Posted by: gdevi | April 3, 2014

English 404 Crime and Punishment Response Paper

Dr. Devi

English 404

Crime and Punishment Response Prompts

Please pick any one of the following questions and write a thoughtful, well-substantiated essay response to it. Your essay must have a clearly stated thesis supported by textual evidence. You are not required to use secondary sources, but if you do, please cite them parenthetically and in a Works Cited page correctly keyed to the text following MLA guidelines.

Please proofread carefully. A typo is an error.

1. The main characters in Crime and Punishment are “diseased” in one way or the other, except for Sonia. Dostoevsky presents Raskolnikov’s state of mind and body before and after he commits the murder in psychosomatic (psyche-mind; soma-body) terms. Other characters either literally suffer from diseases, such as Marmeledov from alcoholism, Katerina Ivanovna from consumption, Luzhin from an avaricious and malicious soul, and Svidrigailov from a metaphysically corrupt and toxic past and present through his perverse sexual life, which includes assault on little girls.  Recall his dream shortly before he kills himself of the little girl in the coffin, and the five-year old girl he brings to his room, who he says has the “face of a harlot.” If Svidrigailov represents the lowest form of the diseased characters and Sonia, the most incorruptible, all other characters fall somewhere in the middle, either tending towards Svidrigailov or towards Sonia.

Discuss the thematic and symbolic significance of the trope of illness and disease in Crime and Punishment in its relation to the larger questions of good and evil Dostoevsky attempts to ask and answer in this novel. Is it possible to read the novel through the trope of disease and cure? Are good/ evil, cure/disease comparable binaries? What accounts for the overwhelming presence of many many instances of physical and psychological illness in the novel? Support your claims with adequate textual support.


2. How does Dostoevsky complicate the problem of Raskolnikov’s crime as stemming from intense feelings of empathy towards humanity as well as intense hatred towards humanity? How does Dostoevsky represent and resolve this duality of Raskolnikov’s beliefs and actions throughout the novel? Support your discussion with textual evidence.


3. In your reading, what are the thematic and narrative functions of the epilogue to the novel? Is the epilogue a necessary part of the novel? Or can the novel end with Part 6? Support your discussion with textual evidence.

Length: no less than 4 typed, double-spaced pages

Title: Please title the paper

Due Date: 11 April 2014 as hardcopy in class


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