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Free Study Guide-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free Booknotes
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PART VI, CHAPTER 7

Summary

On the evening of Svidrigailov's death, Raskolnikov visits his mother. Pulcheria Alexandrovna bursts into tears on seeing her son again. She believes that a "great misfortune" awaits Raskolnikov. She asks Raskolnikov if he is going away somewhere. He replies simply, "Yes." She gives him her blessings.

Raskolnikov returns to his room. Dounia is waiting for him there. He tells her how he had contemplated suicide the previous day but then thought better of it. He informs Dounia that he will give himself up to the police. Dounia states that by accepting punishment Raskolnikov will also be atoning for his crime. Raskolnikov denies that he committed a crime, as he believes that the old lady was "a louse, who sucked the life-blood of the poor." He asserts that killing her should bring absolution to the murderer for forty sins. Dounia is shocked by Raskolnikov's statement. Raskolnikov tells her that he committed murder because he wished to become independent. He believes he has failed in this venture. Dounia argues with him. Finally, Raskolnikov asks Dounia to forgive him if she thinks he is guilty of committing a crime. He takes a portrait of his former fiancée, his landlady's daughter, and kisses it before giving it to Dounia.


He asks why he has to suffer imprisonment. He tells Dounia that he does not wish to waste away in a prison for twenty years. After Dounia has gone, Raskolnikov wonders why his mother and sister love him so much, despite his unworthiness. He wonders whether imprisonment in Siberia will suppress him and weaken his spirit.

Notes

Raskolnikov bids farewell to his mother and sister and prepares to give himself up to the police. Pulcheria Alexandrovna does not know the reason for her son's strange behavior but understands that he suffers immensely.

Dounia, who knows about Raskolnikov's crime, believes, like Sonia, that he should atone for his crime through suffering. Raskolnikov does not like the thought of being in a prison camp in Siberia. Furthermore, he does not believe that he committed a crime. He explains that he believes he was doing a service to society by getting rid of Alena Ivanovna. However, he forgets about Lizaveta's death, which, although caused by chance, is still a murder. One remembers here Sonia's warning to Raskolnikov that no human being should be defined or treated as a "louse." Raskolnikov, if he wishes to be reintegrated into society, should remember that he must treat others as he wishes to be treated. He tells Dounia about his need for independence and his need to express himself. He tried to fulfill this need through the murder, and he failed. His theory of the extraordinary man remains only that--a theory; he is unable to put it into practice because its logic is all faulty.

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