Last blog posting—by group


Final issues for discussion:

From the murders forward, Raskolnikov spins a web in which he is himself trapped. And he is, in his more lucid moments, well aware of the trap: he even says that he “turned spiteful…Then I hid in my corner like a spider.”*

Yet of all the characters, Porfiry is the one who seems most “spiderlike” as he skillfully maneuvers Raskolnikov during their encounters. Porfiry also has keen insight into Raskolnikov. When he finally confronts the young man (part six, chapter 2), Porfiry tells Rodya: “Do you know how I regard you? I regard you as one of those men who could have their guts cut out, and would stand and look at his torturers with a smile -- provided he’s found faith, or God”

Discuss what Porfiry means by this. Notice that he does not say “faith in God”, but “faith, or God” (part 6, ch. 2, 3 pages from the end of the chapter, 460 in P/V).

*Interesting…Svidrigaïlov (pages 289-290) poses this anti-metaphysical “spiders of eternity” notion to Raskolnikov:

“We keep imagining eternity as an idea that cannot be grasped, something vast, vast! Instead of all that, imagine suddenly that there will be one little room there, something like a village bathhouse, covered with soot, with spiders in every corner, and that's the whole of eternity? I sometimes fancy something of the sort.”

“But surely, surely you can imagine something more just and comforting than that!” Raskolnikov cried, with painful feeling.

“More just? Who knows, perhaps that is just—and, you know, if I had my way, it's certainly how I would do it!” Svidrigaïlov answered, smiling vaguely.

A sort of chill came over Raskolnikov at this hideous answer. Svidrigaïlov raised his head, looked at him intently, and suddenly burst out laughing.

“No, but realize,” he cried, “that half an hour ago we had never even seen each other, we’re supposed to be enemies, there is unfinished business between us; so we've dropped the business, and look where we've gone sailing into! Well, wasn't it true when I said that we were birds of a feather?”

In Heart of Darkness, Marlow’s descriptions of Kurtz include the following: “a wandering and tormented thing”, someone whose words were like “phrases spoken in nightmares”, someone who “had no restraint, no faith”, whose “soul was mad”, someone who “struggled, struggled”. Think back to the nightmare-like atmosphere that suffused Heart of Darkness, then read again the description of Rodya’s last dream (6 pages from the end of the novel, p. 547 P/V version, paragraph beginning “He lay in the hospital all through the end of Lent…” and ending with “…had heard their words or voices.” Both Rodion and Kurtz engage in interior battles fought between their inner goodness and their desire to “step over”, to be “supermen”. Crime and Punishment, however, ends with a powerful feeling of hope and redemption, whereas Heart of Darkness ends with (naturally)…darkness. How can we better understand Raskolnikov’s redemption through the tragedy of Kurtz? (As always, support your opinions.)


alphabitten said...

I profess to my group to make any additions they feel are necessary, but here is what I noted from our discussion.

In Rodya's final dream sequence the people that are mad are the ones that speak out and act rashly based on their ideas. The Napoleon-types outrageously mask the people that Rodya feels have the true ability to save this society in his dream. In his dream, he calls them the "pure and chosen" people, yet "no one had heard their words or voices." Unlike his initial feeling that the chosen people are extraordinary and able to bypass natural and social laws, he now seems to feel the chosen people may not perform notable public acts, rather, remain unseen.

This idea that you don't have to be a sort of Napoleon type to make a difference was discussed in class too. On the dry erase board Duncan wrote "Louse=Superman?" Rodya's final redemption, in comparison with his crime, is his final quiet act. The redemption, however, is like the true "chosen" act. He did nothing good by committing the murder, however, his less-known redemption is the true event that may make him like the "pure and chosen" from his dream.

Rodya, unlike Kurtz, has sufficient restraint, however, his pressing belief in fate and interpretation of certain incidents (such as learning that Lizaveta would be away from the house) guides his behavior and actions.
Also, Rodya is redeemed by Sonya while characters like Svidrigailov and Kurts are redeemed through suicide/death. Rodya finally feels deserving and capable of love with Sonya because despite his actions, she loves him deeply. Although Kurtz has the intended and an affair with a slave women, he doesn't seem to have a kind of loving relationship that Rodya does.

MY GROUP: Megan, Austin, Tess, Kathy, Alyssa, Ariel, Kristen
(I know, kind of large but we didn't break off...)

KeliZhou said...

Notes on our discussion
Post by Shruti, Jennifer, Keli

Definitely an apocalyptic dream!

