This week’s discussion took an unexpected turn towards the magical coincidence(s) of life. We discussed how often this book relies on seemingly simple coincidence to propel these characters forward in action and thought. A simple walk around Petersburg inevitably leads to irrevocable incidents. This topic led us to a lengthy debate between the merits and reality of non-fiction writing versus fiction. What this entailed was how our group uses this book in many ways to discover more about Russian culture. We look at this work of fiction, much the same way many today look at Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, as an echo of history, whereas today we look at non-fiction as the more reliable wealth of knowledge. Is that fair though, to essentially shoulder the makings of history on the workings of fiction?
Beyond history, we also furthered our discussion on the emotional and psychological depths of the novel. One of our delve members, Suzanne, stated the succinct idea that “courage is a reflective response,” and it was pointed out that that lack of true courage is what makes Raskolnikov’s motives so hard to discern. Raskolnikov is continually trying to justify himself, whereas Sonya has been judged but does not match that judgment. They are fundamentally a breakdown of the morality of murder and prostitution. While another delve participant, Britt, pointed out Raskolnikov’s “looking for others lower than himself to feel better.” He is using those around him while simultaneously and effectively ostracizing himself from their care. He is a misery loves company archetype of a character.