http://wmemsf.mediebruket.no He is a fully conscious man, therefore inherently superior to those that blunder foolishly throughout life such as Zverkov. Dostoyevsky, in fact was disturbed by the idea of ego and its spread from the West into Russian society, James P. We know from many sources that he regarded the spread of egoism in his homeland as a direct consequence of the Westernization of Russia and a prime moral, even mortal, danger idehist. Due to his enhanced sense of ego, it is improbable that any social situation he is involved in, does not include the other party scathingly critiquing his character, and attempting outright to wrong him.
The Underground Man then goes out of his way spending several years plotting to right the wrong that the officer committed, and gain revenge. Furthermore, the Underground Man is recanting the actions in Notes From Underground in order to gain a more thorough understanding of himself, and his consciousness in relation to his actions.
His journal entries illustrate his depression, his disparity, and his loss. He is all alone, and his only hope to truly see himself, to truly understand his own presence in the universe is through introspection. He is a cardinal symbol of existentialist philosophy international. He creates an utterly pathetic character, and uses him in undermining every belief that the nihilists hold dear. Rather since parody is ridicule by imitation, Dostoyevsky assimilates the major doctrines of Russian nihilism into the life of his Underground Man; and by revealing the hopeless dilemmas in which he lands himself as a result; Dostoyevsky intends to undermine these doctrines from within 4, Frank.
The Underground Man rejects all moral and religious beliefs and replaces them with a new, corrupt conduct of behavior, where every action is premeditated, and all people are inherently evil and out to spurn him. He then applies his behaviors to others, and as they do not, and never will adhere to his beliefs, is forced to retreat further underground, further within himself and his consciousness.
Free Will Dostoyevsky also addresses free will and the 19th century movement of Rational Egoism through his protagonist. Rational Egoism is the belief that free will is fictitious, every action one takes is predetermined by the complexities of society or ones own self. The Underground Man seems against the ideal of Rational Egoism as he spends the entirety of the novella trying to exert control over his ego and self. The Underground Man is rendered an elaborate satire of the Rational Egoist, trying to gain freedom while having none. Bernard J. His behavior is involuntary, he is aware of the inevitability of his reactions and feels them to be expressions of natural law.
His hatred of the laws of nature is in part, hatred of his own compulsions, which he longs to escape 46, Paris. For he is a character crafted from parodies and satires, he vehemently believes in his freedom of self, and is in strict opposition of Rational Egoism. The Underground Man merely acts irrationally and inappropriately because he has the ability to.
His actions never yield positive results, but they enhance his consciousness, self, and ego. Christian Motifs and Symbolism Dostoyevsky was raised in a highly devout Russian family, and thus holds a great knowledge of Christian doctrine. The Underground Man, the narrator of the story, visits the brothel where she works and sleeps with her.
In their ensuing conversation, he learns that she is a 20 year-old runaway from Riga who must earn her living as a prostitute in St. Petersburg She is already in debt to the madam, so cannot freely leave the brothel. Her only hope is a medical student who knows nothing of her occupation and sends her a love letter After the Underground Man's abusive tirade, she turns the other cheek, refusing to lash back out at him She visits him in his home, and after another tirade, she forgives him yet again and sleeps with him out of love rather than profit. In a moment of cruelty, he pays her for her services, and she departs, never to be seen again middlebury.
For, nihilism goes hand and hand with atheism, and the Underground Man cannot predict the actions of Liza or Apollon, due to the fact that they are religious allegories, and as a nihilist the Underground Man cannot comprehend religion. Here the servant is master — and master, servant. Apollon is not a symbol of the god of sunlight, but a kind of plebian god of death, a rat exterminator who also reads psalms over the dead 73, Jackson. I first met the Russian on the loading docks.
Filling trailers with freight out in the weather, in the humid heat and then again in the freezing cold was not a career, not a job anyone especially wanted, it was a job to fill in the gaps, work that paid a wage and filled a need as necessary as the empty trailers that backed into the dock one after the other.
