So Raskolnikov’s friends and acquaintances leave and he immediately goes from being catatonic on the bed to getting himself dressed and going out. Apparently he’s been making himself so crazy he actually made himself temporarily stable, because “emotional tension, so strong in him that it had reached the point of calm, of a fixed idea, gave him strength…” I’m a little bit obsessed with the tension/balance between extremes so that’s a neat idea to me but it doesn’t really last here.
So he heads out on the town and keeps repeating that EVERYTHING HAS TO END today. But as any reader by this point can probably guess, we are going to have a lot of ups and downs and spending of kopecks he really can’t afford.
He hears a pretty girl singing a love song but she’s only doing it for the money and quits as soon as he tips her.
He makes strange conversation with people on the street who cross the road to get away from him, for which I blame them 0%.
He goes to some dark alleyways and chats with prostitutes who all have black eyes (except cute Duklida but whatever) which is the saddest image ever.
He remembers some image from his studies of someone talking about how living on a tiny outcrop on the edge of a cliff would still be better than jumping off.
He sits down (sensibly, I think) to drink tea and read the papers in a tavern, and tries to catch up on the news, but the police officer guy Zamyotov is there and comes over to talk to him. They start talking about how to get away with crimes and Raskolnikov talks a lot about how to get away with things, which seems kind of unwise, especially because he then does the exact thing he said he would do (basically offering too much of yourself to the accuser so they will assume you didn’t do it because you’re being so forthcoming). They have a lot of awkward silence and staring into each other’s eyes. Raskolnikov does a weird “If I Did It…” type declaration to Zamyotov in which he says he would hide everything under a rock (which he did). He almost confesses and then flips it to a “So… did I trick you? Did you believe me?” moment.
Smooth one, Raskolnikov.
He goes to leave and runs into Razumikhin who is understandable mind-boggled and pissed at him for being out on the town. They have a big shout at each other but then Razumikhin invites him to a party and after Raskolnikov leaves he totally feels guilty for letting him leave and worries he will drown.
You’re such a mom, Razumikhin. I think this is endearing to the audience.
Right so then as he leaves he sees a “wild and ugly sight” which is a drunk lady (probably another prostitute) jumping off a bridge but then a crowd gathers and a policeman pulls her out of the water and everyone’s like “She’s okay! She’s just super drunk and depressed! She always does this.” which is, again, a very very depressing idea.
So after that, Raskolnikov is no longer feeling like “Everything has to end tonight!” as before, now he’s just super apathetic and not sure what to do.
SO HE GOES BACK TO ALYONA’S APARTMENT. The crime scene. And rings the doorbell a bunch of times and asks the people hanging wallpaper where all the blood went and baits them to take him to the police station a bunch of times. Maybe this is how it will end? But no. They just decide he is “a weird man” and there’s “no point in getting involved” so Raskolnikov wanders off alone and then sees a carriage in the street with a big crowd of people around it, and that’s our cliffhanger for how this chapter ends.
It’s interesting to me, by the way, how many chapters end with this kind of cliffhanger “hook” thing, since it was published in 12 parts. I’m assuming since there are six official “parts” to the book he published half a part in each of the 12 issues of The Russian Messenger in 1866, but I can’t track down whether that’s right or not. And if he didn’t need to grab people to read the next issue and buy it (like I feel a lot in Dickens when you hit a break point between serial issues) I’m not sure why he used the device so much. Maybe it was just more conventional at the time, or maybe he liked it. Who knows?
Image of The Russian Messenger found here.