Beyond Crime & Punishment: Awakening Hope in Dostoevsky’s Masterpiece

I had an unforgettable reading experience:

One day at dinner, he brought Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and planned to read it while eating.

Unexpectedly, as soon as I opened the book, I couldn’t stop. By the time I finished reading, it was already 6 a.m. the next morning.

I forgot to prepare my lessons and I didn’t eat any food.

The reason why he was so fascinated was because of the problems he encountered at that time. He was deeply touched by the psychological description in the book, and felt that the book seemed to be written for him.

This is the greatest charm of “Crime and Punishment”.

Tuoweng cleverly focuses on the protagonist’s psychological confession before and after committing the crime, vividly revealing the entanglements and contradictions, pain and madness of human nature under various hardships.

The book outlines a picture of the life of the people at the bottom. Some people are sinking in difficulties, while others are nirvana in desperate situations.

As Yang Jiang said:

“Life is nothing more than knowing yourself, refining yourself, and voluntarily transforming yourself.”

No matter what situation you are in, only by awakening yourself can you control your destiny.


In the struggle between good and evil, wake up

Raskolnikov was originally a promising college student, but due to his poor family, he was forced to drop out of school.

In order to survive, he could only mortgage all his belongings to borrow money at usury and live in poverty.

However, the old woman who loaned money was mean and greedy. While lowering the price of the mortgage and extracting profits from it, she also insulted Raskolnikov and despised his poverty.

The physical and mental pain stimulated Raskolnikov so much that he couldn’t help but have the evil idea of ​​killing the old woman.

For the next month, this idea kept lingering in his mind. The more suppressed it became, the clearer it became.

In the end, Raskolnikov was consumed by evil thoughts and hacked the old woman to death with an axe.

Unexpectedly, the old woman’s innocent sister happened to come home at this time.

In order to silence her, Raskolnikov killed her as well.

Immediately afterwards, he took away the old woman’s belongings and fled in the chaos.

Unexpectedly, after the “sin” is over, there will be no joy as imagined, only heavy “punishment” from the soul.

After returning home, he fell ill with fever and was in a coma for three days and nights.

When he heard the police officer’s guess about the murderer, he was so frightened that he fainted on the spot.

But when the police were collecting evidence at the scene, he couldn’t help but stepped forward to deliberately imply that he was the murderer.

He was so entangled in his heart that he was in a dilemma, and even began to hate his own incompetence and cowardice.

It wasn’t until he met his lover Sonia who taught him love and forgiveness that he ended the hard labor in his heart.


Writer Jian Yu once said:

“People cannot control their own character. They often come into contact with themselves with swords and collars in the most silent moments.”

Human nature is complex and the mind is ever-changing.

A person who is an angel one moment may have a devil in his heart the next.

Life is a long road, and we will inevitably encounter moments when good and evil compete.

Perhaps he is jealous of the advancement of those around him and resents his own stagnation;

Perhaps faced with a shortcut to achieve success in one step, he is hesitant under the temptation of desire;

Perhaps due to the pressure from powerful forces, I wanted to tell the truth but felt cowardly.

However, distinguishing whether a person is good or evil does not depend on whether he is always good in his heart.

But it depends on whether he brakes in time and protects his conscience when evil thoughts invade, or whether he allows evil thoughts to rage and make mistakes.

Only by guarding the boundaries between good and evil can we stand the test of fate with a clear conscience and move forward steadily.


Be self-sustaining in the midst of ups and downs

Dunya is Raskolnikov’s sister. In order to support her brother’s education, she went out to work when she was very young.

Her first stable job was as a tutor.

With her unremitting efforts, her life was about to get better, but unexpectedly she was targeted by her employer Svidrigalov.

Svidrigalov was cruel by nature and regarded women as playthings that could be ravaged at will.

He deliberately advanced half a year’s salary to Dunya for emergencies, but his purpose was to use this leverage to possess her.

But even in the face of such coercion and inducement, Dunya still firmly rejected Svidrigalov, even if the price was to lose this hard-won job.

Her integrity is respected by everyone.

Even Svirigalov’s wife took the initiative to clear Dunya’s name.

Later, Dunya planned to marry Luzhin, a civil servant who was more than ten years older than her, for the sake of her brother’s high tuition fees.

But in repeated interactions, she gradually discovered Lu Ren’s hypocrisy and deceit.

Therefore, she would rather give up the wealth and honor she had at her fingertips to dissolve the marriage.

What is even more touching is the scene when Dunya meets Svidrigalov again and confronts him.


