Crime and Punishment

So, I’m sure most of you know I have homework stuffs to do this summer.  Or had, anyway.  There’s only like, less than 48 hours until school starts.  But I think I can finish it.  My essay is about 1/3 done, so I might have to bs the ending a little, but so far it’s turning out halfway decent.  Anyway, I wanted to blog my favorite part of Crime and Punishment, because even though i tried, I couldn’t get this whole quote to fit into my paper.  It would’ve taken up an entire page or several.

He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia.  All were to be destroyed except a very few chosen.  Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will.  Men attacked by them  became at once mad and furious.  But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible.  Whole villages, whole towns and peoples went mad from the infection.  All were excited and did not understand one another.  Each thought that he alone had the truth and was wretched looking at the others, beat himself on the breast and, wept, and wrung his hands.  They did not know how to judge and could not agree what to consider evil and what good; they did not know whom to blame, whom to justify.  Men killed each other in a sort of senseless spite.  They gathered armies against one another, but even on the march the armies wouls begin attacking each other, the ranks would be broken and the soldiers would fall on each other, stabbing and cutting, biting and devouring each other.  The alarm bell was ringing all day long in towns; men rushed together, but why they were summoned and who was summoning them no one knew.  The most ordinary trades were abandoned because everyone proposed his own ideas, his own improvements, and they could not agree.  The land too was abandoned.  Men met in groups, agreed on something, swore to keep together, but at once began on something quite different from what they had proposed.  They accused one another, fought and killed each other.  There were conflagrations and famine.  All men and all things were involved in destruction.  The plague spread and moved farther and farther.  Only a few men could be saved in the whole world.  They were a pure chosen people, destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth, but no one had seen these men, no one had heard their words and their voices.   

Ok, so it sound really trippy when out of context.  Very 28 Days Later.  But for real.  The main guy, who’s having this dream, Raskolnikov, has this idea that there are two types of people in the world: the great and powerful and awesome, and everybody else.  So then he decides that he is destined for greatness, and so no rules apply to him.  After all, didn’t Napoleon kill a bunch of people and mess up everything, but everybody loves him anyway?  Because he’s so flipping awesome?  So Raskolnikov is all contemptuous of everybody he encounters, which is really funny since he’s just a punk who who ran out of money to take classes at the university, and can’t even pay rent or anything.  So he kills a little old lady with an axe to get her money, and get started on his path to greatness.  That’s basically how the book goes.

I just thought this was a cool paragraph.  It’s like I said, a little tripped out, because Raskolnikov is basically delerious through most of the novel, but it’s totally him changing his mind and deciding that there are ne naturally “great” people (“no one had seen these men”) and that if everybody just decided that they were the shit, then everything would fall apart.  It’s like an anti-postmodern world.

Oh, I also had to read Native Son by Richard Wright, and it was really good.  You should read it.

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