Crime and Punishment Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Crime and Punishment

Rodion Raskolnikov is a student living in poverty, struggling to make ends meet. He is obsessed with the idea of great, "extraordinary" people who have the right to overstep human laws in order to make a difference, to help the society. Some are doomed to live miserable lives because they are unable to think and rise above the rules; but others are bigger than that. Determined to find out whether he is one of "the great", Rodion carefully plans and commits a murder.
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The review of this Book prepared by Lissy

The story revolves around a student by the name of Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, who murders an old pawnbroker, not out of hatred for her or to gain money (although he is in need of it), but only to try to prove to himself that he is an "extroardinary" man who can defy all others and, like Napoleon, even receive praise for never getting cought. His own tenacity fails him and he falls ill, not out of guilt but out of fear of being proven wrong; that he is not as great as he imagined; that he is weak. He eventually confesses his murder but never really shows remorse in his actions only in that it hurt those that he loved. Raskolnokiov's deep pain came in the realization that he failed to prove himself worthy of other's praise.
The review of this Book prepared by Berta Mendoza

This is a psychological novel about a man's inner struggle to dominate his conscience. An everyday, average man with aspirations of greatness sets himself above common morality and tries to prove that he can commit murder without punishment, external or internal. It tracks the consequences and mental anguish of his flight from the police and his own condemning sense of right and wrong.
The review of this Book prepared by Tonie

Dostoevsky's first great, big novel follows the fortunes of Raskolnikov, a poor college student in St. Petersburg who, in an explosion of rage and resentment, kills an old woman pawnbroker to whom he has had to sell many of his belongings to make ends meet. Much of the novel is devoted to his rationalizations and self-justifications -- his attempts to evade the dictates of conscience -- and his sparring with a police official who is on to him, as well as the near silent pity and understanding of the prostitute Sonia who sees through his mental games as he stumbles his way to his ultimate destiny.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Raskolynikov is a student in Moscow, not very well off, having to pawn his belongings to survive. In time he becomes outraged at how little money he gets for some valuable things, and starts hating the old woman that owns the pawn shop. He makes a plan to kill her and take back his belongings, but, after doing so, his consciense stops him from taking anything, and he runs away from the scene of the crime, frantically.   Thinking that he escaped, he starts recollecting the events, and, starts feeling immensely guilty for what he did.   So guilty, in fact, that he gets physically ill, and feels like he is losing his mind.   An excellent account of a disturbed psyche.
The review of this Book prepared by Sonja Anderson

Chapter Analysis of Crime and Punishment

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   bad criminals on the run Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Russian


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Eastern Europe Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Russia City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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