain. Previously he had compared himself with Napoleon - one who killed with impunity and was honored for his violent work. Sonia gets crosses (wooden one for peasants, bronze one for higher class). He continues to feel guilty (perhaps more so for the unplanned and spontaneous murder of Lizaveta which may explain why he says 'I am a murderer'). After a prolonged chat he leaves. Sees a beggar woman on the street and gives her his last 5 kopecks. She says "bless you" (he's gonna need it where he's going, fer sure).

    He proceeds to kiss the ground at the cross roads as Sonia had told him to do. Some say he's going to Jerusalem. This ironic in that by going to the police compound, he would help mete out justice and lead to his ultimate expiation and redemption. Sonia followed him as she pledged. She would follow him everywhere.

    At first he wants to see Ilya Petrovich (explosive lieutenant). When he meets him at the compound he balks and says he wants to see Zametov. Some discussion follows "it's in the hands of fate". He learns Svidrigailov croaked himself. He leaves in a state of agitation. But he returns, is offered water to calm down and then, BOOM! He fesses up.


    Seemed like some of the dialog (esp with his mom) here was verbiage. A bit too wordy though it does prolong the tension. Obviously he was terribly divided over whether he genuinely felt he had done no wrong and you are forced to wonder whether he will actually fess up. But you can see he is now talking of divinity and of redemption so that he was leaning towards fessin up. Interesting how the women were the keys to his salvation: his mom, Dounia, and Sonia. The death of the women were what condemned him. The three women in his life his salvation. And, of course, there was also Nastasia who nursed and fed him.

    Well, as some folks say, a good woman is a man's salvation. Perhaps Dostoyevsky could have agreed with that old idea.
    When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  15. #195
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    A lot of people think the book should’ve ended there. But I thought the epilogue put a cherry on top. I liked it. Also I notice the people who thought the epilogue was superfluous, had already read the epilogue, so, you know…

Similar Threads

  1. American Psycho - Too much?
    By TylerDurden in forum General Literature
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-14-2012, 09:38 AM
  2. First Edition or Fine Edition?
    By Climacus in forum General Literature
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-17-2011, 05:41 PM
  3. Have you read American Psycho?
    By Egil Skallagrim in forum General Literature
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-08-2006, 07:00 PM
  4. American Psycho
    By lebby64 in forum General Literature
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-26-2006, 01:40 PM
  5. American Psycho
    By Koa in forum General Literature
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 07-15-2005, 05:59 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts