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FREE Barron's Booknotes-Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky-Free
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PART VI, CHAPTER 1

Raskolnikov seems, even to himself, to be living in an unreal world. But even in that haze he realizes two things: One is that Svidrigailov poses a threat to his safety. Another is that Sonia loves him. He must come to terms with these two facts. He almost wishes there were another crisis for him to deal with, something to snap him out of his confusion.

NOTE:

Ask yourself if you feel sympathy for Raskolnikov in this chapter. The novel seems to shift you back and forth from sympathy to disgust with him, and you have to decide which feeling is finally stronger in your own mind. Ask yourself, too, how you think Dostoevsky wants you to feel. Because the narrator never says, directly, how you ought to react, you've got to recognize the clues he gives you.

When Razumikhin comes to talk, he says he has to know if Raskolnikov is sane or not. Of course, it doesn't seem the smartest thing to ask Raskolnikov, but Razumikhin is desperate. He can't understand why Raskolnikov is acting the way he is. If he's insane, at least that's one way to explain it.


Razumikhin is especially upset because he knows what Raskolnikov's behavior is doing to his mother and sister. This has been a problem all along, because Raskolnikov has resented having to worry about them.

The other problem for Razumikhin is trying to figure out what kind of trouble Raskolnikov is involved in. He's relieved that Nikolay confessed to the murders and ashamed that he suspected Raskolnikov of the crime. If it's hard for you to imagine yourself as a killer, think about how you'd feel if you suspected a friend of yours was guilty of some awful crime. Razumikhin still suspects that Raskolnikov is involved in some sort of desperate action, but he is easily distracted at this point by Raskolnikov's mention of Dunya's feelings for him. As he leaves, he's a happy man, with thoughts of love on his mind.

After his friend leaves, Raskolnikov tries again to figure out what to do. He is astounded when Porfiry shows up unexpectedly. After days of being terrified of just such a visit, suddenly he feels absolutely calm.

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