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Thread: My Island; Crime & Punishment vs. Brothers Karamazov

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    My Island; Crime & Punishment vs. Brothers Karamazov

    A wee bit of a confessional here folks. I was more moved by C&P than BK. There, I've said it. Hardly the most intimate of feelings, yet I do feel as if I've been stranded on a bit of an island for the aforementioned opinion. Perhaps defining 'moved' would be apropos. C&P is hardly uplifting, yet I'd be remiss to not extol its visceral virtues. I've never felt such sheer intensely for the written word as I have than when I'd been tugged inside the tormented mind of Raskolnikov. His narrowed world was such a dizzying, unrelenting one, and one of the least pleasurable ones to boot. While literature at its finest can be provocative and pleasurable, the frenetic tone & depth to this story blew through any normative criteria I may have used to judge a wor & I'm left w/ nothing but Dostoevsky's guts...cloaked in an everlasting, surrendering tide, bound by an intimate connection to darkness.

    That said, my bias may lay in my lack of fascination w/ theology- which is one of the firmest of legs that BK stands on. The Grand Inquisitor chapter was the most powerful moment during the work, yet I couldn't ride its wave long enough to transcend my ultimate synopsis of 'pretty damn good, but those expectations I'd had really may have damned this for me.' Perhaps that is the story, one of a sky high ceiling which was impossible to reach...but in actuality, the strength of the book, lying in Alyosha's intangibles, may have simply been too tough for me to swallow. Not to say Ivan's argument was a more compelling one (albeit a more unique vision, intellectually divorced from the soul), his presence just left me wanting...I missed the deep seeded feeling that Dostoevsky jack-hammered me w/ in C&P. There were moments in BK, particularly Ivan's downward spiraling dance w/ the devil, along w/ some of the bits of the raw, familial life that the Russian Proletariats of the time were shelled with...but those moments, for me, didn't smack w/ that prevailing, indomitable wind that C&P did.

    Who knows if this is a criticism on BK, an homage to C&P, or simply my unveiling of subjective drivers that get my literary goat...but for now, I'll call it a confessional. For these few reasons and several more, C&P moved me, for better or for worse, more than BK. Am I the only one?
    Last edited by Brad Coelho; 02-23-2010 at 08:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Coelho View Post
    His narrowed world was such a dizzying, unrelenting one, and one of the least pleasurable ones to boot.
    Painfully so, and such an oppressive read alongside other Dostoevsky novels.

    By contrast, The Brothers Karamazov contains an monumental portrait of father, Fyodor, who is almost as degraded as Raskolnikov. Fyodor's portrait is black but with tinges of gold.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    I don't know think I'd ever call myself a masochist or a purveyor of pain (though my favorite film is Chinatown, where the bad guy wins), but I do admit that some of the most compelling tales can be engrossingly negative ones.

    Interesting that you compare Raskolnikov to Fyodor in terms of degradation. I was detached from Fyodor, who seemed to be blatantly 2 dimensional amongst the pyramid of depth that each of his sons were endowed with. Do you think BK represented the struggle of Dostoevsky's search for faith, with belief winning out?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Coelho View Post
    I was detached from Fyodor, who seemed to be blatantly 2 dimensional amongst the pyramid of depth that each of his sons were endowed with.
    While Fyodor may well have a crass 2-dimensional outlook on life, Dostoevsky's portrayal of him is deeper than those of the three sons. Until the father's murder, most of the novel is devoted to him. I feel I know him as well as I know Raskolnikov.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Coelho View Post
    Do you think BK represented the struggle of Dostoevsky's search for faith, with belief winning out?
    Perhaps so, but belief only wins out in this sense:

    "The fact that one believes can be proved in only one way: by being willing to suffer for one's faith. And the degree of one's faith is proved only by the degree of one's willingness to suffer for one's faith." Soren Kierkegaard
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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    See I didn't feel that way Gladys- perhaps I just wasn't interested in the character, devoting most of my energies towards Ivan. To me, the dimensions of the sons broadened the father, not the other way around. Do you want to discuss how you were affected by Fyodor & the depth you saw in him?
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    Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Coelho View Post
    Do you want to discuss how you were affected by Fyodor & the depth you saw in him?
    I read the great novel decades ago.

    Dostoevsky treats the less than likeable Fyodor so sensitively and sympathetically that I feel much more pity for him than for Raskolnikov. Fyodor's vices are almost understandable and tingle with humour: a man of flesh and blood. He is human and to that extent warm, whereas Raskolnikov is ever cold.

    Fyodor's actions are infinitely convincing and I can so easily sit in his place. And his lust for Grushenka is patently alive, as is the lady herself.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

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