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Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment

God Answers the Questions Presented by Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment

In Dostoevsky’s novels pain and some heavy burden of the inevitability of human suffering and helplessness form Russia. And he depicts it not with white gloves on, nor through the blisters of the peasant, but through people who are close to him and his realities: city people who either have faith, or secular humanists who are so remote from reality that even when they love humanity they despise humans because of their own inability to achieve or to create paradise on earth. His novels The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment are best examples of the poisonous effect of such ideals on the common man. The rebellion of these humanists against the system and the reality of human life becomes more important, thus love becomes the filter and the servant of pride and ideals. The cause of XIX century liberals becomes more important to them than the actual human being that might not fit the picture of their perfect and humane society. Through these problems and opposites that cross and overlap each other, Dostoevsky depicts social issues, especially the problem of murder, through an image of people who go through pain. He presents a graphical experience of ones who do not know how to deal with humanity and its problems. Dostoevsky himself does not give a clear solution nor does he leave one with the certainty of faith for an example. He says himself:

Finding myself lost in the solution of these questions, I decide to bypass them with no solution at all. (From the Author. The Brothers Karamazov)

Through the presentation of crime and the issue of money which is often connected to it, Dostoevsky retells a Bible …

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Frank, Joseph. Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years 1865-1871. Princeton University Press. NJ, 1983.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Stories. Tr. Andrei Goncharov. Progress Publisher Moscow. USSR, 1971.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. A Writer’s Diary. Tr. Kenneth Lantz. Northwestern University Press. IL, 1993.

Kabat, Geoffrey. Ideology and Imagination. Columbia University Press. NY, 1978.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Tr. Constance Garnett. W-W-Norton

The Style of Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

“Young Goodman Brown” – the Style

Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty and E. Hudson Long in “The Social Criticism of a Public Man” state: “Beyond his remarkable sense of the past, which gives a genuine ring to the historical reconstructions, beyond his precise and simple style, which is in the great tradition of familiar narrative, the principal appeal of his work is in the quality of its allegory” (49). The style found in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” contains the features quoted in the above passage, as well as many others – which will be discussed in this essay.

The “precise” style mentioned by Bradley above may be the “detailed” style stated by Clarice Swisher in “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography”; she says: “In his journal – a kind of artist’s sketchbook – he recorded twenty-five thousand words describing people and places in detail” based on two brief visits (18). The author’s attention to detail may be the reason that every word seems to be meaningful in his sentences. Can you discard any words from the opening sentence without sacrificing some meaning: “Young Goodman Brown came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife.”

The reader can notice right away that Hawthorne writes in a well-read and cultivated style, avoiding the use of profanity, vulgar language, or words offensive to the ear. Consider his precise word selection from an enormous vocabulary:

They continued to walk onward, while the elder traveller exhorted his companion to make good speed and persevere in the path, discoursing so aptly, that his arguments seemed rather to spring up in the bosom of his auditor, than to be suggested by himself. As they went, he plucked a branch of maple, to serve for a walking-stick, and began to strip it of the twigs and little boughs, which were wet with evening dew

Even the most emotional outburst in the entire story does not contain any language remotely displeasing or uncultivated: “’Ha! ha! ha!’ roared Goodman Brown, when the wind laughed at him. “Let us hear which will laugh loudest! Think not to frighten me with your deviltry! Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powow, come devil himself! and here comes Goodman Brown. You may as well fear him as he fear you!’”

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