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Thread: the brothers karamazov

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    If you didn't like Crime and Punishment, then you might still like The Brothers Karamazov because it's a lot better, and not as suffocating, dark, and depressing.


    Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov: SLE-Se?


    Dmitri Fyodorovich Karamazov: SEE? or EIE??/LSI-Se??? [Out of the three brothers, I think he was my favorite; I'll have to reread the novel next year, I guess, to see if that's still the case.]


    Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov: LII? [probably something XNTx]


    Alexei "Alyosha" Fyodorovich Karamazov: EII-Fi (Harmonizing subtype)


    Pavel Fyodorovich Smerdyakov: IEI-Ni?


    Agrafena Alexandrovna Svetlova ("Grushenka"): EIE [she's one of my favorite characters; I'll have to reread the novel next year, I guess, to see if that's still the case]


    Katerina Ivanovna Verkhovtseva: ESE? (ESFj) [maybe something XSFx, but not ESFp]


    Father Zosima, the Elder: EII?, IEI??, ESE???




    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bro...azov#Influence

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    The Brothers Karamazov; pp. 351-359: “His elder died today, the elder Zosima, the saint.”

    “The elder Zosima died!” Grushenka exclaimed. “Oh, Lord, I didn’t know!” She crossed herself piously. “Lord, but what am I doing now, sitting on his lap!” She suddenly gave a start as if in fright, jumped off his knees at once, and sat down on the sofa. Alyosha gave her a long, surprised look, and something seemed to light up in his face.

    “Rakitin,” he suddenly said loudly and firmly, “don’t taunt me with having rebelled against my God. I don’t want to hold any anger against you, and therefore you be kinder, too. I’ve lost such a treasure as you never had, and you cannot judge me now. You’d do better to look here, at her: did you see how she spared me? I came here looking for a wicked soul—I was drawn to that, because I was low and wicked myself, but I found a true sister, I found a treasure—a loving soul . . . She spared me just now . . . I’m speaking of you, Agrafena Alexandrovna. You restored my soul just now.”

    Alyosha was breathless and his lips began to tremble. He stopped.

    “Really saved you, did she!” Rakitin laughed spitefully. “Yet she was going to eat you up, do you know that?”

    “Stop, Rakitka!” Grushenka suddenly jumped up. “Be still, both of you. I’ll tell you everything now: you be still, Alyosha, because I feel ashamed of hearing such words from you, because I’m wicked, not good—that’s how I am. And you, Rakitka, be still because you’re lying. I did have such a low thought, of eating him up, but now you’re lying, it’s quite different now . . . and I don’t want to hear any more from you, Rakitka!” Grushenka spoke all this with unusual excitement.

    “Look at them—both senseless!” Rakitin hissed, staring at them both in amazement. “It’s crazy, I feel like I’m in a madhouse. They’ve both gone soft, they’ll start crying in a minute!”

    “I will start crying, I will start crying!” Grushenka kept repeating. “He called me his sister, I’ll never forget it! Just know one thing, Rakitka, I may be wicked, but still I gave an onion.”

    “An onion? Ah, the devil, they really have gone crazy!”

    Rakitin was surprised at their exaltation, which offended and annoyed him, though he should have realized that everything had just come together for them both in such a way that their souls were shaken, which does not happen very often in life. But Rakitin, who could be quite sensitive in understanding everything that concerned himself, was quite crude in understanding the feelings and sensations of his neighbors—partly because of his youthful inexperience, and partly because of his great egoism.

    “You see, Alyoshechka,” Grushenka turned to him, laughing nervously, “I’m boasting to Rakitka that I gave an onion, but I’m not boasting to you, I’ll tell you about it for a different reason. It’s just a fable, but a good fable, I heard it when I was still a child, from my Matryona who cooks for me now. It goes like this: Once upon a time there was a woman, and she was wicked as wicked could be, and she died. And not one good deed was left behind her. The devils took her and threw her into the lake of fire. And her guardian angel stood thinking: what good deed of hers can I remember to tell God? Then he remembered and said to God: once she pulled up an onion and gave it to a beggar woman. And God answered: now take that same onion, hold it out to her in the lake, let her take hold of it, and pull, and if you pull her out of the lake, she can go to paradise, but if the onion breaks, she can stay where she is. The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her: here, woman, he said, take hold of it and I’ll pull. And he began pulling carefully, and had almost pulled her all the way out, when other sinners in the lake saw her being pulled out and all began holding on to her so as to be pulled out with her. But the woman was wicked as wicked could be, and she began to kick them with her feet: ‘It’s me who’s getting pulled out, not you; it’s my onion, not yours.’ No sooner did she say it than the onion broke. And the woman fell back into the lake and is burning there to this day. And the angel wept and went away. That’s the fable, Alyosha, I know it by heart, because I myself am that wicked woman. I boasted to Rakitin that I gave an onion, but I’ll say it differently to you: in my whole life I’ve given just one little onion, that’s how much good I’ve done. And don’t praise me after that, Alyosha, don’t think I’m good, I’m wicked, wicked as can be, and if you praise me you’ll make me ashamed. Ah, let me confess everything: listen, Alyosha, I wanted so much to lure you here and pestered Rakitin so much that I even promised him twenty-five roubles if he’d bring you to me. No, wait, Rakitka!” She went briskly to the table, opened a drawer, got out a purse, and from the purse took a twenty-five-rouble bill.

    “What nonsense! What nonsense!” exclaimed Rakitin, taken aback.

    “I owe it to you, Rakitka, take it, you won’t refuse, you asked for it yourself,” and she flung the bill at him.

    “Why refuse?” Rakitin said in a deep voice, visibly ashamed, but disguising his embarrassment with swagger. “It will truly come in handy; fools exist for the intelligent man’s profit.”

    “And now keep still, Rakitka, what I’m going to say now is not for your ears. Sit there in the corner and keep still, you don’t love us, so keep still.”

    “What’s there to love you for?” Rakitin snarled, no longer concealing his spite. He put the twenty-five roubles in his pocket, and was decidedly ashamed before Alyosha. He had planned on being paid later, so that Alyosha would not know, but now shame made him angry. Up to that moment he had found it more politic not to contradict Grushenka too much, despite all her barbs, since she obviously had some sort of power over him. But now he, too, got angry:

    “One loves for some reason, and what has either of you done for me?”

    “You should love for no reason, like Alyosha.”

    “How does he love you? What has he shown you, that you’re making such a fuss about it?”

    Grushenka stood in the middle of the room; she spoke heatedly, and hysterical notes could be heard in her voice.

    “Keep still, Rakitka, you don’t understand anything about us! And don’t you dare speak familiarly with me again, I forbid it. You’re too bold, that’s what! Sit in the corner like my lackey and keep still. And now, Alyosha, I will tell the whole, pure truth to you alone, so that you can see what a creature I am! I tell it to you, not to Rakitka. I wanted to ruin you, I was quite determined, that is the great truth: I wanted it so much that I bribed Rakitka with money to bring you. And why did I want it so much? You knew nothing, Alyosha, you used to turn away from me, you’d walk by me with your eyes on the ground, but I looked at you a hundred times before, I began asking everyone about you. Your face stayed in my heart: ‘He despises me,’ I thought, ‘he doesn’t even want to look at me.’ And finally such a feeling took hold of me that I was surprised at myself: why should I be afraid of a boy like him? I’ll eat him up and laugh. I was so angry! Believe me, no one here dares to say or think they can come to Agrafena Alexandrovna for that bad thing; I have only the old man here, I’m bought and sold to him, Satan married us, but there’s no one else. Yet looking at you, I was determined: I’ll eat him up. Eat him up and laugh. See what a wicked bitch I am, and you called me your sister! Now the man who wronged me has come, I’m sitting here waiting for his message. Do you know what this man has been to me? It’s five years since Kuzma brought me here—I used to sit hiding from people, so that people wouldn’t see or hear me, a silly slip of a girl, sitting and crying, not sleeping all night, thinking: ‘Where is he now, the man who wronged me? He must be laughing at me with some other woman, and what won’t I do to him, if only I ever see him, if only I meet him: I’ll make him pay! How I’ll make him pay!’ At night, in the dark, I sobbed into the pillow and kept thinking it all over, I tore my heart on purpose, to ease it with spite: ‘How I’ll make him pay, oh, how I will!’ I would sometimes even scream in the darkness. Then I would suddenly remember that I was not going to do anything to him, but that he was laughing at me now, or maybe had quite forgotten me, just didn’t remember, and then I would throw myself from my bed onto the floor, flooding myself with helpless tears, and shake and shake till dawn. In the morning I would get up worse than a dog, ready to tear the whole world apart. And then you know what: I began saving money, became merciless, grew fat—and do you think I got any smarter? Not a bit. No one sees it, no one in the whole universe knows it, but when the dark of night falls, I sometimes lie just as I used to, as a young girl, five years ago, gnashing my teeth and crying all night, thinking: ‘I’ll show him, oh, yes, I’ll show him!’ Do you hear what I’m saying? Now try to understand me: a month ago I suddenly received this letter: he’s coming, his wife died, he wants to see me. It took my breath away. Lord, I suddenly thought: what if he comes and whistles for me, calls me, and I just crawl to him like a little dog, guilty and beaten! I thought of it and couldn’t believe myself: ‘Am I so base? Will I just run to him?’ And I’ve been so angry with myself all this month that it’s even worse than five years ago. Now you see how violent, how wild I am, Alyosha, I’ve spoken out the whole truth to you! I’ve been toying with Mitya so as not to run to the other one. Keep still, Rakitin, it’s not for you to judge me, I’m not telling it to you. Before you came I was lying here waiting, thinking, deciding my whole fate, and you will never know what was in my heart. No, Alyosha, tell your young lady not to be angry for two days ago. . . ! No one in the whole world knows how I feel now, or can know . . . Because maybe I’ll take a knife with me today, I haven’t decided yet . . .”

