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Free Study Guide-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free Booknotes
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PART V, CHAPTER 2

Summary

Raskolnikov arrives at the reception at Katerina Ivanovna's apartment. Then Sonia arrives and informs Katerina Ivanovna of Luzhin's inability to attend. Katerina Ivanovna is upset because two women of culture, who live in the same building, have refused to attend. She cannot tolerate the rude behavior of the rowdy, lower class guests. She has an argument with her German landlady, Amalia Ivanovna, which reaches a climax with the landlady demanding that Katerina Ivanovna and her children leave the flat. At this point, a stern-looking Luzhin enters the room.


Notes

Dostoevsky's first wife, Maria Dmitrievna, suffered from and died of tuberculosis. Katerina Ivanovna dies from this same illness, as did many people (and literary characters) in the nineteenth century. Katerina Ivanovna's ill temper seems to result from her poor physical condition as well as from her poverty. She cannot seem to forget that she, at one time, belonged to an aristocratic family. Dostoevsky shows us the squalor and decadence into which the former Russian aristocrat has now fallen. The theme of the aristocracy in decline is very common in Russian nineteenth- century literature.

Katerina Ivanovna puts the future of her children and herself at risk by picking a quarrel with her landlady. The guests who are present have come not out of respect for Marmeladov, but to enjoy the food and drink at the reception. They are thoroughly amused by Katerina Ivanovna's behavior and are hoping that she will lose her temper, so that they can watch a good fight. Raskolnikov is disgusted by their attitude. This scene foreshadows Katerina's final breakdown and death.

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