Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Summary and Analysis Part 5: Chapter 2

Summary

At Katerina Ivanovna's, the funeral party is just beginning. The dinner was given so as to "do like other people." The party far exceeds Katerina's means to pay, but she insisted on inviting everyone, even her landlady, Amalia Fyodorovna Lippewechsel, whom she dislikes intensely; Lebezyatnikov who once beat her; and Luzhin whom she does not know.

When Katerina notices that many people, especially the more genteel and influential lodgers, turned down her invitation, she blames it on her landlady and begins to act disdainful and haughty around her. Sonya is quiet, very nervous, and apprehensive, but Raskolnikov says nothing. Then as the party progresses, Katerina becomes openly critical and then hostile toward the landlady as though she was responsible for all the misfortunes in Katerina's life. Finally, pandemonium breaks loose and the entrance of Luzhin prevents an open fight.

Analysis

In this chapter, Katerina's behavior predicts her forthcoming eviction and her death. She cannot control herself, and she is also spitting blood. Her behavior is irrational as in her open prejudice against her landlady, Amalia Ivanovna Lippewechsel, a person of German origin who (in some translations) speaks in a heavy German syntax. Katerina's irrational dislike stems from a long standing conflict between native Russians and members of the German working class who settled in Russia but seldom learned the Russian language.

While Raskolnikov is physically present at this party, his real presence is unobserved; that is, he is no more than another visitor. His importance will be in the next chapter when he witnesses Luzhin's disgraceful and vicious attempts at blackmailing Sonya.

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