1) Raskolnikov wanted to “step over” people, Kurtz instead “stepped on” the Congolese. Previously in the book, Raskolnikov believed that there were some people chosen to be better than the rest, and Kurtz in a way is the embodiment of that “extraordinary man,” to be a self-defined/rightfully malicious person. They both had their ideals, Kurtz went into the Congo with optimism; the longer he stayed, civilization’s restraints seemed to no longer exist. Raskolnikov had his view about society but as he fell into darkness (in a sense) he dreamed about civilization’s restraints disintegrating and “people killed each other in some sort of meaningless spite”, and soon rejected his own ideals, which then paved a way for his redemption.

2) The dreams referenced to Raskolnikov’s split personality. The manic people represent Raskolnikov's uncontrollable side that showed itself when he was killing the sisters; the chosen ones represent his more rational side. He dreams that the two are in opposition because he cannot reconcile one with the other, and the manic people vastly outnumber the chosen ones (who are difficult to identify) because he feels that in the fight between his two personalities, the manic side is winning, and it is hard for Raskolnikov to uncover his "chosen one" side.

3) It’s interesting to see that the book starts out with a dream and ends with another, but there might be a connection. This may be farfetched and I may be a bit mucky with the details. When reviewing Lindsey’s notes about the first discussion, the idea of the “id” was mentioned. Interesting enough, Kurtz lies in the inner station, paralleling the innermost part of the mind. He kills people, destroys villages, and makes shish kabobs with human heads; Mikolka violently beats the mare, and they both do this for power over another. Kurtz seemed to be ruled completely by the id, while something in Raskolnikov clicked and the superego, morality, started to come through. This can be seen with the Lazarus and bible scene in the end.

T-Revor Hotsun Esq. said...

Notes on our Mental Osmosis
Sarah Doty, Amber Crofts, Evan Marshall, and Trevor Hodson

We discussed briefly what is meant by the Poorfurry's line "I regard you as one of those men who could have their guts cut out, and would stand and look at his torturers with a smile -- provided he’s found faith, or God (Or oil if you're from texas).” We thought this quote was important because it suggests that the same qualities that are cherished in a saint or devout follower of God can also be found in a similar way in a follower of a radical ideology, such as the Goober Mensh/Spiderman theory.

Also when Rash dreams we see he has reversed his ideology, that he thinks the attributes of supermen ruin the world, revealing a superman to be an "asthetic looking louse." When he comes to this conclusion it is significant, because in order to accept this reversal he must also accept that all his actions in pursuit of Goober Menshiism have been louse-like, and either he's got to change or get out the pesticide.

Best quote from anonymous group member:
"Um.. I don't... Let's not. I don't. Consider those. Uh, notes for the blog."

Emelia Ficken said...

Okay, I don't feel so bad about how this posting anymore as there are only three other groups that have posted their delightful quips about good ole C & P.
We were following the first prompt and we found that it reminds us somewhat of Dover Beach and Church Going in the overall cynisism of Porfiry towards religion. He seems to think faith is just as adequate as God, or even more adequate. Amusing. We thought his suggestion of religion actually strangely out of character for Porfiry. We feel he meant something more along the lines findnsomething that gives you the strength to continue on with life. This is an appeal to Rodya's martyr complex, and indeed, it succeeds.
Raskolnikov is trying to prove that he can function on his own without anything else to sustain him. And overall, "warm" Rodya wins. Raskolnikov is trying to reconnect with his home soil and disconnect with the popular ideals of the nineteenth century. Dostoevsky is speaking loud and clear through the book at this point.

Group: Emelia, Callie, Katie, Lindsay

I'm sorry this is sooo late

Josh said...

Since Mohammed went AWOL on us, it'll be significantly harder to post a proper entry, and that's not even considering the fact that it has been around a week since we last discussed the topic(s). Seeing as my group did not remember to write anything down, I will try to post a general outline of what we discussed to the best of my memory. The fact that Porfiry specifically separates faith from God is that he considers Raskolnikov to have considerable potential. Raskolnikov is someone he considers that has a resilient will, provided the faith of an idealogy. Porfiry addresses Raskolnikov that he would stand up for his ideals and follow the faith. It is undoubtable that Raskolnikov has a high degree of faith in his ideal, as his actions are all centered upon his belief of being Ubermensch. He wouldn’t have had the conviction and ability to murder if he had not believed considerably that he was, in fact, a person of superman-like character. Porfiry recognizes the fact and the strength of ideals and how they would affect a character with potential such as Raskolnikov. He also understands that religion can also affect a person strongly, to the point of looking at their torturers with a smile. Not only centered around idealism, but religion as well (and it is also ironic that Raskolnikov retains some saint-like characteristics, despite being a murderer). As for the being spider-like, Porfiry does say at one point that he was just waiting for the criminal to circle and fly into his open mouth. Porfiry weaves his psychological torment very intricately, trapping Raskolnikov efficiently. The same goes with Svidrigailov, as he tries to gain a degree of favor with Raskolnikov in order to get closer to Dunya.