    And having uttered this “pathetic” phrase, Grushenka suddenly could not help herself: she broke off, covered her face with her hands, threw herself onto the sofa, into the pillows, and sobbed like a little child. Alyosha stood up and went over to Rakitin.

    “Misha,” he said, “don’t be angry. You’re offended with her, but don’t be angry. Did you hear her just now? One cannot ask so much of a human soul, one should be more merciful . . .”

    Alyosha said this from an unrestrainable impulse of his heart. He had to speak out and he turned to Rakitin. If there had been no Rakitin, he would have begun exclaiming to himself. But Rakitin looked at him with a sneer, and Alyosha suddenly stopped.

    “They just loaded you with your elder, and now you’ve fired your elder off at me, Alyoshenka, little man of God,” Rakitin said with a hateful smile.

    “Don’t laugh, Rakitin, don’t sneer, don’t speak of the deceased: he is higher than anyone who has ever lived!” Alyosha cried with tears in his voice. “I stood up to speak to you not as a judge but as the lowliest of the accused. Who am I compared with her? I came here seeking my own ruin, saying: ‘Who cares, who cares?’ because of my faintheartedness; but she, after five years of torment, as soon as someone comes and speaks a sincere word to her, forgives everything, forgets everything, and weeps! The man who wronged her has come back, he is calling her, and she forgives him everything, and hastens to him with joy, and she won’t take a knife, she won’t! No, I am not like that. I don’t know whether you are like that, Misha, but I am not like that! I learned this lesson today, just now . . . She is higher in love than we are . . . Have you ever heard her speak before of what she just told now? No, you have not; if you had, you would have understood everything long ago . . . and the other woman, who was offended two days ago, she, too, must forgive! And she will forgive if she knows . . . and she will know . . . This soul is not reconciled yet, it must be spared . . . maybe there is a treasure in this soul . . .”

    Alyosha fell silent, because his breath failed him. Rakitin, despite all his anger, watched in amazement. He had never expected such a tirade from the quiet Alyosha.

    “Quite a lawyer we’ve got here! Have you fallen in love with her or something? You win, Agrafena Alexandrovna, our ascetic is really in love with you!” he shouted with an insolent laugh.

    Grushenka raised her head from the pillow and looked at Alyosha; a tender smile shone on her face, somehow suddenly swollen with tears.

    “Let him be, Alyosha, my cherub, you see how he is, he’s not worth talking to. Mikhail Osipovich,” she turned to Rakitin, “I was about to ask your forgiveness for having been rude to you, but now I don’t want to. Alyosha, come here and sit down,” she beckoned to him with a joyful smile, “sit down, so, and tell me,” she took his hand, smiling, and peered into his face, “you tell me: do I love this man or not? The one who wronged me, do I love him or not? I was lying here in the dark before you came, and kept asking my heart: do I love this man or not? Deliver me, Alyosha, the time has come; it shall be as you decide. Should I forgive him or not?”

    “But you’ve already forgiven him,” Alyosha said, smiling.

    “Yes, I’ve forgiven him,” Grushenka said meaningly. “What a base heart! To my base heart!” She suddenly snatched a glass from the table, drank it in one gulp, held it up, and smashed it as hard as she could on the floor. The glass shattered and tinkled. A certain cruel line flashed in her smile.

    “Or maybe I haven’t forgiven him yet,” she said somehow menacingly, dropping her eyes to the ground, as though she were alone, talking to herself. “Maybe my heart is only getting ready to forgive him. I still have to struggle with my heart. You see, Alyosha, I’ve grown terribly fond of my tears over these five years . . . Maybe I’ve come to love only my wrong, and not him at all!”

    “I’d hate to be in his skin!” Rakitin hissed.

    “And you won’t be, Rakitka, you’ll never be in his skin. You’ll make shoes for me, Rakitka, that’s what I’ll have you do, and you’ll never get a woman like me . . . Maybe he won’t either . . .”

    “No? Then why all this finery?” Rakitin taunted her slyly.

    “Don’t reproach me with my finery, Rakitka, you don’t know the whole of my heart yet! If I choose, I’ll tear it off right now, I’ll tear it off this very minute!” she cried in a ringing voice. “You don’t know why I need this finery, Rakitka! Maybe I’ll go up to him and say: ‘Did you ever see me like this?’ He left a seventeen-year-old, skinny, consumptive crybaby. I’ll sit down beside him, I’ll seduce him, I’ll set him on fire: ‘Take a good look at me now, my dear sir, because that’s all you’ll get—for there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip!’ Maybe that’s why I need this finery, Rakitka,” Grushenka finished with a malicious little laugh. “I’m violent, Alyosha, I’m wild. I’ll tear off my finery, I’ll maim myself, my beauty, I’ll burn my face, and slash it with a knife, and go begging. If I choose, I won’t go anywhere or to anyone; if I choose, I’ll send everything back to Kuzma tomorrow, all his presents, and all his money, and go and work all my life as a charwoman . . . ! You think I won’t do it, Rakitka, you think I won’t dare to do it? I will, I will do it, I can do it now, only don’t annoy me . . . and I’ll get rid of that one, a fig for him, he won’t get me!”

    She shouted these last words hysterically, but again could not help herself, covered her face with her hands, threw herself onto the pillow, and again shook with sobs. Rakitin stood up.

    “Time to go,” he said, “it’s late, they won’t let us into the monastery.”

    Grushenka leaped to her feet.

    “You’re not going to leave, Alyosha!” she exclaimed in sorrowful amazement. “But what are you doing to me? You stirred me all up, tormented me, and now for another night I’ll be left alone again!”

    “What do you want him to do, spend the night here? He can if he wants to! I can go by myself!” Rakitin joked caustically.

    “Keep still, you wicked soul,” Grushenka shouted furiously at him, “you never said anything like what he came and told me.”

    “Just what did he tell you?” Rakitin grumbled irritably.

    “I don’t know, I don’t know what he told me, my heart heard it, he wrung my heart . . . He’s the first to pity me, and the only one, that’s what! Why didn’t you come before, you cherub,” she suddenly fell on her knees to him, as if beside herself. “All my life I’ve been waiting for such a one as you, I knew someone like that would come and forgive me. I believed that someone would love me, a dirty woman, not only for my shame . . . !”

    “What did I do for you?” Alyosha answered with a tender smile, and he bent down to her and gently took her hands. “I just gave you an onion, one little onion, that’s all, that’s all . . . !”

    Having said that, he himself started weeping. At the same moment there was a sudden noise at the doorway, someone came into the front hall; Grushenka jumped up, looking terribly frightened. Fenya rushed noisily into the room, shouting:

    “My lady, my dear, my lady, a messenger has ridden up,” she exclaimed joyfully and breathlessly. “A carriage has come for you from Mokroye, Timofei the coachman with a troika, they’re changing horses right now . . . The letter, the letter, my lady, here’s the letter!”

    She was holding the letter in her hand, waving it in the air all the while she was shouting. Grushenka snatched the letter from her and brought it near the candle. It was just a note, a few lines, and she read it in a moment.

    “He’s calling me!” she cried, quite pale, her face twisted in a painful smile. “He’s whistling! Crawl, little dog!”

    Only for one moment did she hesitate; suddenly the blood rushed to her head and brought fire to her cheeks.

    “I’m going!” she suddenly exclaimed. “Oh, my five years! Farewell, everyone! Farewell, Alyosha, my fate is decided . . . Go, go, all of you, go away, I don’t want to see you . . . ! Grushenka is flying to a new life . . . Rakitka, don’t you think ill of me either. Maybe I’m going to my death! Ah, I feel drunk!”

    She left them suddenly and ran to her bedroom.

    “Well, she can’t be bothered with us now!” Rakitin growled. “Let’s go, or there may be more of this female screaming, I’m sick of these tearful screams . . .”

