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Lessons from Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment.

Why you should read this psychological novel of Fyodor Dostoevsky?

Crime & Punishment a novel written by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. It is the second amongst Dostoevsky’s series of novels and the most acclaimed & popular out of all. It was published in 1866 after Dostoevsky’s return from a 10-year exile in Siberia. The novel is considered to be one of his greatest literary achievements. This is my Book Review of Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment

Dostoevsky is regarded as one of the pioneers of psychological novels, where each of his novels gives an in-depth view of the psyche of a human being and how it changes depending on the individual's surroundings, interactions, situations (Familiar & Unknown), how opinions are formed based on value judgments and biases & the power of circumstances & impulses which drives an individual to act on their thoughts. This Novel Crime & Punishment focuses on all these subjects and gives an honest and open view of the impact it has on an individual.


The story is about a troubled young man named “Rodion Raskolnikov”, a bright university lecturer who commits a crime due to poverty and helplessness and how he deals with his crime. The story revolves around the circumstances and thoughts which lead him to that dark place & the price he has to pay for it.


Reasons to read this book.


Brutally Honest


  • Readers who have a penchant for psychology should really read this novel. The protagonist’s mental state throughout the course of the novel has been laid bare in a real sense which makes the readers captivated and also increases their curiosity.
  • The moments & events leading up to the crime are described in such a manner where the reader will feel the tension and anxiety. Largely it is the thought process of Raskolnikov & his motivations that make this a compelling read.


Isolation is a double-edged sword


  • There is a general perception that isolation from society has both favorable and unfavorable consequences. Isolation can help an individual to understand who he really is and also spare him from societal distractions which would enable him to concentrate on issues and subjects which would be beneficial for his psychological evolution.
  • Here Dostoevsky has done a brilliant job in conveying the pitfalls isolation can push an individual into, where Raskolnikov through his judgments and opinions isolates himself and becomes repulsive towards society.


Importance of Companionship


In the novel, Raskolnikov's mental anguish and how the impact it has on his physical condition & decision-making is well documented. While all of these factors set somewhat of a dark tone in the novel, Razumihin the protagonist's only friend from the university, is like a breath of fresh air that adds a humorous touch to the novel. His constant perseverance to re-integrate the Repulsive Raskolnikov back to society & his family is endearing.


The harsh truth of society


  • Finally, the author signifies and gives a detailed account of how Raskolnikov makes amends amidst the mental turmoil and how other characters from the novel shape his ideology both in a positive & negative manner.
  • Like I said this novel is very hard-hitting when it comes to facts & realities of the old society & how it still resonates with our current society. How societal judgment contributes to the evolution & downfall of an individual is also shown in the novel. One of my favorite quotes from the novel sums up the context of suffering.


“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”- Quote from Crime & punishment — Courtesy-Goodreads

You can purchase the book by following this link - Crime and Punishment


Dostoevsky’s literature delves deep into the emotions and psyche of an individual, and due to this reason alone separates himself from other authors when it comes to delivering psychological literary masterpieces such as Crime & Punishment.

There are other famous novels of Dostoevsky that you can check out such as ''Brothers Karamazov''( which I am currently reading), ''The idiot'' that are popular in the psychology literature Genre & have a high readership all over the world.


Sources- Wikipedia , Crime & Punishment Book.


© 2021 Diganth Shetty

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