December 11, 2013
IB English 11A, Period 8
Poverty’s Effect on Raskolnikov
In western traditional writing, various literary devices convey a distinct message on the novel. For example, point of view, imagery, and symbols all contributes towards a motif or overarching idea. In the novel Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky uses domestic imagery, the setting of the home, and the setting of the story itself, Saint Petersburg to reveal the oppressive forces of poverty acting up Raskolnikov. This is accomplished through the settings of the bar, Raskolnikov’s house, and the school outlining the harsh environment the citizens and the protagonist that is acting upon them. The domestic imagery of the clothes illustrates the impact of poverty on the main character and the consequences for the way Raskolnikov dresses. The setting of the novel as a whole conveys Raskolnikov’s delirious state of mind that is constantly at works. These three factors when working upon each other shows the weight of the sense of poverty of Raskolnikov and the various problems he faces because of it.
Raskolnikov’s appearance throughout the novel changes mainly the clothes he wears. In the beginning of the novel, he was described as, “badly dressed that even a man accustomed to shabbiness would have been ashamed to be seen in the street in such rags” (2). The way that Raskolnikov is dressed is depicted as against social norms. The author includes an understatement describing that the citizens in the area dress better than Raskolnikov and the fashion that he dresses is absurd to them. As we know from the beginning of the novel, Raskolnikov is under large amounts of debt that is constantly compounded. The issue with that is he is required to use money on food and necessity while sacrificing the renewal of clothes and paying the debt. As a result, he is crippled more because of the impending debt and the need to get new clothes. Raskolnikov’s physical...
Cited: Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, Constance Garnett, and Samuel Kostman. Crime and Punishment. New York: Amsco School Publications, 1970. Print.
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