Brothers Karamazov: Part One, Book Two

brosThis book is definitely written in a specific way. What I mean is that Dostoevsky employs some interesting literary devices. I mean, he basically tells you the plot of the book. Who does that?

When I mentioned this to BJ, he told me that this was written as a serial. The chapters (according to Wikipedia) which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger from January 1879 to November 1880.

So that makes sense! Dostoevsky needed to keep people’s interest so he needed to write it in a way that extremely foreshadowed the action to come. Take this scene for example, where Aloysha (who is one of the brothers) is heading over to meet his family for lunch, just after a debacle of a meeting with the local staret. He meets up with a ‘friend’ on the path who offers this as exposition:

Someone’s going to get hurt in your family. It will be something between your brothers and your wealthy father.

Then he mentions MURDER! Ok, thanks for the heads up, dude. I was like, that’s odd to basically let a huge plot point out of the bag so early. But then BJ mentioned the serial thing, and I was like, got it!!

Also, as predicted in my first post, the brother represent different aspects of society. And, lucky for me, the same ‘friend’ from above let’s us know what those exactly are:

The whole of the Karamazov family problem boils down to this: you’re sensualists, money-grubbers, and holy fools!

That makes it easy.

The thing that is unexpected is this is a very funny book. Besides the sassy narrator, there are actually LOL parts. At one point, in the debacle meeting they are discussing a woman of ill repute:

Maybe her fall goes back to her youth, to her repressive background, but she “loved much”, and Christ forgave her that loved much…’ ‘It wasn’t for that kind of love that Christ forgave…’, the meek Father Yosif objected querulously.

I can literally see the meek Father Yosif giving a wave of his finger saying, um yeah….not so much.

Because Dostoevsky wrote this in smaller pieces, there is little (at least up until now) rambling on for pages about philosophy. This approach makes it very readable.

There is now the introduction of a woman, who may or may not be a prostitute (you can read more about that in BJ’s post here). And an upcoming murder. How is that for keeping your attention?

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