By this time, Svidrigalov had already torn off all disguises and was doing evil everywhere.

He seduced girls, killed his wife, and squandered his wife’s inheritance.

Svidrigalov threatened to expose Raskolnikov’s crimes and asked Dunya to choose one of two:

Commit yourself to him or shoot him.

Svidrigalov’s original intention was to force the weak Dunya to reveal the ugliness of human nature in a desperate situation.

Unexpectedly, Dunya chose to put down his pistol at the last moment and sacrifice himself.

Svidrigalov’s faith collapsed at that moment.

In remorse for his sin, he shot himself.

Dunya kept her conscience and herself.

Dunya and her brother received the same difficult life script, but made completely different choices.

Raskolnikov faced the difficulties of life and became a devil;

Dunya always sticks to the bottom line and never gives in.


There is a sentence in “Storm on the Road to Harvard”:

“People don’t have choices. You can make excuses for yourself to bow to life, or you can force yourself to create a better life.”

What determines the outcome of life is not innate conditions, but acquired choices.

Just like Ge Weilong and Bai Liusu in Zhang Ailing’s works, they were both born at a young age and were young and beautiful. Ge Weilong resigned himself to degeneracy and became a social butterfly, while Bai Liusu achieved a counterattack.

The harder our days are, the more we need to be sober and self-possessed.

Don’t be shaken by hardship, don’t be lost by material desires; you can enjoy common clothes and coarse food, and your shoulders will not be stained by prosperity.

Only in this way can we gain steady happiness and peace in the torrent of fate without any hesitation.

In the midst of blessings and misfortunes, I can overcome myself

Compared with the brothers Raskolnikov and Dunya, Sonia’s life experience is even more miserable.

Sonia’s biological father was once an infantry officer, but he was addicted to gambling. He often abused himself because of gambling debts, and finally died in prison.

Later, her mother took Sonia and her two younger siblings to marry her second husband, Mameladov.

Unexpectedly, Mameladov turned out to be an alcoholic.

Because of alcoholism, he lost his job and sold his family property.

Seeing that her younger brothers and sisters were about to starve to death at home, and her mother was suffering from tuberculosis and was unable to work, Sonia had no choice but to shoulder the burden of the family.

In order to support her family, she fell into prostitution amidst the ridicule and scorn of everyone.

But even so, she never gave up on herself, but took care of herself and her family’s life.

However, fate still wants to play tricks on this poor girl.

Mameladov died unexpectedly, and his mother fell into madness. She soon died of tuberculosis, leaving Sonia to raise her three younger siblings alone.

But even in such a desperate situation, she did not surrender like her father, nor did she imitate others like her mother.

Even if her life is not so honorable and glamorous, she is always striving to make progress.

As a result, she became Raskolnikov’s only faith, guiding him on the road to redemption.

Even the extremely vicious Svidrigalov was moved by Sonia during several encounters and showed a few kindnesses to her.

He took the initiative to help her settle her younger brothers and sisters, and also gave her a fortune, which freed her from the difficulties of survival.

And with Raskolnikov’s awakening, Sonia also gained his sincerity and gained perfect love.


Sanmao once said:

“How do you feel?

It’s like a vast maze in which there is no boat that can cross it. Only one can cross it by himself, and there is nothing others can do to help him. ”

In the long river of life, suffering, bitterness and difficulty always take turns.

Economic embarrassment, emotional entanglements, confusion about the future… all kinds of pain are intertwined and layered, making people flat and round.

Whenever we enter the darkest moment of life, we always hope that someone can reach out to help us.

But in this busy world, everyone has too much time to take care of themselves, has no obligations, and no time to comfort your pain.

If you want to overcome many difficulties, you can only rely on yourself.

In those moments when you are walking alone in the dark, instead of waiting for others to hold candles for you, it is better to hold a candle yourself and walk.

Even if the world is cold, we can still keep our hearts warm.

write at the end

The three protagonists in the book, faced with the bleak reality, each struggled, experienced, and then awakened.

Raskolnikov once succumbed to evil thoughts, but through suffering and pain, he learned to reconcile himself;

Dunya is neither humble nor arrogant, always sober and rational, and lives a wonderful life in troubled times;

Sonia was stuck in the mud, but she persevered and finally achieved success.

“Crime and Punishment” is like a microscope that reveals the true meaning of life through the storyline.

As Dostoevsky said:

“The battle between God and the devil is in the human heart.”

Life is full of storms and storms.

Only by treating pain as a ripening agent in life and turning wind and rain into an opportunity for awakening can we face difficulties and find a spiritual way out.

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