I had seen him in the break room, out on the picnic tables - always alone. He scribbled incessantly in an old thesis book, would pause long m I first met the Russian on the loading docks. He scribbled incessantly in an old thesis book, would pause long moments staring into space, as still as a statue, and then would bend his head and write feverishly. Sometimes he would sit quietly on his break, with a thin old paperback or a tattered library book in his lap.
Passing once, I could not help glancing over his shoulder and saw that his book was a collection of poems. Another time, in the cold of January, when we all dressed like astronauts in plump suits, or like Eskimos in thick woolen parkas, the Russian was dressed in a thin old ragged coat and cloth gloves with holes in several fingers. He looked ill, and little doubt, we still had hours to go on our shift and his only head covering was the sparse patch of thinning hair atop his sallow scalp. I remembered having an extra woolen cap in my locker, and fetched it and then offered it to him without a word, just held it out.
It was a colorful winter toboggan hat with a bright red fluffy ball atop. He looked up at me and seemed to almost decline, he looked embarrassed to wear the warm cap, as if its incongruous color atop his sullen head would be a greater hindrance than the warmth it would provide.
A dirty hand ventured up and took the cap and black eyes beneath scruffy brows looked into me, seeking to discover was this true kindness or a jest at his expense. The other dockworkers said of him that when they worked a trailer in tandem, he spoke very little or nothing at all, loading mechanically and only passing information as needed. My first trailer with him was on a cold night in March and the brisk pace of the work kept us warm. I tried to spark a conversation, but he only answered in grunts and shrugs.
Another time I got him to speak a little, talked some about his origins and his life before this. At the end of the load, he smiled shyly, thanked me for the winter cap, reached from his back pocket, returned it and gave me a firm handshake. I returned the grip and looked at him and saw again those eyes that seemed to look into me. Working together, Fyodor told me about his writing, during breaks, he would read aloud. It's by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I'm human. He was inspired, passionate, angry, hurt, a victim, a survivor, a damaged soul that had lived beyond torture and then had been able to describe the journey into hell and the ascent past.
There were days that I had to walk away from him, unable to meet the brutal honesty, the too focused intensity, I had to step away. Life is not this black and white, you are not the final judge and jury, you cannot cut down to our souls like a scalpel, it is not your place to examine us, you are ONE OF US!! But never, never have I ceased to love that one, and even on the night I parted from him I loved him perhaps more poignantly than ever. We can truly love only with suffering and through suffering! We know not how to love otherwise.
We know no other love. I want suffering in order to love. I want and thirst this very minute to kiss , with tears streaming down my cheeks, this one and only I have left behind. I don't want and won't accept any other. I quit, I left, and I separated myself from him. Who was he to say these things, who was he to judge me, to judge all of us?? Yet I could not forget, could not stop thinking of his words, could not get away from those eyes that delved into me.
View all 7 comments. You see, this man Dostoyevsky calls you witness to a killing, a killing that he himself intends to perform. You are apprehensive, frightened even, but you walk in nevertheless. There in front of you lies this despondent figure of a man whom this convener intends to slaughter. Settled in rather uncomfortably, you prepare for the death blow to fall. But it doesn't; the victim is not shown the mercy of an easy execution. Instead Dostoyevsky strangles him, squeezes the very life out of him.
And he do You see, this man Dostoyevsky calls you witness to a killing, a killing that he himself intends to perform. And he does it ever so slowly. Somewhere midway through all of this, you want to cry out in disgust; nauseated with all the gore you want to go puke somewhere. But Dostoyevsky has no mercy for the horrified spectator either. You were never meant to leave afterall, and this while torture continues unabated. And when the end is nigh, this new understanding begins to dawn upon you. You've always suspected this, somewhere deep down, but were never sure until this is all about to get over in all its splendid glory.
With great despair and humiliation you realize that the illusionist has pulled off the greatest illusion of them all. It has been you all along. Not just a nobody, but you yourself who have been killed here. Dostoyevsky has had you witness to your own merciless damnation. Why, oh why, did you ever have to this Fyodor Mikhailovich. View 2 comments. Jun 15, Arnie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone paying attention. Shelves: reviews , comments-that-were-labelled-review. When I read it at the height of my existential angst college days, I felt I had never identified with a character so strongly.