    Alyosha mechanically allowed himself to be led out. The carriage stood in the yard, the horses were being unharnessed, people were bustling about with lanterns. A fresh troika was being led in through the open gate. But just as Alyosha and Rakitin were stepping off the porch, the window of Grushenka’s bedroom suddenly opened, and she called after Alyosha in a ringing voice:

    “Alyoshechka, bow to your brother Mitenka for me, and tell him not to think ill of me, his wicked woman. And tell him, too, that I said: ‘Grushenka has fallen to a scoundrel, and not to you, a noble man!’ And add this, too, that Grushenka loved him for one hour, just for one hour she loved him—and from now on he should remember that hour all his life; tell him, that is what Grushenka bids you forever.”

    She finished in a voice full of weeping. The window slammed shut.

    “Hm, hm!” Rakitin grunted, laughing. “She does in your brother Mitenka and then tells him to remember all his life. What a carnivore!”

    Alyosha made no reply, as if he had not heard; he walked briskly beside Rakitin, apparently in a great hurry; he walked mechanically, his mind apparently elsewhere. Rakitin was suddenly stung, as if someone had touched him on an open wound. He had been expecting something quite different when he brought Grushenka and Alyosha together; what had happened was something other than what he had wanted so much.

    “He’s a Pole, this officer of hers,” he spoke again, restraining himself, “and he’s not even an officer now, he served as a customs clerk in Siberia, somewhere on the Chinese border, just some runty little Polack. They say he lost his job. Now he’s heard that Grushenka has some money, so he’s come back—that’s the whole miracle.”

    Again it was as if Alyosha did not hear. Rakitin could not help himself:

    “So you converted a sinful woman?” he laughed spitefully to Alyosha. “Turned a harlot onto the path of truth? Drove out the seven devils, eh? So here’s where today’s expected miracles took place!”

    “Stop it, Rakitin,” Alyosha replied with suffering in his soul.

    “And now you ‘despise’ me for those twenty-five roubles? You think I sold a true friend. But you’re not Christ, and I’m not Judas.”

    “Ah, Rakitin, I assure you I’d forgotten all about that,” Alyosha exclaimed, “you’ve reminded me of it yourself . . .”

    But now Rakitin finally got mad.

    “The devil take you one and all!” he suddenly yelled. “Why the devil did I have anything to do with you! I don’t even want to know you anymore. Go by yourself, there’s your road!”

    And turning abruptly into another street, he left Alyosha alone in the dark.



    The Brothers Karamazov, pp. 265-269: “Brother, what are you driving at?” asked Alyosha.

    “I think if the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”

    “Just as he did God, then?” observed Alyosha.

    “ ‘It’s wonderful how you can turn words,’ as Polonius says in Hamlet,” laughed Ivan. “You turn my words against me. Well, I am glad. Yours must be a fine God, if man created Him in His image and likeness. You asked me just now what I was driving at. You see, I am fond of collecting certain facts, and, would you believe, I even copy anecdotes of a certain sort from newspapers and books, and I’ve already got a fine collection. The Turks, of course, have gone into it, but they are foreigners. I have specimens from home that are even better than the Turks. You know we prefer beating—rods and scourges—that’s our national institution. Nailing ears is unthinkable for us, for we are, after all, Europeans. But the rod and the scourge we have always with us and they cannot be taken from us. Abroad now they scarcely do any beating. Manners are more humane, or laws have been passed, so that they don’t dare to flog men now. But they make up for it in another way just as national as ours. And so national that it would be practically impossible among us, though I believe we are being inoculated with it, since the religious movement began in our aristocracy. I have a charming pamphlet, translated from the French, describing how, quite recently, five years ago, a murderer, Richard, was executed—a young man, I believe, of three and twenty, who repented and was converted to the Christian faith at the very scaffold. This Richard was an illegitimate child who was given as a child of six by his parents to some shepherds on the Swiss mountains. They brought him up to work for them. He grew up like a little wild beast among them. The shepherds taught him nothing, and scarcely fed or clothed him, but sent him out at seven to herd the flock in cold and wet, and no one hesitated or scrupled to treat him so. Quite the contrary, they thought they had every right, for Richard had been given to them as a chattel, and they did not even see the necessity of feeding him. Richard himself describes how in those years, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, he longed to eat of the mash given to the pigs, which were fattened for sale. But they wouldn’t even give him that, and beat him when he stole from the pigs. And that was how he spent all his childhood and his youth, till he grew up and was strong enough to go away and be a thief. The savage began to earn his living as a day labourer in Geneva. He drank what he earned, he lived like a brute, and finished by killing and robbing an old man. He was caught, tried, and condemned to death. They are not sentimentalists there. And in prison he was immediately surrounded by pastors, members of Christian brotherhoods, philanthropic ladies, and the like. They taught him to read and write in prison, and expounded the Gospel to him. They exhorted him, worked upon him, drummed at him incessantly, till at last he solemnly confessed his crime. He was converted. He wrote to the court himself that he was a monster, but that in the end God had vouchsafed him light and shown grace. All Geneva was in excitement about him—all philanthropic and religious Geneva. All the aristocratic and well-bred society of the town rushed to the prison, kissed Richard and embraced him; ‘You are our brother, you have found grace.’ And Richard does nothing but weep with emotion, “Yes, I’ve found grace! All my youth and childhood I was glad of pigs’ food, but now even I have found grace. I am dying in the Lord.’ ‘Yes, Richard, die in the Lord; you have shed blood and must die. Though it’s not your fault that you knew not the Lord, when you coveted the pigs’ food and were beaten for stealing it (which was very wrong of you, for stealing is forbidden); but you’ve shed blood and you must die.’ And on the last day, Richard, perfectly limp, did nothing but cry and repeat every minute: ‘This is my happiest day. I am going to the Lord.’ ‘Yes,’ cry the pastors and the judges and philanthropic ladies. ‘This is the happiest day of your life, for you are going to the Lord!’ They all walk or drive to the scaffold in procession behind the prison van. At the scaffold they call to Richard: ‘Die, brother, die in the Lord, for even thou hast found grace!’ And so, covered with his brothers’ kisses, Richard is dragged on to the scaffold, and led to the guillotine. And they chopped off his head in brotherly fashion, because he had found grace. Yes, that’s characteristic. That pamphlet is translated into Russian by some Russian philanthropists of aristocratic rank and evangelical aspirations, and has been distributed gratis for the enlightenment of the people. The case of Richard is interesting because it’s national. Though to us it’s absurd to cut off a man’s head, because he has become our brother and has found grace, yet we have our own specialty, which is all but worse. Our historical pastime is the direct satisfaction of inflicting pain. There are lines in Nekrassov describing how a peasant lashes a horse on the eyes, ‘on its meek eyes,’ every one must have seen it. It’s peculiarly Russian. He describes how a feeble little nag had foundered under too heavy a load and cannot move. The peasant beats it, beats it savagely, beats it at last not knowing what he is doing in the intoxication of cruelty, thrashes it mercilessly over and over again. ‘However weak you are, you must pull, if you die for it.’ The nag strains, and then he begins lashing the poor defenceless creature on its weeping, on its ‘meek eyes.’ The frantic beast tugs and draws the load, trembling all over, gasping for breath, moving sideways, with a sort of unnatural spasmodic action—it’s awful in Nekrassov. But that’s only a horse, and God has given horses to be beaten. So the Tatars have taught us, and they left us the knout as a remembrance of it. But men, too, can be beaten. A well-educated, cultured gentleman and his wife beat their own child with a birch-rod, a girl of seven. I have an exact account of it. The papa was glad that the birch was covered with twigs. ‘It stings more,’ said he, and so he began stinging his daughter. I know for a fact there are people who at every blow are worked up to sensuality, to literal sensuality, which increases progressively at every blow they inflict. They beat for a minute, for five minutes, for ten minutes, more often and more savagely. The child screams. At last the child cannot scream, it gasps, ‘Daddy! daddy!’ By some diabolical unseemly chance the case was brought into court. A counsel is engaged. The Russian people have long called a barrister ‘a conscience for hire.’ The counsel protests in his client’s defence. ‘It’s such a simple thing,’ he says, ‘an every-day domestic event. A father corrects his child. To our shame be it said, it is brought into court.’ The jury, convinced by him, give a favourable verdict. The public roars with delight that the torturer is acquitted. Ah, pity I wasn’t there! I would have proposed to raise a subscription in his honour! . . . Charming pictures.

