Raskolnikov is debt-ridden.
This is sort of relatable, when you get the image of him avoiding his landlady out of shame or whatever. But quickly he feels a little unhinged and dangerous to me.
“That is an axiom… I wonder, what are people most afraid of? A new step, their own new word, that’s what they’re most afraid of… I babble too much, however.”
I can see why Virginia Woolf liked him – this style reminds me a little of Mrs. Dalloway or To The Lighthouse, although there you’re in a character who feels more sympathetic. But that sense of self-doubt, and being on the precipice of splashing out in the world somehow, that feels familiar. This is 1866, though, not 1920, so wow.
He goes to a pawnbroker’s house (her name is Alyona Ivanovna) to borrow some money against his father’s silver watch. But he’s not so much there for the deal, because he’s watching everything she does and taking lots of creepy notes, and you already know this is him plotting a crime if you’ve read even a one-sentence summary of this book (or the title for that matter).
He leaves after asking not-so-subtly when she is usually home alone (get a dog, Alyona!) and leaves feeling troubled and conflicted. He freaks out and runs into a bar, where he drinks and eats and feels slightly better but still weird.