Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Summary and Analysis Part 2: Chapter 1

Summary

After the murder, Raskolnikov collapses into a deep sleep. Upon awakening, he is terrified; he has slept for so long that he fears that he is going mad. He remembers the items that he had stolen and his failure to hide them or to lock the door of his flat — this was madness. As he hides the items, he begins to wonder if his punishment is already beginning and after a few stirrings and attempts to hide his loot in a hole in his room, he surrendered himself to mingled sleep and delirium.

Again he awakens to Nastasya's pounding. The porter is with her and he hands Raskolnikov a summons to report to the police. Nastasya does not want him to move since he has had a fever since the day before. As he dresses, he is repulsed by the thought of wearing the bloody socks, but since he has no others, he is forced to do so. On the way to the police station, he thinks that he might just confess it all and be done with it: "I shall go in, fall on my knees, and tell the whole story."

When he reaches the police station, he is almost overwhelmed by the "sickening smell of fresh paint. . .from the newly decorated rooms." The small crowded rooms, the lack of fresh air, the confusion as to why he is there, and the intolerable waiting make him feverish. Finally, he discovers that his landlady is suing him for back rent. As Raskolnikov is told of his offense, he goes into a rather lengthy explanation of his relationship to his landlady and of his previous engagement to his landlady's daughter. The police instruct him to sign an I.O.U. and release him. As he signs the paper, he overhears the police discussing the murder of Alyona Ivanovna and Lizaveta, and he faints. When he recovers, he hurries home thinking that the police suspect him of the murder.

Analysis

In a novel with six parts and an epilogue, one can easily argue that the first part is a prologue because only that part is devoted to the crime and the remaining parts are devoted to the punishment that begins immediately with his hatred of the blood on his clothes and especially on his socks, and the loss of his ability to retain complete control over all of his faculties.

Crime therefore is a demanding, troublesome matter that becomes a colossal nuisance. And crime is accompanied by various types of illnesses — with Raskolnikov, it is expressed in his temperature, his inability to function normally, and his dread of the very blood that he has just shed. When it is necessary to put on the bloody socks, his repulsion indicates his dread of or living with his murder. This scene contrasts well with the later scene when he is splattered with blood from the death of Marmeladov. In this later scene, he had no qualms about touching blood per se.

When he receives the police summons, his mind is in such a state of agitation that he forgets that Nastasya had told him earlier that his landlady was going to have him summoned.

As he approaches the police station, he thinks of confessing for the third time. At the police station, he needs to confess something; therefore, he tells of the most intimate event in his past life, that is, the engagement to his landlady's daughter. He even confesses that she was not attractive. This is the fourth time he considers confession, and his engagement to the landlady's daughter shows his empathy with suffering humanity. Shortly after this his fifth thought of confession follows when he thinks that he should confess everything: "to get up at once, to go up to Nikodim Fomitch, and tell him everything." The tenseness and fear of being summoned to the police station for the murder prompt these thoughts of confession.

At the end of the chapter, Raskolnikov's fainting spell is a result of the tension caused by the summons; the oppressive smell of the new paint, which reminds him of the murder scene; the crowded conditions with its lack of fresh air; and finally the discussion of the murder of Alyona Ivanovna. This fainting spell will later become a cause of suspicion and will be used by Porfiry.

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