Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment

Two videos to provide a quick refresher of what is important to know about the novel. (Special thanks to Jenny Sawyer!)

Lit Terms Needed For Essay Prompts

  • Page 74- Imagery of Raskolnikov raise ax and go in for the blow. This description adds suspense and illustrates the murder
  • Page 75- You see an inversion of tone/mood. Before he got to Aliona's apartment, he was confident and knew he wouldn't make any mistakes. Once he was in the apartment and did the deed of killing the woman, you see that confidence shed and he panics. 
  • Page 75- I'm not sure but I think there is also stream of consciousness. he second guesses himself and wonders if he truly killed the woman. He talks out-loud to himself and even has an argument with himself.

Essay Prompts

1) Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”: Author confronts the audience with a scene or scenes of violence. Explain how the scene or scenes contribute to the meaning of the complete work. Avoid plot summary. (1982 prompts)

Part 1 Sec 7 (pgs 74-79)
There was not a moment to lost. He drew the ax out all the way, raised it back with both hands, hardly aware of what he was doing; and almost without effort, almost automatically, he brought the blunt side down on her head. He seemed to have no strength. Yet the moment he started bringing the ax down, strength sprang up in him.
The old woman was bareheaded as usual. Her thin, light, gray-streaked hair, as usual greasy and streaked with oil, was a in a rat's-tail plaint, fastened under what was left of a broken horn comb that stuck out at the nape of her neck. She was small, and the blow had struck her on the very crown of her head. She has cried out, but quite feebly. Then she suddenly sank in a heap to the floor, though first she managed to raise both hands to her head. In one hand she still held the pledge. He struck once more, then again, full strength, with the blunt side of the ax, and on the top of her head. The blood gushed as from an overturned glass, and the body fell backward. He stepped back to let her fall, and immediately bent over her face. She was dead. Her eyes were staring as if they wanted to leap out. Her forehead and her whole face were terribly contorted and drawn by a convulsion.
He suddenly began to imagine that the old woman was still alive and might actually come to. Abandoning keys and bureau, he ran back to the body, seized the ax and lifted it once more over the old woman. But he did not let it fall. There could be no doubt she was dead. He bent down and examined her more closely. He saw clearly that the skull as fractured, and even slightly battered in on one side. He want to feel it with his finger, but then withdrew his hand quickly. It was clear enough as it was. Meanwhile, a whole pool of blood had formed on the floor. He suddenly noticed a string on the old woman's neck and pulled at it, but the string was sturdy and did not break. And it was wet with blood. He tried pulling what was attached to it out from the bosom of her dress, but something got in the way, and it stuck. In his impatience, he lifted the ax again, to break the string on the body then and there, from above. But he did not dare. With difficulty, getting his hands and ax all blood-smeared, he cut the string after two minutes’ harried effort and removed it, without touching the ax to the body. He had not been wrong. There was a purse.

2) Discuss the function of a character who is not the main character of the novel, however makes a great difference in the literary work. Try to include the author's literary techniques and avoid plot summary.

Multiple Choice

1. Based on the author’s description and elaboration of Raskolnikov’s thoughts and Alyona Ivanovna death, which word best describes Raskolnikov’s why killed Alyona Ivanovna?
a)      Entitlement
b)      Anger
c)       Apathy
d)      Resentment
e)      Somnolence

2. With what instrument does Raskolnikov commit the murders?
a) A knife
b) Poison
c) A gun
d) An axe
e) A sword

3. Which word best describes the symbolism of the axe in the murder of Alyona Ivanovna and her sister?
a) Resentment
b) Apathy
c) Entitlement
d) Both A and C
e) None of the above

4. Early in the novel, how does Raskolnikov describe himself?

a) As a student
b) As a teacher
c) As a laborer
d) As a pilgrim
e) All of the above

5. Raskolnikov has a horrifying dream in which an animal is brutally beaten to death by its owner with the assistance of a crowd. What does this dream represent?
a) Guilt
b) Shame
c) Terror
d) Both A and B
e) All of the above

6) Raskolnikov initially believes that he is among a special class of people who are superior to others and for whom any crime, even murder, is acceptable if it assists them in reaching an ultimate goal. At which point does Raskolnikov feel this sense of superiority?

a) Prior to the murder
b) During the murder
c) Immediately after the murder
d) Both B and C
e) Both A and B

7) With whom does Raskolnikov say he identifies?

a) Napoleon
b) Alexander the Great
c) Genghis Khan
d) Pontius Pilate
e) None of the above

8) When Raskolnikov receives his mother’s letter about his sister’s impending marriage, Raskolnikov

a) Rejoices that she is engaged
b) Fears she is in a dangerous marriage
c) Suspects she does it to save him from
d) Worries that his mother will be casted
out by the fiancé
e) Regrets that he has not yet met her

9) Raskolnikov commits murder for several reason except

a) He is deeply frustrated by how
impoverished he is
b) He plans to use the stolen goods to
support his mother

c) He believes he’s being led towards
murder by a series of coincidences
d) He has formulated a theory that
some men have a right to kill
e) He wants to prove himself capable
of taking decisive action

10) In their investigation, the police first suspect _________ of the murder; they later believe the false confession of ___________.

a) The painters; a pawner
b) Raskolnikov; the painter
c) The painters; Raskolnikov
d) Men visiting the pawnbroker; the
e) Raskolnikov; a pawner

The following five questions will be in regards to the passage below.

