Literary Response


This post is a follow-up to one posted a couple days ago.

The literary background of my readers has become clear. The only two who felt some inclination to respond admitted that it had been several centuries since they last read it.

My response to my correspondent’s angst concerning Crime and Punishment was quick but without a great deal of deep thought. I hope it is sufficient to keep her reading.

Uh-oh. Now I’m in trouble! Sorry you bought it. I could have lent it to you and you could have thrown it across the room and stomped on it.

I did not say that it was a feel good novel! You ought to notice, however, that what Raskolnikov had to do in order to justify the elimination of this ‘unworthy piece of humanity’ was to dehumanize her. He had to redefine her as a louse. (This you will recognize is the logic of the terrorist and the abortionist. Very relevant.) But he ends up dehumanizing himself, and whenever there seems to be a move towards real humanity arising from his soul, he stomps on it.

I’m not sure you will find him an appealing character ever. Redemption is only slight in this novel. But there is yet something sobering and helpful in seeing the humanity that exists in the poor and even the sinful –such as you will find in Sonya.

Anyway, if you read further and still find it troubling, please don’t take this out on me with an axe…


I’d still like to hear the responses of others who have read the book, or of those who have hesitated reading it.