Crime and Punishment By Fyodor Dostoevsky Summary and Analysis Part 6: Chapter 7

Summary

On that same day that Svidrigailov commits suicide, Rodya is on way to pay his last visit to this mother. She is alone. She refuses to question him about his whereabouts and maintains that she has read his article three times and feels that he is destined for greatness. She states that she will not interfere. He tells her "I came to assure you that I have always loved you, and now I am glad that we are alone." Again and again, he assures her of his abiding love for her, but also tells her that he has to go away for a long time. However, before he leaves, he asks his mother "to kneel down and pray to God for me. Your prayers perhaps will reach Him." She makes the cross over him and blesses him, and he leaves promising that someday he will return to her.

When he returns to his room, he finds Dunya waiting for him. She has been all day with Sonya waiting for him. Dunya now knows of the crime and agrees that it was wrong but is proud that he "is ready to face suffering." She, like Sonya and Porfiry, also believes that he expiates his crime "by facing his suffering." Still Raskolnikov cannot bring himself to admit the crime as evil: "Crime? What crime?. . .Killing a foul, noxious louse, that old moneylender, no good to anybody, who sucked the life-blood of the poor, so vile that killing her ought to bring absolution for forty sins."

He only admits that it was his own baseness, his incompetence, and clumsiness that were at fault. But he assures Dunya that he is ready to take his suffering even though he can see no value to it. He also promises that he shall be honorable and manly and that some day, she will hear him spoken of favorably. As he leaves, he asks himself why is he going to Sonya's house now. He feels he has already made her suffer too much, but all the same he goes.

Analysis

The scene between mother and son shows a new side of Rodya. Since they are alone, a very important fact to him, he is able to freely express his love for his mother — a thing that he has earlier found tedious, confining, and a violation of his theory of the superior man. In this highly charged emotional scene, he is able to not only express his love to his mother, but he is also able to ask her to pray for him. This change is a sign that he is beginning his redemption.

In his last talk with Dunya, she also emphasizes the saving quality of suffering. But again, Raskolnikov revolts against this basic idea. He still has an intellectual belief in the idea that provoked the crime. His only regret is that he has disgraced the nobility of the idea because he, as a person, is cowardly and contemptible.

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