View all 4 comments. Dec 26, Khashayar Mohammadi rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy , russian-lit. I once read somewhere: "during the 19th century, the Prussians were turning their writers into philosophers, while the Russians were turning their philosophers into writers. Master Russian Dostoevsky has probably written one of the best short novels of all time with this study of a solitary man. From the darkness of an underground dwelling, a former civil servant, and the unreliable narrator is intoxicated with spite for the outside world and writes an embittered monologue narrated from his St Petersburg basement.
The lower this alienated antihero sinks, the loftier his intellectual pontifications, critiquing contemporary philosophies on rationalism and free wi Master Russian Dostoevsky has probably written one of the best short novels of all time with this study of a solitary man. The lower this alienated antihero sinks, the loftier his intellectual pontifications, critiquing contemporary philosophies on rationalism and free will. He is burdened with one ancient memory, and hopes that in writing it down it will let go of him, freeing himself from the torment.
As a younger man, his life is one of gloom and semi- existence, he yearns to be on an equal social footing with those around him. After an altercation with old schoolfriends, he pursues them seeking retribution but meets instead Liza, a prostitute, by whom he is both attracted and repelled.
In his attempts at climbing up the ladder of a better life, he only digs himself into an ever deeper darker hole. Dostoevsky takes us through the hidden depths of the human psyche, and the complex motivations of our central character. The picture he paints is ostensibly bleak, but the shimmers of hope and faith that shine through round out this story to great effect.
A Russian classic. Obsessive, sick, horrific, painful… Did I like it?! Should I like it?! Dostoyevsky depicts one of the most disturbing and unsettling images of a human being in this book. View all 19 comments. I am a man. I am forty. I am sick. My soul is sick. My thought is sick. My conscience is sick. My desires are suppressed. I am undesirable. I am unchangeable. I am unrecognizable. I am nothing. I am a typical man. I fell in love twice. I fell in love because of ennuie. I am not social. I inhabit my literary world.
I hate my stupid friends. I suffer. And, indeed, I will ask on my own account here, an idle question: which is better—cheap happiness or exalted sufferings? This I am a man. This book I think is the shortest book that I read it in the longest period of time Actually the first half in more than two weeks and the second half in less than 3 hours! This is not because I didn't enjoy it. Rather I have to say this book demands much concentration and patience just like the sick man himself. I haven't searched about this book yet, but I am sure this is truly one of Dostoyevsky's masterpieces.
In pages through a monologue, he reveals the true nature of a man who resembles Dostoyevsky himself. I feel I found myself a soulmate character.
A character through which I can see myself. A mirror which reflects my own concerns. I am sure many other readers who liked this book felt the same. So let's celebrate for all the agonies that this book proposes. Let's unite for a universal purpose against all the superficial happiness and misunderstandings that we use to deceive ourselves. Let's face our true face once. View all 30 comments. That is what I want. I want peace; yes, I'd sell the whole world for a farthing, straight off, so long as I was left in peace. It makes me consider how we "Because I only like playing with words, only dreaming, but, do you know, what I really want is that you should all go to hell.
It makes me consider how we all want peace, to be left in peace, and yet we sometimes create our own tragedies, our own tortured existence. Our own underground. Play with words that leave me cold in the first few pages, will you, underground man, and then lure me when I'm halfway in, only to bore me again. For this book seems to lack a beginning or end, the semi-existent scenes torment each other, a contradictory heap of sentences, as if Dostoyevsky had unaligned and unfinished thoughts.
When the tone of a psychological novel isn't grabbing, and the protagonist seems to be trapped within his own mind, I seek other cues, like that of the mood which enveloped me in The Days of Abandonment , or the heightened self-consciousness in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man , or the deeply entrenched thematics of The Brothers Karamazov , or the texture within The Sorrows of Young Werther and Selected Writings. Somehow, I couldn't hold on to any such thing within this novel. Perhaps I'm confined to my own underground, so I'm sure my underground protagonist wouldn't mind that I'm not raving about his rants.
