Summary and Analysis Part 3: Chapter 2



Razumihkin awakens the next day remembering everything about his talk the preceding night and he is ashamed. He now washes and dresses in clean clothes before reporting to Dunya and Pulcheria Alexandrovna. He goes to check with Dr. Zossimov who is satisfied with Raskolnikov's progress but is disturbed about his monomania concerning the painters and the murders.

Razumihkin goes immediately to Pulcheria Alexandrovna who wants to hear about her son. He tells that he has known Rodya for almost two years and that at times Rodya fluctuates between two characters. "He has been suspicious and fanciful. He has a noble nature and a kind heart. He does not like showing his feelings and he is not at all morbid, but simply cold and inhumanly callous. Really it is as though he had two separate personalities," and he fluctuates between two aspects of his character. Razumihkin then tells of Raskolnikov's past engagement to the landlady's daughter who was an invalid, queer, and positively plain if not ugly.

Pulcheria, with Dunya's permission, shows Razumihkin a letter received this morning from Luzhin. In it he writes of his involvement until tomorrow night when he will call on them. He explicitly, earnestly, and "imperatively request the Rodion Romanovitch shall not be present at our meeting." He further threatens that if his request is ignored, he shall leave. He then reports that he has seen Raskolnikov in the flat of a notorious drunk who was run over and dying, and "he gave the daughter, a notoriously ill-conducted female [that is, a prostitute] almost twenty-five roubles."

Pulcheria Alexandrovna cannot understand her son's actions as reported by Luzhin. They leave to go see Raskolnikov, but Pulcheria Alexandrovna is so frightened to see her son that she can hardly stand up.


This chapter shows Razumihkin's intense feelings for Dunya and helps prepare the way for him to take over caring for the family while Raskolnikov is involved with his guilt. The long description of Raskolnikov emphasizes his split personality and describes his dual personality "as though he were alternating between two characters." In using such terms as "split personality," one is using a term that has not yet been coined by Sigmund Freud, but Dostoevsky was fully aware of the quirks of one's personality even though they had no label.

The mention of Raskolnikov's desire to marry the ugly, queer, invalid daughter of his landlady illustrates Raskolnikov's predilection for the weak and the downtrodden and helps to explain his later attraction to Sonya.

Luzhin's attempt to cause dissension between Raskolnikov and his mother by suggesting that Raskolnikov gave money to Sonya, a prostitute, rather than to Katerina Ivanovna, shows what a despicable character he is and how right Raskolnikov was to see this petty, ugly side of Dunya's fiancé. His request that Raskolnikov not be present at their interview is another attempt to alienate Raskolnikov from his family, thus making them more dependent on Luzhin.

The reader should further note that after being constantly with Raskolnikov, it is unusual that we have an entire chapter without his presence. It is necessary, however, so that the relationship between Razumihkin and Dunya can progress, and also prepares us for Raskolnikov's dependence on Sonya.