Home » AP Literature » Crime and Punishment: thinking through and questioning

Crime and Punishment: thinking through and questioning

Nature is what you find in the pristine world: dirt, soil, seeds that are neither sewn nor selectively bred, minerals, the workings of the animal realms.
Artifice is what man makes, whether that is tool or clothing or custom or law or idea.

Stopping at a red light and going on a green: nature or artifice? A hamburger: nature or artifice? Setting aside a hamburger for a loved one who will be an hour late, and not eating it although we are hungry: nature or artifice?

1.  Raskolnikov’s dream: think of the horse as nature and the people as artifice.
What part of nature or the natural world could the horse symbolize?
What part of man-made laws or ideas could the people represent?
Now that you’ve thought that through, flip it: what law or idea or custom could the horse represent?
What natures or instincts could the people symbolize?

2.  Raskolnikov, early on, thinks the amateurish criminal makes many mistakes, and that he – the superior intellect – won’t.  How does that work out for him?

3. How/why does Raskolnikov think he’s a superior intellect?  (You see how that question is answered as the story unfolds, yes?)

As you are realizing, much of what you thought was foreshadowing is being answered as you read: you can go back and answer, or even reformulate, your questions.

4.  Does Porfiry really suspect Raskolnikov? How R.’s thoughts run around and around trying to figure that out! When did you, the reader, become sure of that? Did you get the “I knew it!” feeling?

5. What is fever? How does it work physically and mentally? What causes it?
Raskolnikov spends considerable time in a feverish state: perhaps an hour reading up of fever might be illuminating?


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