    “But I’ve still better things about children. I’ve collected a great, great deal about Russian children, Alyosha. There was a little girl of five who was hated by her father and mother, ‘most worthy and respectable people, of good education and breeding.’ You see, I must repeat again, it is a peculiar characteristic of many people, this love of torturing children, and children only. To all other types of humanity these torturers behave mildly and benevolently, like cultivated and humane Europeans; but they are very fond of tormenting children, even fond of children themselves in that sense. It’s just their defencelessness that tempts the tormentor, just the angelic confidence of the child who has no refuge and no appeal, that sets his vile blood on fire. In every man, of course, a demon lies hidden—the demon of rage, the demon of lustful heat at the screams of the tortured victim, the demon of lawlessness let off the chain, the demon of diseases that follow on vice, gout, kidney disease, and so on.

    “This poor child of five was subjected to every possible torture by those cultivated parents. They beat her, thrashed her, kicked her for no reason till her body was one bruise. Then, they went to greater refinements of cruelty—shut her up all night in the cold and frost in a privy, and because she didn’t ask to be taken up at night (as though a child of five sleeping its angelic, sound sleep could be trained to wake and ask), they smeared her face and filled her mouth with excrement, and it was her mother, her mother did this. And that mother could sleep, hearing the poor child’s groans! Can you understand why a little creature, who can’t even understand what’s done to her, should beat her little aching heart with her tiny fist in the dark and the cold, and weep her meek unresentful tears to dear, kind God to protect her? Do you understand that, friend and brother, you pious and humble novice? Do you understand why this infamy must be and is permitted? Without it, I am told, man could not have existed on earth, for he could not have known good and evil. Why should he know that diabolical good and evil when it costs so much? Why, the whole world of knowledge is not worth that child’s prayer to ‘dear, kind God’!


    The Brothers Karamazov; p. 45: “ . . . You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offence, isn’t it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill—he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offence, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness . . .”
    Last edited by HERO; 07-26-2014 at 02:26 AM.

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    Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov: SLE-Se

    Dmitri Fyodorovich Karamazov: LSI (or SLE-Ti)

    Ivan Fyodorovich Karamazov: LII or ILI

    Alexei "Alyosha" Fyodorovich Karamazov: EII

    Pavel Fyodorovich Smerdyakov: IEI (?) --- it's hard to type someone suffering from a disease (type may become irrelevant in the story)

    Agrafena Alexandrovna Svetlova ("Grushenka"): SEE

    Katerina Ivanovna Verkhovtseva: ESE

    Father Zosima, the Elder: Fi something

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    Hopefully we can agree that Crime and Punishment is more of a Delta and/or Alpha and/or Gamma novel, since I read half of it and didn't like it that much. Yet it's one of my Mom's favorite novels and she's read it more than once.



    More characters from The Brothers Karamazov:


    Madame Khokhlakov: EIE-Fe?

    The Devil: EIE (ENFj-Ni?)

    the narrator: LSE (ESTj-Te?)

    Pyotr Ilyich Perkhotin: LSI (ISTj-Ti?)



    - “In him, it seems to me, unconsciously, as it were, and so early on, there betrayed itself that timid despair that leads so many in our poor society, fearing its cynicism and depravity, and mistakenly ascribing all evil to European enlightenment, to throw themselves, as they put it, to the ‘native soil,’ so to speak, into the motherly embrace of the native earth, like children frightened by ghosts, who even at the dried-up breast of a paralyzed mother wish only to fall peacefully asleep and even to sleep for the rest of their lives, simply not to see the horrors that frighten them.”—Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov



    - Miüsov took a cursory glance at all these “conventional” surroundings and bent an intent look upon the elder. He had a high opinion of his own insight, a weakness excusable in him as he was fifty, an age at which a clever man of the world of established position can hardly help taking himself rather seriously. At the first moment he did not like Zossima. There was, indeed, something in the elder's face which many people besides Miüsov might not have liked. He was a short, bent, little man, with very weak legs, and though he was only sixty-five, he looked at least ten years older. His face was very thin and covered with a network of fine wrinkles, particularly numerous about his eyes, which were small, light-colored, quick, and shining like two bright points. He had a sprinkling of gray hair about his temples. His pointed beard was small and scanty, and his lips, which smiled frequently, were as thin as two threads. His nose was not long, but sharp, like a bird's beak.

    “To all appearances a malicious soul, full of petty pride,” thought Miüsov. He felt altogether dissatisfied with his position.

    A cheap little clock on the wall struck twelve hurriedly, and served to begin the conversation.

    “Precisely to our time,” cried Fyodor Pavlovitch, “but no sign of my son, Dmitri. I apologize for him, sacred elder!” (Alyosha shuddered all over at “sacred elder.”) “I am always punctual myself, minute for minute, remembering that punctuality is the courtesy of kings....”

    “But you are not a king, anyway,” Miüsov muttered, losing his self-restraint at once.

    “Yes; that's true. I'm not a king, and, would you believe it, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, I was aware of that myself. But, there! I introduce myself as such. It's an old habit, alas! And if I sometimes talk nonsense out of place it's with an object, with the object of amusing people and making myself agreeable. One must be agreeable, mustn't one? I was seven years ago in a little town where I had business, and I made friends with some merchants there. We went to the captain of police because we had to see him about something, and to ask him to dine with us. He was a tall, fat, fair, sulky man, the most dangerous type in such cases. It's their liver. I went straight up to him, and with the ease of a man of the world, you know, ‘Mr. Ispravnik,’ said I, ‘be our Napravnik.’ ‘What do you mean by Napravnik?’ said he. I saw, at the first half-second, that it had missed fire. He stood there so glum. ‘I wanted to make a joke,’ said I, ‘for the general diversion, as Mr. Napravnik is our well-known Russian orchestra conductor and what we need for the harmony of our undertaking is some one of that sort.’ And I explained my comparison very reasonably, didn't I? ‘Excuse me,’ said he, ‘I am an Ispravnik, and I do not allow puns to be made on my calling.’ He turned and walked away. I followed him, shouting, ‘Yes, yes, you are an Ispravnik, not a Napravnik.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘since you called me a Napravnik I am one.’ And would you believe it, it ruined our business! And I'm always like that, always like that. Always injuring myself with my politeness. Once, many years ago, I said to an influential person: ‘Your wife is a ticklish lady,’ in an honorable sense, of the moral qualities, so to speak. But he asked me, ‘Why, have you tickled her?’ I thought I'd be polite, so I couldn't help saying, ‘Yes,’ and he gave me a fine tickling on the spot. Only that happened long ago, so I'm not ashamed to tell the story. I'm always injuring myself like that.”

    “You're doing it now,” muttered Miüsov, with disgust.

    Father Zossima scrutinized them both in silence.

    “Am I? Would you believe it, I was aware of that, too, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, and let me tell you, indeed, I foresaw I should as soon as I began to speak. And do you know I foresaw, too, that you'd be the first to remark on it. The minute I see my joke isn't coming off, your reverence, both my cheeks feel as though they were drawn down to the lower jaw and there is almost a spasm in them. That's been so since I was young, when I had to make jokes for my living in noblemen's families. I am an inveterate buffoon, and have been from birth up, your reverence, it's as though it were a craze in me. I dare say it's a devil within me. But only a little one. A more serious one would have chosen another lodging. But not your soul, Pyotr Alexandrovitch; you're not a lodging worth having either . . . .”


    “Great elder, speak! Do I annoy you by my vivacity?” Fyodor Pavlovitch cried suddenly, clutching the arms of his chair in both hands, as though ready to leap up from it if the answer were unfavorable. “I earnestly beg you, too, not to disturb yourself, and not to be uneasy,” the elder said impressively. “Do not trouble. Make yourself quite at home. And, above all, do not be so ashamed of yourself, for that is at the root of it all.”

    “Quite at home? To be my natural self? Oh, that is much too much, but I accept it with grateful joy. Do you know, blessed Father, you'd better not invite me to be my natural self. Don't risk it.... I will not go so far as that myself. I warn you for your own sake. Well, the rest is still plunged in the mists of uncertainty, though there are people who'd be pleased to describe me for you. I mean that for you, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. But as for you, holy being, let me tell you, I am brimming over with ecstasy.”

    He got up, and throwing up his hands, declaimed, “Blessed be the womb that bare thee, and the paps that gave thee suck—the paps especially. When you said just now, ‘Don't be so ashamed of yourself, for that is at the root of it all,’ you pierced right through me by that remark, and read me to the core. Indeed, I always feel when I meet people that I am lower than all, and that they all take me for a buffoon. So I say, ‘Let me really play the buffoon. I am not afraid of your opinion, for you are every one of you worse than I am.’ That is why I am a buffoon. It is from shame, great elder, from shame; it's simply over-sensitiveness that makes me rowdy. If I had only been sure that every one would accept me as the kindest and wisest of men, oh, Lord, what a good man I should have been then! Teacher!” he fell suddenly on his knees, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

    It was difficult even now to decide whether he was joking or really moved.

