C&P Lit Discussion

Tania Damle and Shivam Lal, 3rd Period


What is Contemporary Economics?

  • Regards to the distribution of wealth
  • Specifically to literature: how do socioeconomic conditions of characters affect…?
  • Plot and Characterization

Activity (it's a poll so, get your phones/iPads/laptops out)

Here's the link:


Suffering Is Everywhere!

Everyone in Crime and Punishment is either suffering or making someone suffer

  • Raskolnikov pawns his belongings in order to get by
  • Svidrigaïlov harasses Dounia

How Does All this Suffering Affect the Story?

Quote #1: “The landlady, who provided him with garret, dinners, and attendance, lived on the floor below, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass her kitchen, the door which invariably stood open. An each time he passed, the young man had a sick, frightened feeling, which made him scowl and feel ashamed. He was hopelessly in debt to his landlady, and was afraid of meeting her.” (Dostoyevsky, p. 1)
  • “Obliged” and “Ashamed”
  • Affects moral judgment
  • Pressures of sister’s position lead to murder

Quote #2: “You will admit that recollecting your embarrassment, your eagerness to get away and the fact that you kept your hands for some time on the table, and taking into consideration your social position and the habits associated with it, I was, so to say, with horror and positively against my will, compelled to entertain a suspicion—a cruel but justifiable suspicion!”

  • His position has its perks
  • Becomes a villain

Quote #3: “Honoured sir, a month ago Mr. Lebeziatnikov gave my wife a beating, and my wife is a very different matter from me! Do you understand? Allow me to ask you another question out of simple curiosity: have you ever spent a night on a hay barge, on the Neva?”

“Bits of hay were in fact clinging to his clothes and sticking to his hair. It seemed quite probable that he had not undressed or washed for the last five days.”

  • Raskolnikov sympathizes with Marmeladov
  • Notices certain things
  • Continues to speak to him
  • Kind to those in his position

Social (Im)mobility

Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society. It is a change in social status relative to others' social location within a given society. So social immobility is...? How does it relate to Crime and Punishment and in particular, Raskolnikov and Sonya?

Quote #4: "Kill her and take her money, so that afterwards, you can devote yourself to the service of all mankind and the common cause...of course, she doesn't deserve to be alive," (65-66)

Quote #5:


  • Shmoop Editorial Team. "Crime and Punishment Theme of Suffering Page 1." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.
  • "Important Quotes Explained - Crime and Punishment Spark Notes - Period 8." Important Quotes Explained - Crime and Punishment Spark Notes - Period 8. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2014.

Discussion Time!

  1. How does someone's socioeconomic status determine the value of a character's life in this novel.
  2. What does that say about the class struggles faced by the intellectual/ peasant class at this time? (REPHRASE)
  3. How does Raskolnikov's socioeconomic condition catalyze his behavior towards the pawn broker?
  4. How does money play a role in Dounia's decision to marry Luzhin?
  5. To what extent does Sonya's social immobility due to her profession drive her to accept people of all socioeconomic statuses?