Saturday, May 24, 2008

Crime and Punishment...Death and Resurection

Just finished reading Crime and punishment, yes! its ancient and every book lover over thirty has already read it.... well am not quite thirty yet so i guess i can be excused.

I've always thought that timeless books, like music continue to remain relevant no matter how long ago they were written. Dostoyevsky's incredible insight into the human mind is delightful, his ability to express the thoughts and feeling of his charaters, no matter how inconsistent or radical they might be, show great courage for a writer.

I can totally relate to the theme of "rebirth" and regeneration, "gradual transition from one world to another". The torment that comes with realizing the folly of our preconceptions....the work is from the 18th century yet still ever so vibrant.

For me crime and punishment is more of an unconventional romance story, than a crime fiction, which most critics have choosen to classify it as. Rodion's love for his mother and sister, and the eventual companionship he finds in the young prostitute Sonia, reflect the hope that can only come from embracing life in its simplicity. Instead of high faluting ideals that often amount to nothing.

No matter how rich or intelligent, poor or dumb we might be, we simply can not live with out Faith, Hope and Love...and the greatest of these, its always been said is Love. Love conquers all may be cliche,but only the lucky ones get to fully realize the truth in these words, only the lucky few enjoy the bliss and torture of unconditional love, living the cliche not just qouting it.
This summary below comes from Fydor Dostoyevsky website.....




Crime and Punishment was serialized in Ruskii vestnik (The Russian Messenger) from January through December 1866 and appeared in a book form next year. On one level the novel belongs to the genre of detective fiction, but Dostoevsky's interest lies on the criminal - the sinner. The story is set in St. Petersburg, which Dostoevsky called the "most fantastic city in the world". The city, with its mythology, also becomes the accomplice of the protagonist, Raskolnikov, a young resentful student. An assiduous readers of newspapers, Dostoevsky saw in the crime reports symbolic meanings, signs of the hidden ills of the whole society.
Raskolnikov kills a pawnbroker, a greedy old woman, and her half-witted stepsister as well. He attempts to justify the murder in terms of its advantageous social consequences. He argues that each age gives birth to a few superior beings who are not constrained by ordinary morality - and he is one of such beings. Under the influence of the meek, Christian prostitute Sonia, he confronts the hollowness of his thoughts, which eventually leads to confession and redemption. Raskolnikov's nemesis is Porfiry Petrovich, a police investigator, who knows his guilt. In the demonic Svidrigailov, who commits suicide, Raskolnikov sees his own picture. "You know," confesses Svidrigailov to Raskolnikov, "from the very beginning I always thought it was a pity that your sister had not chanced to be born in the second or third century of our era, as the daughter of a ruling prince somewhere, or some governor or proconsul in Asia minor. She would doubtless have been one of those who suffered martyrdom, and she would, of course, have smiled when they burned her breast with red-hot pinchers. She would have deliberately brought it on herself." In his agony Raskolnikov realizes, that in murdering he has killed the essentially human in himself. Raskolnikov goes to Siberia for seven years. Sonia follows him to his imprisonment. - The novel has been filmed several times

2 comments:

O. emmanuel said...

What a generalisation to say "every book lover" must have read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment? I love books a great deal and have not read it. Its just like saying every avid reader must have read Leon Tolstoy's Anna Karenina or Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy.
However, I agrre that some books perhaps books generally are timeless especially those that have as their thematic preoccupation the issue of human emotions; love or hate, joy or sadness etc. Or I should say those that look into the human condition like Charles Dickson's Great Expectation and Oliver Twist.
I do not quite agree with you on the subject Rodion finding 'solace' in the hands of a prostitute after an apperantly Odepial complex. Love is divine, something beautiful not just an expression of the physical. I can safely deduce that what he found in Sonia, the prostitute was a result of his earlier pervasion of the 'love' he had for his mother and sister.
I maybe wrong!

P. M. Jay said...

Yes its is a generalization to say every book lover has read it, but i know for a fact that if they havent its probably bcos they havent gotten found to.
I just finished Anna Keranina by the way, my point is readers often take it as an intellectual challenge to read books everybody makes so much noise about.
And you are wrong to say that Rodions love for his mother and sister was Odepial, his love was pure, as pure as love can be between parents and their children.
Perharps you missunderstood, but i guess thats only because you havent read it, so you are excused.

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