Summary and Analysis Part 3: Chapter 1



After Raskolnikov recovers from his fainting spell, everyone seems at a loss for something to say. Without warning, Raskolnikov throws a dark cloud over everything by announcing that he is not only violently opposed to Dunya's engagement, but he also forbids her to sacrifice herself to such a scoundrel as Luzhin. He says "I may be infamous, and even so, I would disown such a sister."

Razumihkin attributes Raskolnikov's outburst to his illness and suggests that it would be better to leave him alone for the present. When Pulcheria Alexandrovna wants to remain with her son, Razumihkin points out that Dunya cannot remain alone in such dreadful lodgings that Luzhin has secured for them. When all agree, he escorts them to their lodgings, promising to return later and bring Dr. Zossimov with him. Razumihkin, is so enthralled with Dunya that at one point, he gets down on his knees in the middle of the street and kisses her hand. He has obviously formed a sudden and strong infatuation for Dunya.


Raskolnikov's bizarre behavior is alarming to his mother, which allows the drunken Razumihkin to take charge. In this meeting, Dostoevsky is establishing a relationship between Dunya and Razumihkin so that when Raskolnikov finally confesses his guilt, it will leave him free from practical worries about his family so that he can concentrate upon his own actions and guilt.

Thus far the reader has been constantly with Raskolnikov and has seen everything from his point of view; now suddenly, he is left alone and the point of view shifts to Razumihkin and his relationship with Raskolnikov's family. Even though his actions are in a "drunken excess," both Pulcheria and Dunya are drawn to this good person.