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

Raskolnikov is troubled and confused by Svidrigailov's visit. He senses a threat to Dunya, but that is only part of a greater mystery. He is frightened that Svidrigailov has been another apparition, a hallucination. Since Razumikhin saw him on his way in, that is unlikely, but, still Raskolnikov is not sure. "Perhaps I really am mad." he worries.

Razumikhin tries to cheer him up, but it doesn't do much good, especially as they encounter Luzhin on the way to the fateful eight o'clock meeting.

Luzhin has a new enemy to attack, and he does so with relish: Svidrigailov is a degenerate, depraved man who has come to St. Petersburg with evil intentions, Luzhin says. He tell two tales of suicide that he blames on Svidrigailov. But you already know that Luzhin is a liar, especially when he thinks it will serve his own cause. Whether he is telling the truth now, you can't tell. Dunya seems inclined to doubt him.

Raskolnikov tells her what Luzhin has omitted from the Svidrigailov story: that Marfa Petrovna left her 3000 roubles in her will, and that Svidrigailov wants to see her. But Raskolnikov does not say what Svidrigailov really has in mind.


Luzhin behaves in typical fashion, and Dunya is very angry with his pomposity and self-importance. He even rouses the timid Pulcheria Alexandrovna to anger. She accuses him of having lied about the money given to the Marmeladovs. Haughtily, he prepares to leave, but they aren't finished with him yet. Challenged, he can't control his nastiness.

With no regret, Dunya tells him to get out. When he threatens never to return, she assures him that she hopes he doesn't. What outrages him most is that he has spent money on them, but, as Pulcheria Alexandrovna points out, it was precious little. Like the spiteful person he is, he can't resist trying to get in the last word, slandering Dunya's reputation. But as he is forced to leave, his anger is centered only on Raskolnikov.

NOTE:

In thinking about the guilty people in the novel, notice that Dostoevsky makes it easy for us to compare Raskolnikov with Svidrigailov and with Luzhin by placing the chapters describing these men close together. Which one of them do you find the most repulsive, the most monstrous? What are the things that he says or does that make you feel that way?

One note of caution though: Dostoevsky allows you a lot of independent conclusions, but he does have a very definite opinion about these men and what happens to them. You have to hold your final judgment until all the pieces are in place.

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