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

Summary

Upon leaving the police station, Raskolnikov is afraid that the police have searched his room, but he soon sees that no one has entered his room. He empties all of his "loot" into his pockets and plans to hide it somewhere. After walking a long way, he finds himself in a park. He moves a huge rock aside and hides his stolen goods under the rock.

He remembers that he had promised himself that he would visit his friend Razumihkin the day after the murder and he goes to his room. Raskolnikov says that he has come to ask for lessons, but after a while he suddenly changes his mind and leaves amid Razumihkin's entreaties to know where he is going and where he is living. Raskolnikov ignores him and leaves.

Raskolnikov walks absent-mindedly toward the river and is almost run down by a coach and is actually struck with a whip by a coachman. As he stands rubbing his back, he suddenly feels someone thrust money into his hand because he looked so much like a beggar. He immediately throws the money away.

When he returns home, he dreams that the police officer Ilya Petrovitch is beating his landlady. He is awakened by Nastasya who realizes that he is sick and who goes to get him some water just as he collapses into unconsciousness.

Analysis

At the beginning of the chapter, Raskolnikov is determined to get rid of all of Alyona's things. At first he wants to throw them into the canal so all traces would be gone, but then he walks through the park and hides them safely under a large stone. During all this activity, he never bothered to examine the items in order to determine their value. This failure to count his theft suggests that the murder was not committed either for need of money or for the purpose of helping mankind by using the money.

Earlier, he had maintained that he would go to Razumihkin's after he had committed the crime. This act of murder, if he can ignore it, would therefore make him a superior (extraordinary) person. But he is also in need of human contact. We later find out that part of Raskolnikov's theory about crime is that it isolates one from human contact. But once he arrives at Razumihkin's, he recognizes this need for society to be a weakness, that the Ubermensch must be able to stand completely alone. He must be above and beyond wanting, needing, or receiving any sympathy or help. It was a weakness on his part to go, and, as he recognizes this weakness, he immediately leaves Razumihkin's room. This same view will also separate him from his mother and sister because the Ubermensch must be able to stand alone and shun human contact, especially human sympathy.

The pathetic and confused state of Raskolnikov's condition is illustrated by his stumbling in front of a coach and being struck with a lash and then being mistaken for a beggar. This beating and the subsequent charity function as ironic contrasts to Raskolnikov's theory. It shows him to be one of the weak who are subjected to these indignities rather than being one of the extraordinary men who are above the need of help.

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