    Father Zossima, lifting his eyes, looked at him, and said with a smile: “You have known for a long time what you must do. You have sense enough: don't give way to drunkenness and incontinence of speech; don't give way to sensual lust; and, above all, to the love of money. And close your taverns. If you can't close all, at least two or three. And, above all—don't lie.”

    “You mean about Diderot?”

    “No, not about Diderot. Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself. The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than any one. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill—he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness. But get up, sit down, I beg you. All this, too, is deceitful posturing....”

    “Blessed man! Give me your hand to kiss.” Fyodor Pavlovitch skipped up, and imprinted a rapid kiss on the elder's thin hand. “It is, it is pleasant to take offense. You said that so well, as I never heard it before. Yes, I have been all my life taking offense, to please myself, taking offense on esthetic grounds, for it is not so much pleasant as distinguished sometimes to be insulted—that you had forgotten, great elder, it is distinguished! I shall make a note of that. But I have been lying, lying positively my whole life long, every day and hour of it. Of a truth, I am a lie, and the father of lies. Though I believe I am not the father of lies. I am getting mixed in my texts. Say, the son of lies, and that will be enough. Only ... my angel ... I may sometimes talk about Diderot! Diderot will do no harm, though sometimes a word will do harm. Great elder, by the way, I was forgetting, though I had been meaning for the last two years to come here on purpose to ask and to find out something. Only do tell Pyotr Alexandrovitch not to interrupt me. Here is my question: Is it true, great Father, that the story is told somewhere in the Lives of the Saints of a holy saint martyred for his faith who, when his head was cut off at last, stood up, picked up his head, and, ‘courteously kissing it,’ walked a long way, carrying it in his hands. Is that true or not, honored Father?”

    “No, it is untrue,” said the elder.

    “There is nothing of the kind in all the lives of the saints. What saint do you say the story is told of?” asked the Father Librarian.

    “I do not know what saint. I do not know, and can't tell. I was deceived. I was told the story. I had heard it, and do you know who told it? Pyotr Alexandrovitch Miüsov here, who was so angry just now about Diderot. He it was who told the story.”

    “I have never told it you, I never speak to you at all.”

    “It is true you did not tell me, but you told it when I was present. It was three years ago. I mentioned it because by that ridiculous story you shook my faith, Pyotr Alexandrovitch. You knew nothing of it, but I went home with my faith shaken, and I have been getting more and more shaken ever since. Yes, Pyotr Alexandrovitch, you were the cause of a great fall. That was not a Diderot!”

    Fyodor Pavlovitch got excited and pathetic, though it was perfectly clear to every one by now that he was playing a part again. Yet Miüsov was stung by his words.

    “What nonsense, and it is all nonsense,” he muttered. “I may really have told it, some time or other ... but not to you. I was told it myself. I heard it in Paris from a Frenchman. He told me it was read at our mass from the Lives of the Saints ... he was a very learned man who had made a special study of Russian statistics and had lived a long time in Russia.... I have not read the Lives of the Saints myself, and I am not going to read them ... all sorts of things are said at dinner—we were dining then.”

    “Yes, you were dining then, and so I lost my faith!” said Fyodor Pavlovitch, mimicking him.

    “What do I care for your faith?” Miüsov was on the point of shouting, but he suddenly checked himself, and said with contempt, “You defile everything you touch.”

    The elder suddenly rose from his seat. “Excuse me, gentlemen, for leaving you a few minutes,” he said, addressing all his guests. “I have visitors awaiting me who arrived before you. But don't you tell lies all the same,” he added, turning to Fyodor Pavlovitch with a good-humored face.

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    The History of The Brothers Karamazov (B+/A-)

    On some level, every work of art is like a (literal) dream of the creator. Like many of humanity’s most powerful and universal dreams, works of art (are created by individuals who) often unwittingly draw inspiration from the subconscious and its contents, which include repressed experiences and traumas from childhood, infancy, birth, and the pre-birth experience. In addition to the repressed and subconscious, many artists and writers also resort to the semi-autobiographical, by incorporating conscious memories or facts about their early lives. Finally yet importantly, the work of art can also be a revelatory commentary or reflection of the artist’s or writer’s society; and depending on the acuity, talent, and genius of the artist, this creative personification of a culture or nation can prove to be accurate and relevant for decades, if not centuries, to come. It is this fruitful interplay between the personal subconscious and collective unconscious that can give birth to a truly great work of art. One notable example is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    The character of the father, Fyodor Karamazov, is in many respects modeled on Dostoyevsky’s own father. Quoting Janko Lavrin regarding Dostoyevsky’s father, Alice Miller wrote, ‘that after his wife’s death, he “led the life of a wastrel, drunkard, and tyrant. He treated his serfs with such cruelty that in 1839 they murdered him most brutally.”’ (Lavrin 9). Since mistreatment of serfs tended to be the norm in Russia, Alice Miller soundly conjectures that Dostoyevsky’s father must have been abusive with his own sons if he treated his own serfs so atrociously that they ultimately killed him. Seemingly siding with the abusive father, Richard Peace adopts a less empathetic and enlightened view regarding Dostoyevsky in relation to his father: “The sons did not get on well with their father, and any feelings of guilt bred in their minds by the consciousness of this hostility must surely have been further nourished by the way in which they acted after his death.” Peace relates that, “Dostoyevsky’s father was killed by his own peasants in dubious circumstances,” and is struck by the “fact that the murder was hushed up and none of those guilty was sent to Siberia.” (Peace 218). In The Brothers Karamazov English translation by David McDuff, the first sentence of Book I (“The Story of a Certain Little Family”) describes the character of the father, “Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov” as being “noted in his time (and even now still recollected among us) for his tragic and fishy death . . . .” (Dostoyevsky; McDuff, 15). Similarly, a Constance Garnett translation describes him as “a landowner in our district who became a celebrity (and is remembered to this day) because of the tragic and mysterious end he met exactly thirteen years ago . . . .” (Dostoevsky; Garnett, 3).

    It is possible that The Brothers Karamazov, on some level, functions as an allegorical history of Dostoyevsky’s childhood. Therefore, it is also possible that many of the characters symbolize aspects of Dostoyevsky’s own psyche and family background. Fyodor Karamazov is the selfish, irresponsible, wicked, abandoning, and neglectful “dissolute old father”. (Beckett 506). Alyosha represents Dostoyevsky’s original child-like innocence, faith in humanity, and hope for the future before Dostoyevsky’s (early) years of childhood abuse and trauma had ultimately taken such a toll on him. Alyosha embodies both Dostoyevsky’s idealized and unblemished “soul” (Peace 229) and his resistance to blaming the abusive parent, a resistance that is supported by the taboos and conventions of society. Dmitri represents Dostoyevsky’s repressed rage against his father. Through the character of Dmitri, Dostoyevsky manages to give artistic expression to his vital “emotions” (Peace 229) and suppressed indignation against his own father. Nevertheless, if the majority of society is unable to recognize, accept, and therapeutically engage this rage, Dmitri’s fate in the novel should come as no surprise. He is described as being “recklessly emotional” (Beckett 506) and is wrongfully convicted of his father’s murder. Yet a profound sensitivity also characterizes Dmitri: “[A] preoccupation with man lies at the heart of Dmitri’s attitude to life”, and he is “humanistic” (Peace 222) and “romantic” (Crane 15) at heart. Ivan represents Dostoyevsky’s “intellect” (Peace 229), which comprises his intellectualizations, philosophising, evasions, and knowledge. Ivan is also emblematic of both Dostoyevsky’s flight from and fear of the truth and his attempts to confront unpleasant truths, although Dostoyevsky’s attempts were seldom in relation to his own childhood. Smerdyakov represents Dostoyevsky’s shadow (or one of its faces), as well as the evil of the childhood traumas Dostoyevsky endured. This apparently illegitimate and marginalized shadow self encompasses the disowned elements of Dostoyevsky’s subconscious and personality (i.e. his repression, blind spots, etc.). Smerdyakov is described as personifying the role of “the physical” (Crane 15); and a simplistic characterization would paint him as a banal, pitiful, and anti-poetic human being. Smerdyakov even “regards verse” as “absolute nonsense”, and remarks that “[v]erses are not practical”. (Dostoyevsky quoted by Peace 225). When one considers the importance of these characters, one may arrive at the conclusion that the protagonist of The Brothers Karamazov “is a brotherhood” (Peace 229) or (the human) family. “In Ivan, in Dmitry, in the old Karamazov, the novelist embodied his own mental conflict, his emotional disorder, his carnality. Through these characters, and that of Smerdyakov, he could give his own dark impulses their freedom, because they were disguised, like the elements that rise to consciousness in the dream.” (Yarmolinsky 389).