It's not as if his rants aren't appealing at times, after all, the guy is on a roll. He thinks being forty means he's old someone should tell him that forty is now the new thirty , and he swears that he doesn't believe one word of what he's written. Just when you think he's really gone off the deep end, he shows you he is still very self-aware: "You boast of consciousness, but you are not sure of your ground, for though your mind works, yet your heart is darkened and corrupt, and you cannot have a full, genuine consciousness without a pure heart.
And how intrusive you are, how you insist and grimace! Lies, lies, lies! Already even then I had my underground world in my soul. I was fearfully afraid of being seen, of being met, of being recognised. I visited various obscure haunts. I wish I'd had more of these moments because although I don't reach the depths I yearn for, I linger with the 'voice' of this underground man when he reaches those moments of self-aware insanity and the narration produces some form of clarity through intimacy, because let's face it, otherwise, we don't really know this underground man, do we?
His annoying inconsistency showcases humanity's perversity, his disdain of the real world, I understand, even when I can't grasp the reasoning for his odd treatment of Liza and of his friends. Perhaps I'll find this "scoundrel's" beginning and his end, when I read Crime and Punishment. Ah, Dostoyevsky, you trickster.
Have you ever tried thinking of a really hard-to-grasp topic only to reach some kind of a barrier in your mind? It's like, you can only reach a certain point of thought and if you try to think beyond that, your stream of thoughts either goes in a wrong direction or just completely vanishes. Well, somehow, Dostoyevsky is able to reach beyond the barrier and he's even able to present it through this dark glimpse of life and suffering that is oh so relatable.
One of the best books I've read thus fa Have you ever tried thinking of a really hard-to-grasp topic only to reach some kind of a barrier in your mind? One of the best books I've read thus far. Jul 12, Elie F rated it it was amazing Shelves: to-reread , favorites , russian. Better Passive Consciousness? After reading this genius novel, I waited for a week before trying to write a review of some sort, because there is so much in there and I had to digest it first. Indeed, the underground man is sick, malicious, irredeemable, yet still I relate to him deeply, and not just on a spiritual level, but I realize to my surprise that I actually behave like him in concrete terms.
The underground man rails against the laws of nature, against social norms, against science, and Better Passive Consciousness? The underground man rails against the laws of nature, against social norms, against science, and against every possible alternative, every hint of salvation and change: "If there still was any time or faith left to make myself into something different, I should most likely have refused to do so. Indeed, if others are to be hated, they have to be hated for something, and this something is nothing other than the humiliation, insult, and injury of oneself.
To hate someone else, one has to be injured, to be petty, to be an insect. But what complicates the issue is the definition of being, or the definition of definition. To define is to conclude, and definition is as arbitrary, as much "a stone wall" as the laws of nature. Neither an insect nor a hero, the underground declares, he can't be anything, because he wants to retain some consciousness and free will against arbitrariness, and his consciousness doesn't allow him to do or to be anything.
For the direct, the inevitable, and the legitimate result of consciousness is to make all actions impossible. Everything is reduced to a hateful competition, one knocking against the other, one humiliating the other, or one becomes the injured one, and when in the second part of the novel, a light of salvation, a gesture of compassion is extended to him through the prostitute girl, he rejects, smashes it.
To play the role of the spiteful victim and silently remember every injury to the most shameful detail is easier than seeking the alternative, because devil knows what the alternative might lead to. Indeed, all the words of the underground man are hateful cheap egoistic talk, endless railing, but it is precisely the endlessness about his despair and spite that I relate to the most. The natural men those who are normal, those who live as nature intended, those whom the underground man despises go on and on in their following the arbitrary laws of nature like a mere physical entity that is set into motion, but likewise the underground man goes on and on in his railing, in his petty and spiteful writing.
The ending of this short novel is pure genius: "This is not, by the way, the end of the Memoirs of this paradoxical fellow. He could not resist and went on and on.