“Raskolnikov himself is in the scene himself, and his speech is not presented normally, attributed to his irritability. There are ellipses quite often between many of the words he says. Certainly, this is an indication of some type of inability to express thought clearly, whether Raskolnikov is unable to think clearly at this time, or he is hesitant to say them, or maybe is struggling to find a way to communicate the explicit message in the most subtle manner possible. For example, Raskolnikov’s dialogue has two ellipses in the following sentence: “Perhaps . . . I will come . . . if I can” (Dostoevsky 265). It really does not seem necessary to take those pauses. Nevertheless, no matter the real reason for such speech, it does hint at Raskolnikov’s unnatural mental state, and from information about Raskolnikov derived from other parts of the book, it would be accurate to conclude that he is bothered. Another aspect of the dialogue besides the overuse of ellipses in Raskolnikov’s speech is the abruptness of the manner in which he speaks as well. He says a few things to his dear friend Razumihkin, and ends with a simple “Good-bye!” (265). Raskolnikov attempts to cut this line simply in this simplified, undignified manner. As an extension of his abrupt speech, his actions are likewise. By singling a certain line out by creating it as an entire paragraph, the narration gives special emphasis to the fact that after declaring his goodbye, Raskolnikov neglects to even shake his friend’s hand. While the omittance of these traditional courtesies may contribute to Raskolnikov’s complicated character, the importance placed on this raises the possibility that Raskolnikov may have intentionally not offered his hand, as the narration’s style is assumed to reflect Raskolnikov. Thus, it can be further seen the extent of Raskolnikov’s attitude towards life.
After Razumihkin has made the realization of the dark secret that Raskolnikov was the murderer, their actual parting is hasty as well, emphasized once again to create Raskolnikov’s character. Raskolnikov repeats one last time “Go back, go to them [Raskolnikov’s family]” (265), after which he “turned away and hastily left the house” (265). It is emphasized that Raskolnikov forced the situation to be this way, to be concluded without rites. Once again, this speaks to his character, what he desires as far as isolation goes.”

11) Why does Razumihkin grow “as pale as a corpse”?

a) He realizes that Raskolnikov hates his
b) He realizes that Raskolnikov is the
c) He realizes that Raskolnikov is a
d) He realizes that Raskolnikov is in love
with his own sister
e) None of the above

12) What is the purpose of the many ellipses in Raskolnikov’s speech?

a) It emphasizes that Raskolnikov is in an
irritable state of mind
b) Because of his recent accident,
Raskolnikov experiences difficulties in
c) Raskolnikov is intoxicated, and thus is
speaking incoherently
d) It emphasizes that the narrator holds
little respect for Raskolnikov
e) It emphasizes the daunting appearance
for Razumihkin

13) What is meant by, “In a word, from that evening Razumihkin became a son and a brother to them?”

a) Razumihkin is able to assume a familiar
role in Raskolnikov’s family that wasn’t
being satisfied by the latter
b) Razumihkin had Raskolnikov
excommunicated from the family on
behalf of the mother
c) Raskolnikov has fallen deathly ill and
asks that his friend, Razumihkin, has a
watchful eye over his mother and sister
d) Raskolnikov, wracked with guilt and
paranoia, abandons his family and leaves
Razumihkin with the obligation of
taking care of his family
e) None of the above

14) What does Razumihkin realize in the corridor?

I. Raskolnikov has become
II. Raskolnikov is the murderer
III. Raskolnikov needs to go correct his
wrongdoing, thus leaving his family

a) I
b) I and II
c) II and III
d) I and III
e) None of the above

15) Raskolnikov insists that Razumihkin not “leave them”. What does them refer to?

a) Raskolnikov’s pets
b) Raskolnikov’s brothers
c) Raskolnikov’s sister and mother
d) Raskolnikov’s loyal servants
e) Raskolnikov himself

16) When comparing the method of murder of Alyona Ivanovna and her sister, there is a clear discrepancy in the murders themselves. Which words best describes the discrepancy in feelings that were exhibited in the murder?

a) Loathing; Panicked
b) Determined; Indifferent
c) Calculating; Surprised
d) Angered; Distressed
e) None of the above

17) Which of the following words best describes the symbolism of the axe in regards to Raskolnikov’s personality?

a) Brutality
b) Apathetic
c) Loathsome
d) Desperation
e) Both C and D

18) Fyodor Dostoevsky structured Crime and Punishment in a way that allows his protagonist, Raskolnikov, to intermittently and almost sporadically have internal thoughts that interrupt or distract the reader from Raskolnikov’s surroundings. Which word best describes this literary technique?

a) Stream of Consciousness
b) Anaphora
c) Simile
d) Shift
e) All of the above

19) If Raskolnikov were to be divided and then defined in its mother language, “raskol” being the first part and “nikov” as the second part, the name would mean split nickname. Which literary term best describes the definition of the name?

a) Anaphora
b) Metaphor
c) Voice
d) Allusion
e) Both C and D