    The Brothers Karamazov . . . was first serialized in The Russian Herald in 1879-80.” Dostoyevsky died “in early 1881”, not long after he completed the novel. (Busch 115). The Brothers Karamazov was the last work of fiction Dostoyevsky created, and it was his last chance to commit to writing examples of the deplorable suffering experienced by children, and to symbolically and artistically represent the suffering of his own childhood self and his true feelings about abuse and violence against children (as expressed by the character of Ivan). Regarding Dostoyevsky’s family background, he was the “son of an impoverished nobleman of Lithuanian origin . . . . Doctor [Elder] Dostoyevsky, authoritarian and morose, believed in old-fashioned discipline and strict religious upbringing, and Fyodor [Dostoyevsky]’s childhood was a rather depressing one.” (Slonim, v). The remarkable chapter “Rebellion” [Chap. 4, Book 5] presents an unflinching examination of sadistic child abuse and murder as perceived by Ivan. Although he may not be referring to corporal punishment or physical abuse of children, Ivan compares Russians to those he views as “foreigners” or barbarians by saying, “You know we prefer beating—rods and scourges—that’s our national institution.” (Dostoyevsky; Garnett, 284). Another of Ivan’s observations anticipates those of Alice Miller’s: “ . . . [I]t is a peculiar characteristic of many people, this love of torturing children, and children only. To all other types of humanity these torturers behave mildly and benevolently, like cultivated and humane Europeans; but they are very fond of tormenting children, even fond of children themselves in that sense.” (Dostoyevsky; Garnett, 286, 287). Taking the side of a physically abused “seven-year-old” girl, in early 1876, Dostoyevsky once wrote in The Diary of a Writer, “Children’s hearts are full of innocent, almost unconscious, love, and such blows evoke in them a sorrowful astonishment and tears which God beholds and will count.” [Dostoievsky 1: 233 (“1873-1881”)]. In The Notebooks for The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky composed a fragmentary sketch and characterization of Ivan and Alyosha’s conversation: “If you were creating the world, would you have built it on the single tear of a child. Somewhere in an inn they talked about such nonsense. That is possible only in Russia.” (73). One can only imagine how many tears Dostoevsky himself may have shed in his childhood. Also in The Notebooks (for Book Five), Ivan’s repudiation of an absurd and illusory dogma is presented succinctly, movingly, and profoundly: “I cannot admit that the future harmony is worth the price. And if it is worth that, then I don’t want to admit it. I have too much pity for little children, and I ask that I am freed beforehand from that harmony, I am giving back my ticket.” (62).

    In 1981, Richard Crane published the Brothers Karamazov play. Looking back at myriad performances of the play, he recalled when it was presented “in the National Theatre of Romania in 1991, just a year after the execution of their own depraved father-figure,” and that this “play with its rich absurd humour and its hymn to a new liberated ‘fatherless’ state, was suddenly Romanian to the core.” (Crane 16). The atrocious Ceaușescu, who was very abused and uneducated, was the worst leader Romania ever had; and he wrought devastation on Romania’s economy, agriculture, tourism, quality of life, beauty, etc. In addition, his perverse communist regime birthed aftershocks that have continued for decades in the form of corruption, injustice, persecution, and perfidy in the realms of business, law enforcement, government, the legal system, and society in general. Regarding Crane’s Brothers Karamazov, one of the best adaptations from novel to play can be found in the following sentences that the prosecutor speaks at the trial: “. . . [W]e are racing towards Sodom, to the lure of the marketplace where murder and misery may be bought and sold. The world has proclaimed freedom. What is this freedom but slavery to the senses, despair and suicide?” (Crane 74). In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky wrote, “. . . [O]ur fateful troika is racing headlong, perhaps to its destruction. And all over Russia hands have long been held out and voices have been calling to halt its wild, impudent course. And if so far the other nations still stand aside for the troika galloping at breakneck speed, it is not at all, perhaps, out of respect, as the poet would have it, but simply from horror—mark that—from horror, and perhaps from loathing for her.” (Dostoevsky; Pevear, 722). Perhaps the Russia of Dostoyevsky’s time has not changed as much as one would be inclined to believe. In 1877, Dostoyevsky wrote that if it were “a punishable offense for fathers to treat their children indolently, incompetently and heartlessly” then “it would be necessary to condemn half of Russia”, if not “far more than that”. He also bravely noted that “[n]ine-tenths of Russia practices” “flog[ging] children with rods”. (Dostoievsky 2: 766). Russia needs to “repair the troika” (Dostoevsky, Notebooks, 243) by improving child rearing [i.e. reducing (physical) abuse, corporal punishment, etc.] and creating a more democratic, just, healthy, and tolerant society. Without merely imitating or emulating the West, Russia (like many other nations) still has the capacity to become genuinely enlightened and utopian. Of course, this evolution is dependent on an earnest (and perhaps more ‘populist’) desire for truth, humanism, and social and political change. And as always, the most virulent obstacles comprise silence, (internalized and external) oppression, and resistance to and fear of truths and alternatives.

    One of the most rarefied and prescient chapters of The Brothers Karamazov is “The Grand Inquisitor”. Speaking to Jesus, whom he has imprisoned, the Grand Inquisitor says, “[L]et me tell You that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they are completely free, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet.” (Dostoevsky; Matlaw, 125). Millions of people are slaves to the evils of puritanism, heterosexualization, and the hypocritically pious and insidious, possibly Judeo-Christian, idea that sex or lovemaking has to involve penetration or insertion. Oppression comes in many forms, some of which may be unrecognized by the vast majority of capitalists and communists alike. Nevertheless, a “socialist Christian” (Dostoevsky; Pevear, 67) or polytheist may be more inclined to embrace a marginalized yet ethical, upright, and honourable code than a cynical secularist would. A person who is not dependent on a limiting, reactionary, and/or self-defeating zeitgeist or (cultural) paradigm in order to affirm their superficial sense of identity, likewise would not need to preach and promulgate—or remain apathetic regarding—a destructive way of life. They would have no need to manipulate, influence, or coerce people into approving or following an example that is harmful or degrading. “Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.” (Rand, Ayn). The rights of human beings consist of health, dignity, love, compassion, respect, life, truth, freedom of choice, and the freedom to identify and defy oppression, hypocrisy, and destructiveness.

    Dostoyevsky often had a tendency to explore the dark and unconscious side of human behavior and motivations. In the category of worst-case scenarios, this may be one of his prophecies regarding the future of humanity: “. . . [T]here is a contaminated spirit, at times, the spirit of the whole nation, which is frequently accompanied by such a degree of blindness that no facts can cure, no matter how persistently these point to the straight road. On the contrary, this kind of blindness remodels facts to its own taste and assimilates them with its own contaminated spirit; and it even happens that a whole nation would rather deliberately die, that is, holding onto its blindness, than be cured, refusing the cure.” (Dostoievsky 2: 561).




    Works Cited

    Lavrin, Janko. Fyodor M. Dostojevskij. 9. Quoted in The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness. By Alice Miller. New York: Doubleday, 1990. 60. Print.

    Peace, Richard. “Parricide: ‘The Brothers Karamazov’.” Dostoyevsky: An Examination of the Major Novels. London: Cambridge University Press, 1971. 218, 222, 225, 229. Print.

    Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. David McDuff. London: Penguin, 2003. Amazon.co.uk. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Modern Library, 1984. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

    Beckett, Lucy. “Russia II: The Brothers Karamazov to Solzhenitsyn.” In the Light of Christ: Writings in the Western Tradition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006. 506. Print.

    Crane, Richard. Introduction. Russian Plays. London: Oberon Books, 2011. 15, 16. Print.

    Yarmolinsky, Avrahm. ‘“Hurrah for Karamazov!”’ Dostoevsky: His Life and Art. New Jersey: S. G. Phillips, 1957. 389. Print.

    Busch, R. L. “The Brothers Karamazov.” Humor in the Major Novels of F. M. Dostoevsky. Columbus: Slavica, 1987. 115. Print.

    Slonim, Marc. Introduction. The Brothers Karamazov. By Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Vintage Books, 1955. v. Print.

    Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Vintage Books, 1955. 284, 286, 287. Print.

    Dostoievsky, Feodor M. The Diary of a Writer. Trans. Boris Brasol. 2 vols. New York: Octagon Books, 1973. 233, 561, 766. Print.

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Notebooks for The Brothers Karamazov. Ed. and Trans. Edward Wasiolek. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971. 62, 73, 243. Print.

    Crane, Richard. “Brothers Karamazov.” Russian Plays. London: Oberon Books, 2011. 74. Print.

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. 67, 722. Print.

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor. “The Grand Inquisitor.” Notes From Underground and The Grand Inquisitor. Trans. Ralph E. Matlaw. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1960. 125. Print.

    Rand, Ayn. The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z. New York: Penguin, 1988. Google Books. Web. 16 Oct. 2014.




