It quickly became one of my favorite books when I read it my senior year of high school English. Everyone else HATED reading it. I admit, it was a book I had to read in absolute silence with no disturbances so that I could fully concentrate. It ignited my love for Russian literature. The prose is so rich and complex that it’s a challenge to read it, but it’s well worth it. It opened my mind at an important time in my life, exposing me to the shades of gray that exist when it comes to good and evil. The characters are fantastic, and the plot is intriguing. I really hope I get to teach this book in my classroom someday!
The poverty-stricken Raskolnikov, a talented student, devises a theory about extraordinary men being above the law, since in their brilliance they think “new thoughts” and so contribute to society. He then sets out to prove his theory by murdering a vile, cynical old pawnbroker and her sister. The act brings Raskolnikov into contact with his own buried conscience and with two characters — the deeply religious Sonia, who has endured great suffering, and Porfiry, the intelligent and discerning official who is charged with investigating the murder — both of whom compel Raskolnikov to feel the split in his nature. Dostoevsky provides readers with a suspenseful, penetrating psychological analysis that goes beyond the crime — which in the course of the novel demands drastic punishment — to reveal something about the human condition: The more we intellectualize, the more imprisoned we become
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