But it seems to us, too, that we may stop. What will become of your will once the whole business ends up with tables and arithmetic, when only twice two is four is in demand? Twice two will make four without my willing it. So much for your will! I am a despicable woman I am a jealous woman. I am a greedy woman. I believe my brain is sick from all the ill thoughts I silently stash in its dankest recesses, hiding them from the judgemental eyes of the polite society. I subsist on a diet of antidepressants and multivitamins. I feel bored and lonely in this sea of people.
I am sad often. I cry. The story reads like the rabid rambling of a deranged sociopath. The Underground Man is me. The Underground Man is you. The Underground Man is trapped in the mire of everyday life and its monotonous inactivity. Like you and I, he is emotionally strong and yet vulnerable. He goes through bouts of self-loathing and loneliness. He is spiteful and cruel. I could relate to him. You could relate to him. And that is where the brilliance of this novel lies. View all 26 comments. I feel completely drained.
View all 3 comments. The day was hot, the afternoon sun scorching and nothing providing any respite from the heat, the stomach full from a delicious lunch seemed to lull the body making it lethargic. However, the mind, that ever present mind, refused to give into the needs of the body and wanted more. Not that it made either sound when shutting itself as I was reading it on a Kindle, nevertheless you can understand that I meant the sound it would have made, if I were to shut the physical book in the throes of irritation. A noise so loud that even with the cacophony of noises coming from the outside, it refused to dwindle and relinquish its hold.
I think you understand what such a noise is and how one feels when such a noise is heard, for as readers we all face it, when nothing else but that one will satisfy the noise or shut it out completely. Morose, I kept flitting from one book to another, reading a few lines here, a few lines there, not really wanting to read but not seeming to be able to quit either. Do not laugh, my friend, when I tell you that I was seeking a light book to read and in searching for that I tumbled upon one that was about Existentialism.
And do not roll your eyes when I tell you that the first page of this book led me to the current one that I am doing such a poor job of reviewing as it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Now, having found myself in this position with the dubious honour of reading Dostoevsky to silence the voice from within, I was scared.
Oscillating between the need to suspend all thought processes and delve deep into the darkest corners of human mind and the need to withdraw immediately lest I fall prey to such human needs and thoughts and the fear of turning into this nameless narrator, I was scared. Come on, be honest, we are all friends here, sailing in that same boat, with the only difference being the degree to which we crave it!
Anyway, I am digressing here again, am sorry my friend for doing that but you can see the way human mind processes thoughts after being exposed to such sordidness that it truly wonders where beauty ends, oh no I should say beauty and sublimity ends and vile begins. That Dostoevsky is an author renowned for his amazing intellect and deep understanding and portrayal of the human mind is well known. That this prowess of his transforms into a prose that is captivating is also well known and I need not tell you that.
I understand your impatience and exasperation my friend, but unlike any other tale, this compels one to create a prologue, which one can associate with a journey, where the journey is what bewitches you and the destination is often left unreached. I request you to kindly bear with me as this is not an easy task for me, if I could call explaining the mire, degradation and defilement of this nameless narrator and the similar thoughts he provoked in both the author and reader, a task worth doing.
You think this is mere ramble? Some crazy babble of a mad person?
Well, it is true that this nameless narrator seeks nothing but disdain and disgust from his readers along with wanting the reader to simply throw away these papers and write them off as something never to seen or read. Believe me, my friend, I tried, I tried and threw the book away as much as throwing it is possible when reading on an E-reader, but I failed.
Here are Chekhov and Gogol at the heart of a passionate intellectual argument. I bathed in the mud like it was water, rubbing it all over my face and body until I couldn't see any more of me. It only takes seconds! View all 35 comments. Johnston, Ian. Is he bullshitting?
There are also the same views that are bound in the paradox. And man is sometimes extremely fond of suffering too. Here he is simply touching on a quest in which pleasure is of no use—it is the quest for self-determination and self-affirmation. This is what he seeks the answer to in dangerous and repugnant regions. He craves isolation, yet thirsts for human contact. He suffers and proclaims pleasure in it.