    Appendix A: Four of My Favourite Quotations/Excerpts from The Brothers Karamazov

    1. “In him, it seems to me, unconsciously, as it were, and so early on, there betrayed itself that timid despair that leads so many in our poor society, fearing its cynicism and depravity, and mistakenly ascribing all evil to European enlightenment, to throw themselves, as they put it, to the ‘native soil,’ so to speak, into the motherly embrace of the native earth, like children frightened by ghosts, who even at the dried-up breast of a paralyzed mother wish only to fall peacefully asleep and even to sleep for the rest of their lives, simply not to see the horrors that frighten them.” (Dostoevsky; Pevear, 697).

    2. “People talk sometimes of bestial cruelty, but that’s a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel.” (Dostoyevsky; Garnett, 283).

    3. “. . . When you said just now, ‘Don’t be so ashamed of yourself for that is at the root of it all,’ you pierced right through me by that remark, and read me to the core. Indeed, I always feel when I meet people that I am lower than all, and that they all take me for a buffoon. So I say, ‘Let me really play the buffoon. I am not afraid of your opinion, for you are every one of you worse than I am.’ That is why I am a buffoon. It is from shame, great elder, from shame; it’s simply over-sensitiveness that makes me rowdy. If I had only been sure that every one would accept me as the kindest and wisest of men, oh, Lord, what a good man I should have been then!” (Dostoyevsky 47-48).


    4. “Hush, evil tongue!” Grushenka cried angrily at him; “you never said such words to me as he has come to say.”

    “What has he said to you so special?” asked Rakitin irritably.

    “I can’t say, I don’t know. I don’t know what he said to me, it went straight to my heart; he has wrung my heart. . . . He is the first, the only one who has pitied me, that’s what it is. Why did you not come before, you angel?” She fell on her knees before him [Alyosha] as though in a sudden frenzy. “I’ve been waiting all my life for some one like you, I knew that some one like you would come and forgive me. I believed that nasty as I am, some one would really love me, not only with a shameful love!”

    “What have I done to you?” answered Alyosha bending over her with a tender smile, and gently taking her by the hands; “I only gave you an onion, nothing but a tiny little onion, that was all!”

    He was moved to tears himself as he said it. (Dostoyevsky 429-430).


    Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. 697. Print.

    Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Vintage Books, 1955. 47, 48, 283, 429, 430. Print.



    Appendix B: My Opinions Regarding the Personality Types of Several Characters from The Brothers Karamazov

    • Alyosha: INFj (Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, judging) [Feeling subtype]

    • Dmitri: ESFp (Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling, perceiving)


    • Ivan: ISTj (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, judging) [Thinking subtype]

    • Rakitin: ENTp (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, perceiving)


    • Fyodor Karamazov: ESTp (Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, perceiving) [Sensory subtype]

    • Katerina Ivanovna: ENFj (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, judging)


    • Kolya Krasotkin: ENTj (Extraverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, judging)

    • Smerdyakov: ISTj or INTp? (Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, perceiving)





    The History of The Brothers Karamazov (B+/A-)

    On some level, every work of art is like a (literal) dream of the creator. Like many of humanity’s most powerful and universal dreams, works of art (are created by individuals who) often unwittingly draw inspiration from the subconscious and its contents, which include repressed experiences and traumas from childhood, infancy, birth, and the pre-birth experience. In addition to the repressed and subconscious, many artists and writers also resort to the semi-autobiographical, by incorporating conscious memories or facts about their early lives. Finally yet importantly, the work of art can also be a revelatory commentary or reflection of the artist’s or writer’s society; and depending on the acuity, talent, and genius of the artist, this creative personification of a culture or nation can prove to be accurate and relevant for decades, if not centuries, to come. It is this fruitful interplay between the personal subconscious and collective unconscious that can give birth to a truly great work of art. One notable example is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    The character of the father, Fyodor Karamazov, is in many respects modeled on Dostoyevsky’s own father. Quoting Janko Lavrin regarding Dostoyevsky’s father, Alice Miller wrote, ‘that after his wife’s death, he “led the life of a wastrel, drunkard, and tyrant. He treated his serfs with such cruelty that in 1839 they murdered him most brutally.”’ (Lavrin 9). Since mistreatment of serfs tended to be the norm in Russia, Alice Miller soundly conjectures that Dostoyevsky’s father must have been abusive with his own sons if he treated his own serfs so atrociously that they ultimately killed him. Seemingly siding with the abusive father, Richard Peace adopts a less empathetic and enlightened view regarding Dostoyevsky in relation to his father: “The sons did not get on well with their father, and any feelings of guilt bred in their minds by the consciousness of this hostility must surely have been further nourished by the way in which they acted after his death.” Peace relates that, “Dostoyevsky’s father was killed by his own peasants in dubious circumstances,” and is struck by the “fact that the murder was hushed up and none of those guilty was sent to Siberia.” (Peace 218). In The Brothers Karamazov English translation by David McDuff, the first sentence of Book I (“The Story of a Certain Little Family”) describes the character of the father, “Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov” as being “noted in his time (and even now still recollected among us) for his tragic and fishy death . . . .” (Dostoyevsky; McDuff, 15). Similarly, a Constance Garnett translation describes him as “a landowner in our district who became a celebrity (and is remembered to this day) because of the tragic and mysterious end he met exactly thirteen years ago . . . .” (Dostoevsky; Garnett, 3).

    It is possible that The Brothers Karamazov, on some level, functions as an allegorical history of Dostoyevsky’s childhood. Therefore, it is also possible that many of the characters symbolize aspects of Dostoyevsky’s own psyche and family background. Fyodor Karamazov is the selfish, irresponsible, wicked, abandoning, and neglectful “dissolute old father”. (Beckett 506). Alyosha represents Dostoyevsky’s original child-like innocence, faith in humanity, and hope for the future before Dostoyevsky’s (early) years of childhood abuse and trauma had ultimately taken such a toll on him. Alyosha embodies both Dostoyevsky’s idealized and unblemished “soul” (Peace 229) and his resistance to blaming the abusive parent, a resistance that is supported by the taboos and conventions of society. Dmitri represents Dostoyevsky’s repressed rage against his father. Through the character of Dmitri, Dostoyevsky manages to give artistic expression to his vital “emotions” (Peace 229) and suppressed indignation against his own father. Nevertheless, if the majority of society is unable to recognize, accept, and therapeutically engage this rage, Dmitri’s fate in the novel should come as no surprise. He is described as being “recklessly emotional” (Beckett 506) and is wrongfully convicted of his father’s murder. Yet a profound sensitivity also characterizes Dmitri: “[A] preoccupation with man lies at the heart of Dmitri’s attitude to life”, and he is “humanistic” (Peace 222) and “romantic” (Crane 15) at heart. Ivan represents Dostoyevsky’s “intellect” (Peace 229), which comprises his intellectualizations, philosophising, evasions, and knowledge. Ivan is also emblematic of both Dostoyevsky’s flight from and fear of the truth and his attempts to confront unpleasant truths, although Dostoyevsky’s attempts were seldom in relation to his own childhood. Smerdyakov represents Dostoyevsky’s shadow (or one of its faces), as well as the evil of the childhood traumas Dostoyevsky endured. This apparently illegitimate and marginalized shadow self encompasses the disowned elements of Dostoyevsky’s subconscious and personality (i.e. his repression, blind spots, etc.). Smerdyakov is described as personifying the role of “the physical” (Crane 15); and a simplistic characterization would paint him as a banal, pitiful, and anti-poetic human being. Smerdyakov even “regards verse” as “absolute nonsense”, and remarks that “[v]erses are not practical”. (Dostoyevsky quoted by Peace 225). When one considers the importance of these characters, one may arrive at the conclusion that the protagonist of The Brothers Karamazov “is a brotherhood” (Peace 229) or (the human) family. “In Ivan, in Dmitry, in the old Karamazov, the novelist embodied his own mental conflict, his emotional disorder, his carnality. Through these characters, and that of Smerdyakov, he could give his own dark impulses their freedom, because they were disguised, like the elements that rise to consciousness in the dream.” (Yarmolinsky 389).

