Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | MonkeyNotes
PART V, CHAPTER 1
The scene shifts in this part, but it's still the same day, the day of Marmeladov's funeral.
Luzhin has not given up his hopes of a reunion with Dunya, although he has admitted to himself that he was a fool for being so stingy. But rather than blame himself, he blames Raskolnikov for all of his problems.
We learned earlier that Luzhin is staying with Lebezyatnikov in the same building where the Marmeladovs live. The two don't get along very well the day of the funeral. Lebezyatnikov is offended that Luzhin is counting large sums of money in his presence; he thinks Luzhin wants to make him feel poor and insignificant. One thing Lebezyatnikov doesn't lack is words. He uses more words to say less than anybody in the novel.
Lebezyatnikov's conversation is peppered with allusions to 19th- century
political thinkers, most of whom advocated radical changes in society
that Dostoevsky rejects and mocks. There is political satire in the novel,
but it is difficult for readers who aren't familiar with 19th-century
Russian social history. It's probably fair to say that includes most readers
today. What is important to pick up here, and in the other places where
such issues are raised, is that Dostoevsky has no patience with the revolutionary
ideas, or with the characters who advocate them. So when anyone raves
on about reform, you can be pretty sure Dostoevsky portrays him as a fool.
Even Lebezyatnikov's foolish ideas seem tolerable in contrast to Luzhin's hateful and suggestive remarks about Sonia, whom he wants to meet. In a deliberate foreshadowing, the reader learns that some of Luzhin's money is left out on the table, but it's only mentioned in passing. If you miss it, the following events, and Luzhin's subsequent accusation of Sonia in Chapter III, may be confusing to you.
Asking Lebezyatnikov to stay in the room, Luzhin greets Sonia warmly. In a deliberately pleasant-and totally phony-way, he inquires about her family. But he calls Katerina Ivanovna a fool for setting her heart on a pension, and for spending what little money she has on a funeral dinner. He offers Sonia ten roubles, the most he says he can spare. Murmuring her thanks, Sonia flees.
For once Lebezyatnikov is impressed with his guardian's behavior, and assures him that he has seen all. Soon he is off again, on another of his tirades of social reform, but Luzhin is too excited to listen.
While the description of Luzhin doesn't use psychological terms, Dostoevsky is portraying him and his motives-just as he has Raskolnikov- by what the character himself says and does. The author wants you to form your own conclusions as you watch Luzhin in action.