Group: Brendan, Mohammed, Joshua
Apologize for the late entry.

Christopher Wang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Wang said...

Here's our post (edited). If anybody from our group has more to say, feel free to add. This is what I discussed with my group and my group discussed with me. Our group was given the 2nd topic to discuss, by the way.

We basically answered the question, "How can we better understand Raskolnikov’s redemption through the tragedy of Kurtz?" Both Kurtz and Rodya are similar, personality-wise. The biggest similarity that is apparent is the desire to be extraordinary. Kurtz wanted to transform the Congo for his own selfish reasons to ‘improve’ it while Rodya wanted to be great by killing the two sisters because he thought that it would be benefiting society. They both display the superman-complex, or ubermensch. Now, when we look further into Kurtz, the tragedy of Kurtz is at the end of his life when he says, “The Horror. The Horror.” Kurtz was this unbelievable man who held great power and commanded much in the Congo, but he used brute force and barbarity to obtain this power. He didn’t realize the consequences of his actions until just moments before his death; thus he was not able to redeem himself. Kurtz’s inner conflict led to his life ending in regret.

When we look at Rodya’s life, in order to be this great person, he selfishly killed two women. And yet, he became conflicted with his decision of killing the sisters. His mind, just as his dream depicted, was in opposition. The infected people (in his dream) who went mad represented his delirious state of mind when he wanted to kill the pawnbroker and her sister. The chosen ones represented the rational side of Raskolnikov, of a better person. This conflicting state of mind is the conflict that Kurtz had: he nurtured this empire that he was so proud of yet he felt guilty and realized the consequences of his actions. But his life doesn’t end with him rotting in jail, regretting ever killing Alonya (I hate spelling Russian names >_>;;) and Lizaveta. After being released from prison, he has capability to feel bliss / happiness because he realizes that he has a second chance at life. Kurtz didn’t get this chance. While Rodya had to go to prison for 7 long years, he still gets to continue with life (and a life with Sonya, which is actually the main reason). His redemption is this second chance.

We also briefly discussed Sonya because it was what the majority of the last 6 pages consist of. Sonya waits for Rodya to be released from prison, and Rodya, in turn, waits for that moment because he realizes that he loves her so much. This also separates him from Kurtz is that deeper connection with his beloved. Rodya’s deep love for Sonya is what fuels him for his redemption at life.

Udit Suri said...

“Do you know how I regard you? I regard you as one of those men who could have their guts cut out, and would stand and look at his torturers with a smile – provided he’s found faith, or God”, these statement by Porfiry implies the strong faith he has in the Napoleonic ‘Superman’ theory. Faith and God are two different things, though they can be intertwined. The definition of faith is trust and belief in something or someone, and God is a person an individual looks up to if he or she is religious. These two things are only intertwined when an individual has faith in God. Otherwise one can have faith in anything, from crime to joy. Raskolnikov has faith in his crime and himself, he believes that his actions and his works have a far greater cause then himself. He wants to set off and prove to the world that he is a bigger, greater being than any other person on the planet. He does this by committing a grave sin. His ‘Superman’ characteristic comes into question, because Raskolnikov can be portrayed as a louse, but can a louse actually be a superman. This is the question that arises. Our group decided that he has some faith in his doing, and his faith is there for him to reach a higher being. If he did not actually have faith then he would not feel guilty for the sin.

There is no sense of divine power between Raskolnikov and God; there is a strong disconnection between faith and God. He was shown in the book no more than a man who has completed a great sin and crime and is now in conflict with the idea of faith and God, as he feels very guilty.
By: Udit, Andrei, Jared, Zack, Alexis

Evan Marshall said...

here it is:

Christopher Wang said...

Apologies for posting on a blog not meant for non-relevant comments.

O.m.g. >< That was HILARIOUS <3
It almost made me feel bad about not letting you guys go :)
Friday's class will have a BLAST watching it. Hahahaha.
But beware, it's more like... PG-13... to possibly R? Nah. PG-13. But so, so funny :) Well, done, you three!

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