    The Brothers Karamazov . . . was first serialized in The Russian Herald in 1879-80.” Dostoyevsky died “in early 1881”, not long after he completed the novel. (Busch 115). The Brothers Karamazov was the last work of fiction Dostoyevsky created, and it was his last chance to commit to writing examples of the deplorable suffering experienced by children, and to symbolically and artistically represent the suffering of his own childhood self and his true feelings about abuse and violence against children (as expressed by the character of Ivan). Regarding Dostoyevsky’s family background, he was the “son of an impoverished nobleman of Lithuanian origin . . . . Doctor [Elder] Dostoyevsky, authoritarian and morose, believed in old-fashioned discipline and strict religious upbringing, and Fyodor [Dostoyevsky]’s childhood was a rather depressing one.” (Slonim, v). The remarkable chapter “Rebellion” [Chap. 4, Book 5] presents an unflinching examination of sadistic child abuse and murder as perceived by Ivan. Although he may not be referring to corporal punishment or physical abuse of children, Ivan compares Russians to those he views as “foreigners” or barbarians by saying, “You know we prefer beating—rods and scourges—that’s our national institution.” (Dostoyevsky; Garnett, 284). Another of Ivan’s observations anticipates those of Alice Miller’s: “ . . . [I]t is a peculiar characteristic of many people, this love of torturing children, and children only. To all other types of humanity these torturers behave mildly and benevolently, like cultivated and humane Europeans; but they are very fond of tormenting children, even fond of children themselves in that sense.” (Dostoyevsky; Garnett, 286, 287). Taking the side of a physically abused “seven-year-old” girl, in early 1876, Dostoyevsky once wrote in The Diary of a Writer, “Children’s hearts are full of innocent, almost unconscious, love, and such blows evoke in them a sorrowful astonishment and tears which God beholds and will count.” [Dostoievsky 1: 233 (“1873-1881”)]. In The Notebooks for The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky composed a fragmentary sketch and characterization of Ivan and Alyosha’s conversation: “If you were creating the world, would you have built it on the single tear of a child. Somewhere in an inn they talked about such nonsense. That is possible only in Russia.” (73). One can only imagine how many tears Dostoevsky himself may have shed in his childhood. Also in The Notebooks (for Book Five), Ivan’s repudiation of an absurd and illusory dogma is presented succinctly, movingly, and profoundly: “I cannot admit that the future harmony is worth the price. And if it is worth that, then I don’t want to admit it. I have too much pity for little children, and I ask that I am freed beforehand from that harmony, I am giving back my ticket.” (62).

    In 1981, Richard Crane published the Brothers Karamazov play. Looking back at myriad performances of the play, he recalled when it was presented “in the National Theatre of Romania in 1991, just a year after the execution of their own depraved father-figure,” and that this “play with its rich absurd humour and its hymn to a new liberated ‘fatherless’ state, was suddenly Romanian to the core.” (Crane 16). The atrocious Ceaușescu, who was very abused and uneducated, was the worst leader Romania ever had; and he wrought devastation on Romania’s economy, agriculture, tourism, quality of life, beauty, etc. In addition, his perverse communist regime birthed aftershocks that have continued for decades in the form of corruption, injustice, persecution, and perfidy in the realms of business, law enforcement, government, the legal system, and society in general. Regarding Crane’s Brothers Karamazov, one of the best adaptations from novel to play can be found in the following sentences that the prosecutor speaks at the trial: “. . . [W]e are racing towards Sodom, to the lure of the marketplace where murder and misery may be bought and sold. The world has proclaimed freedom. What is this freedom but slavery to the senses, despair and suicide?” (Crane 74). In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky wrote, “. . . [O]ur fateful troika is racing headlong, perhaps to its destruction. And all over Russia hands have long been held out and voices have been calling to halt its wild, impudent course. And if so far the other nations still stand aside for the troika galloping at breakneck speed, it is not at all, perhaps, out of respect, as the poet would have it, but simply from horror—mark that—from horror, and perhaps from loathing for her.” (Dostoevsky; Pevear, 722). Perhaps the Russia of Dostoyevsky’s time has not changed as much as one would be inclined to believe. In 1877, Dostoyevsky wrote that if it were “a punishable offense for fathers to treat their children indolently, incompetently and heartlessly” then “it would be necessary to condemn half of Russia”, if not “far more than that”. He also bravely noted that “[n]ine-tenths of Russia practices” “flog[ging] children with rods”. (Dostoievsky 2: 766). Russia needs to “repair the troika” (Dostoevsky, Notebooks, 243) by improving child rearing [i.e. reducing (physical) abuse, corporal punishment, etc.] and creating a more democratic, just, healthy, and tolerant society. Without merely imitating or emulating the West, Russia (like many other nations) still has the capacity to become genuinely enlightened and utopian. Of course, this evolution is dependent on an earnest (and perhaps more ‘populist’) desire for truth, humanism, and social and political change. And as always, the most virulent obstacles comprise silence, (internalized and external) oppression, and resistance to and fear of truths and alternatives.

    One of the most rarefied and prescient chapters of The Brothers Karamazov is “The Grand Inquisitor”. Speaking to Jesus, whom he has imprisoned, the Grand Inquisitor says, “[L]et me tell You that now, today, people are more persuaded than ever that they are completely free, yet they have brought their freedom to us and laid it humbly at our feet.” (Dostoevsky; Matlaw, 125). Millions of people are slaves to the evils of puritanism, heterosexualization, and the hypocritically pious and insidious, possibly Judeo-Christian, idea that sex or lovemaking has to involve penetration or insertion. Oppression comes in many forms, some of which may be unrecognized by the vast majority of capitalists and communists alike. Nevertheless, a “socialist Christian” (Dostoevsky; Pevear, 67) or polytheist may be more inclined to embrace a marginalized yet ethical, upright, and honourable code than a cynical secularist would. A person who is not dependent on a limiting, reactionary, and/or self-defeating zeitgeist or (cultural) paradigm in order to affirm their superficial sense of identity, likewise would not need to preach and promulgate—or remain apathetic regarding—a destructive way of life. They would have no need to manipulate, influence, or coerce people into approving or following an example that is harmful or degrading. “Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.” (Rand, Ayn). The rights of human beings consist of health, dignity, love, compassion, respect, life, truth, freedom of choice, and the freedom to identify and defy oppression, hypocrisy, and destructiveness.

    Dostoyevsky often had a tendency to explore the dark and unconscious side of human behavior and motivations. In the category of worst-case scenarios, this may be one of his prophecies regarding the future of humanity: “. . . [T]here is a contaminated spirit, at times, the spirit of the whole nation, which is frequently accompanied by such a degree of blindness that no facts can cure, no matter how persistently these point to the straight road. On the contrary, this kind of blindness remodels facts to its own taste and assimilates them with its own contaminated spirit; and it even happens that a whole nation would rather deliberately die, that is, holding onto its blindness, than be cured, refusing the cure.” (Dostoievsky 2: 561).




    Appendix A: Four of My Favourite Quotations/Excerpts from The Brothers Karamazov

    1. “In him, it seems to me, unconsciously, as it were, and so early on, there betrayed itself that timid despair that leads so many in our poor society, fearing its cynicism and depravity, and mistakenly ascribing all evil to European enlightenment, to throw themselves, as they put it, to the ‘native soil,’ so to speak, into the motherly embrace of the native earth, like children frightened by ghosts, who even at the dried-up breast of a paralyzed mother wish only to fall peacefully asleep and even to sleep for the rest of their lives, simply not to see the horrors that frighten them.” (Dostoevsky; Pevear, 697).

    2. “People talk sometimes of bestial cruelty, but that’s a great injustice and insult to the beasts; a beast can never be so cruel as a man, so artistically cruel.” (Dostoyevsky; Garnett, 283).

    3. “. . . When you said just now, ‘Don’t be so ashamed of yourself for that is at the root of it all,’ you pierced right through me by that remark, and read me to the core. Indeed, I always feel when I meet people that I am lower than all, and that they all take me for a buffoon. So I say, ‘Let me really play the buffoon. I am not afraid of your opinion, for you are every one of you worse than I am.’ That is why I am a buffoon. It is from shame, great elder, from shame; it’s simply over-sensitiveness that makes me rowdy. If I had only been sure that every one would accept me as the kindest and wisest of men, oh, Lord, what a good man I should have been then!” (Dostoyevsky 47-48).


    4. “Hush, evil tongue!” Grushenka cried angrily at him; “you never said such words to me as he has come to say.”

    “What has he said to you so special?” asked Rakitin irritably.

    “I can’t say, I don’t know. I don’t know what he said to me, it went straight to my heart; he has wrung my heart. . . . He is the first, the only one who has pitied me, that’s what it is. Why did you not come before, you angel?” She fell on her knees before him [Alyosha] as though in a sudden frenzy. “I’ve been waiting all my life for some one like you, I knew that some one like you would come and forgive me. I believed that nasty as I am, some one would really love me, not only with a shameful love!”

    “What have I done to you?” answered Alyosha bending over her with a tender smile, and gently taking her by the hands; “I only gave you an onion, nothing but a tiny little onion, that was all!”

    He was moved to tears himself as he said it. (Dostoyevsky 429-430).



    Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. 697. Print.

    Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Vintage Books, 1955. 47, 48, 283, 429, 430. Print.
    Last edited by HERO; 11-12-2014 at 12:17 AM.

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    fyodor pavlovitch: Si-ESE (or SLE, just can't really see harnessed Se with his misguided, overly-encompassing energy)

    dmitri: Ti-SLE

    ivan: ILI

    alexei: EII

    smerdyakov: IEI-Ni (lol)

    katerina ivanovna: Fe-ESE

    grushenka: Ni-EIE

    father zosima: EII
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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