Part 1, Ch 6 & 7

So this is the end of Part One.

It’s also, finally, the Crime. At least in the literal sense.

In Chapter 6 we get more of a sense that everything is falling into place for Raskolnikov to go through with killing Alyona.

I’m interested in how all the coincidences (hearing exactly when Alyona would be alone, the original student friend telling him about Alyona in the first place, and most of all how he went to the tavern (BOO TAVERNS) and overheard the student and officer talking about how Alyona was basically the worst thing ever, “how wicked she was, how capricious; how if your payment was one day late, your pledge was lost. … the disgusting little hag used to beat her [sister] all the time and kept her completely enslaved…” (63-64). Also, apparently (and dropped in very coolly somehow) we learn “the fact that her sister Lizaveta was constantly pregnant.” Even though she’s unmarried, super tall, looks like a man/soldier, the guys apparently are able to get over all of this because she’s “so quiet, meek, uncomplaining, (and) agreeable” and also has a nice smile. SO SMILE LADIES and BE AGREEABLE and even if you have the really bad luck of being tall and tan, some random guys will be able to hold their noses long enough to get you constantly pregnant.

Uggghhhhhhh. Chalk up Lizaveta with Sonya and Dunya and the other longsuffering angels I guess. Not great. (Also add Nastasya, the maid who brings Raskolnikov bread and tea and soup from her own probably meager provisions while he lies on the sofa and doesn’t even talk to her, because he is busy with real problems like planning murders.)

Also, re: Lizaveta. When you’re just reading Chapter 6 you start to think innocent, abused Lizaveta is actually part of the reason justifying killing Alyona — you could save her from her evil finger-biting (??!) sister who is ruining her life in a reign of terror and constant pregnancy (still not over that one). But then Chapter 7 happens so nevermind.

Chapter 6 has a lot on this idea of instability in thinking — (69-70) he keeps having thoughts, almost certainties, working on a plan, and then renouncing them, having doubts, going back and forth. Basically as soon as he FINISHES a thought his mind changes so the only way for him to go through with a plan is to do it before he finishes the thought. That’s reminding me a little of duality and doubt and things I actually like thinking about. It’s a pretty negative thing for him that “he simply did not believe himself, and stubbornly, slavishly, sought objections on all sides, gropingly, as if someone were forcing him and drawing him to it” but it’s still kind of interesting to think about a mind pulled multiple directions at once, and again reminds me of Woolf and modernism and things I actually like.

So anyway, after much back and forth the plan comes together, he’s got it justified as not really a crime in his mind, he finds an axe, sews an axe-holding loop in his jacket, and heads out to do the deed. Chapter 6 ends with a great visual of Raskolnikov and Alyona both breathing and freaking out standing on either side of her apartment door.

axe

It’s interesting he compares his walk there to men being led out to execution (“their thoughts must cling to every object they meet on the way” on p. 73) since Dostoevsky himself was led to a mock execution before his sentence was commuted and he went to a labor camp in Siberia instead.

Chapter 7

He goes in, he’s super nervous, but then randomly comes up with things to say, she takes his fake item to evaluate for pawning, and he totally kills her with an axe.

He digs around leaving blood everywhere as he goes – you can sense that there is no Forensic Files or Luminol around in 1866 – finds her keys and steals some of the pledged items he finds in a trunk under her bed.

But then he turns around and her sister, Lizaveta the constantly pregnant finger-bitten angel, is standing right there. She barely protests as he kills her too, which is way sadder because he describes her like an innocent small child who basically expects abuse (instead of like her sister as a creepy, greasy, pennypinching old miser who profits from other people’s problems).

He tries to clean up his axe and clothes a little and (again by the door) evades a couple of pawn customers who come to the door and get suspicious then run to get the super.

He hides for a little bit in the empty apartment below which is being painted, then slips home undetected. He even puts the axe back.

Side note: Still weirded out with religion/morality in this book — Alyona’s apartment is full of crosses and she had promised all her money to a monastery which is really annoying to Raskolnikov and the student/officer because it could do “a thousand good deeds” for regular people instead. So it’s more moral for her not to give to the monastery? And then as he’s escaping his good luck at finding the empty apartment and making it home is described as salvation. I know Dostoevsky is seen as having a Christian moral agenda (like basically every Victorian era novelist) but it’s really still very unclear.

 

 

 

 

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