Some chapters move along a lot more easily for me than others — these two are a pairing like that.
Chapter 3 opens with Zossimov (the doctor friend) telling everyone Raskolnikov is doing a lot better. Of course we hear about his internal wounds and get a lot of sense that he is not doing great, but he manages to be only sort of sullen and weird while his friends, mom and sister visit him. He connects in a real-seeming way with his sister and even his half-assed attempts at acting normal definitely make his mom super happy (which is pretty sad).
Dunya, because she is smart, recognizes he’s mostly acting.
Zossimov points out that “…we’re all rather often almost like mad people, only with the slight difference that the ‘sick’ are somewhat madder than we are, so that it’s necessary to draw a line…” which seems like something we are supposed to note with interest.
Raskolnikov confesses to his mom how he gave away all her hard-scrabble money to the dead drunk guy (Marmeladov)’s family.
About his family Raskolnikov internally muses “I seemed to love them so much when they weren’t here.” Another one of those relatable statements, maybe, and certainly a big one for the time this was written.
We find out Dunya’s super fancy watch was a gift from Marfa Petrovna, not her boyfriend/fiance. Even less reason to like him, so Razumikhin is happy. (Cute.)
Raskolnikov again tells Dunya definitely not to marry Luzhin. She gives a well-reasoned explanation of why “I am marrying simply for myself, because things are hard for me… because I prefer the lesser of two evils.” Which isn’t exactly inspiring or romantic, but it’s a reason anyway. Later she asks him “Why do you demand a heroism of me that you may not even have in yourself?… I haven’t gone and put a knife into anyone yet!” and Rodya passes out.
Raskolnikov points out Luzhin is a bad writer and agrees to come to their place in direct opposition to Luzhin’s wishes in the letter he sent Dunya and the mom.
Chapter 4: The door opens and in comes Sonya, the sad beautiful innocent prostitute daughter of Marmeladov. We are told forty times how innocent, modest, sorry-about-prostitution and childlike she is. (Sad.)
She invites Raskolnikov to her dad’s funeral and a meal after. She notices how bad his apartment is and sees he isn’t a rich benefactor (which is probably really bad news for her family but she seems to be compassionate about it rather than disappointed).
Dunya and the mom leave, and Dunya is super resigned that they should forgive Raskolnikov for being wacko and that “One must be tolerant; then so much, so much can be forgiven” which sounds sort of like the Doormat Women’s Club motto, but I guess it makes sense for her in this moment. The mom is worried about Sonya messing up Raskolnikov’s life somehow (Too late, mom!).
Raskolnikov asks Razumikhin to go with him to Porfiry Petrovich and ask about some items he had pawned with Alyona. He strategizes and teases Raz about liking his sister so that the 2 of them enter Petrovich’s apartment laughing. We get bits in (parentheses) showing us Raskolnikov’s (inner thoughts) and how they are different from what he’s saying to Razumikhin on the surface.
Sonya walks home and a 50 year old man follows her.
Image of St Petersburg found here.