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Category: Books and Stories

what is dostoyevsky actually about

hearing another statement that dostoyevsky's books are so depressing and dark makes me confused. yes, he describes the ugly part of life, reality of poor people of saint-petersburg (of course he does: he is realist¹). but is this side of life the main point of his work?

no. maybe, it is in his early works, such as "Poor folk" or "White nights" (and even there we can see not only the ugliness of life, but also the beauty of folk's souls, relationships and kindness to each other), but what we are talking about are his late works, such as "Crime and Punishment" as main example. ive chosen it because its his most popular book and, in my opinion, it does great job of showing both of ugliness of life and its beauty through the faith.

as we can see, raskonlykov had gone through a lot of suffer before and after his murder (let's take his dream with horse for example: horse is the symbol of the old lady, the man is symbol of cruel and bloodthirsty rodion. little rodion is the symbol of his conscience (Matt. 21: 16²). this dream made him suffer and worry a lot, and he didnt even murder old lady yet), and his sufferings and worries only end in the closing of the novel. they ended as soon as he confessed his guilt, which is nothing but the christian motif of the book. this motif can be noticed in all of dostoyevsky's late works: the victory of faith and importance of it. through the dogmas of faith we can see the beauty of life and kindness. sonya was full of faith, and it helped her to be kind to everyone and with her beliefs she put raskonlykov on the right path, the path to God.

realist¹ — realism is branch of art, that makes showing the real, natural life its point. for example, in literature writer does not use fantastical or wonderful images, but real and natural; his goal is to show life in its common sense. in the following article author describes the way "crime and punishment" and "father and sons" can be used as source of knowledge about russian society in 1860s. its possible because of realistic type of writing of dostoyevsky and turgenev. 

(Matt. 21: 16)² — dostoyevsky was very religious, so the use of symbolism child-conscience isnt surprising

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