Crime and Punishment read-a-long weeks 6 and 7


The Crime and Punishment read-a-long is hosted by Wallace over at Unputdownables. In weeks six and seven we read from part 3, chapter 4 to the end of part 4 chapter 4. The official discussion posts are over at Unputdownables.

We’re now more than halfway through! And I read all of this week’s allotted chapters in a single sitting, so it might just be getting…compelling?

Unavoidably, this discussion will contain spoilers, so only read on if you don’t mind/have already read this far (or further).

I loved the conversation between Ras and Porfiry. Their discussion of Ras’ article about “extraordinary” people was full of fantastic quickfire wit and humour. I’m still torn as to whether Ras considers himself extraordinary, or perhaps did consider himself extraordinary until he tried to be and failed? Or if he knew all along he wasn’t and accepts that his crime was just that. But was this lucid period too much for Ras? He immediately sinks back into a bad state.

“‘Any man who has [a conscience] must suffer if he is conscious of error. That is his punishment – in addition to hard labour.’
…’But the real geniuses, those to whom you have granted the right to kill, ought surely not to suffer at all, even for the spilling of blood?’
…’There is no question either of permitting or of forbidding it. Let them suffer, if they feel pity for the victims. Suffering and pain are always obligatory on those of wide intellect and profound feeling. Truly great men must, I think, experience great sorrow on the earth,’ he added, suddenly thoughtful, as though to himself.”

Ooh, the stranger who calls Ras a murderer – considering all the references to ghosts in the following few chapters, was Ras just seeing things? Or is there really another character to be added to the cast list?

And what about Svidrigaylov? Was the imminent journey he referred to death? That was my immediate assumption.

Is it honourable of Ras to break off from his mother and sister and leave them in Raz’s care? I thought so. Raz has a plan, they have money coming; association with Ras will only bring problems and pain.

“I myself am, perhaps, even worse and viler than the louse I killed, and I knew beforehand that I should tell myself so after I had killed her! Can anything compare with such horror? Oh platitudes! What baseness!”

Now, Ras seems to be on the verge of something. Confession? Suicide? His conversation with Sonya veers wildly between compassion and complete lack of it, like he’s studying her to write an academic paper.