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FREE Barron's Booknotes-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free
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CHAPTER 2

To get rid of the incriminating purse and trinkets, Raskolnikov gathers them up and decides to throw them all into the canal. He still hasn't counted the money, and he never does. While he was planning the murder, Raskolnikov had claimed he wanted the old woman's money so that he could help others- especially his sister. This motivation doesn't occur to him now, in his fearful state.

Rejecting the canal because people might see him, Raskolnikov walks on toward the Neva River. But before he gets there, he changes his mind and buries the loot in a deserted lot, under a stone behind an open drainage ditch. None of this behavior suggests a man of will and reason.

The more he thinks about his behavior with the police, the more he blames himself for cringing and being afraid. Worse, he hates himself for not counting the money. The only excuse he can find is that he is ill, a recognition that fills him with hatred for everyone, including himself. After all, before the murder wasn't he sure he was different from everybody else?

For a reason he can't really explain, he reaches out for companionship and goes to visit his old friend Razumikhin whom he hasn't seen for four months. One interpretation of this decision is that there is a hidden part of him that wants to put his actions behind him. By seeking out his old friends, he can start over. Perhaps it is more honest to recognize that Raskolnikov is physically ill-something his friend realizes almost immediately-and simply needs help.


In his delirium, Raskolnikov struggles to explain why he has come and why he can't stay, why he doesn't want work although he is desperate for money. Even the generous Razumikhin is angry at his baffling behavior. Clearly, Raskolnikov doesn't know what he wants.

Still ill, he wanders into the street, where he is nearly run down by a team of horses. The shock, and a small amount of money a compassionate passerby hands him, bring him back to his senses for a moment. But what he realizes about himself disturbs him. His past is gone because of his crime; he is cut off from it.

By nightfall, he is seriously ill. He hallucinates that his landlady is being beaten by the police lieutenant, and he's so exhausted from listening to the imaginary incident that he falls unconscious.

This chapter reestablishes Raskolnikov's link with his old friend and his former life. Now all of the primary characters have been introduced, and Dostoevsky can begin to develop Raskolnikov by showing him in relation to other people.

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FREE Barron's Booknotes-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free
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