AP Literature and Composition
2007: In many works of literature, past events can effect, positively or negatively, the present actions, attitudes, or values of a character. Choose a novel or play in which a character must contend with some aspect of the past, either personal or societal. Then write an essay in which you show how the character’s relationship to the past contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Underground: a state of total alienation and isolation from society.
Notes from the Underground is a novel with two parts. These parts consist of notes from the speaker. Notes about his feelings, thoughts. They are often misunderstood, confusing. They are very contradicting of themselves. Part one takes place when this man is forty and a retired veteran from the Russian civil service. He explains his views on his positions towards society. Let’s start from part two though.
In part two, the writer of these notes explains events which has happened in his life, events which he will always remember, though he is not sure whether or not he wants to remember them, or why he remembers them so vividly. At this time in his life, he is only twenty four. His life then was even “gloomy”, “ill-regulated” and “solitary”. But I believe this is when his disease, if a disease at all, really bloomed into his entire personality. He talks of this police officer. “One night I was passing a tavern I saw … and they’ll throw me out of the window” (page 63). This officer moved him from where he was standing, and ruined his chances of getting thrown out of this window. He was so depressed that he actually wanted to get thrown out of a window. He had the same intentions the next night. He’s the type of person that will think of something over and over again until it is perfectly in his mind, until it’s perfectly played out, so he can perfectly achieve what he wants to achieve. An OCD in a way. He built up so much hatred...
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