Comparing Dostoevsky Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 July 2017

Comparing Dostoevsky

Camus’ “The Outsider” and Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” have been compared extensively. These comparisons have been made mostly on the basis of the philosophies presented in the book. They are both so-called ‘confessional’ novels, in which the central character goes through a change, which brings self-awareness or enlightenment. The existing comparisons have been focused on comparing philosophies, analysing the differences in them and the characters. It is thus logical to compare the book’s introduction to determine how well they present the book, what type of style is used and why, what foreshadowing is present.

The beginning of “The Outsider” thrusts us directly into the plot, without any explanation, any description of any kind of surrounding. We are presented with facts: “Mother died today. ” which are followed by the character’s train of thought, which proceeds to take us through his discussion about the problems of loosing his mother, namely “travelling fifty miles to Marengo, where the old-folk’s home” is and “having to take two days off work”. The character whose thoughts we are presented with seems very detached from the emotional side of life.

This can be reinforced with the representation of how he accepts his mother’s death, in other words, he does not care very much, and he does not feel. His only concern is his personal comfort, such as the length of travel to Marengo, when Mersault is meant to be grieving his mother, he thinks that the old people “sitting in silence were getting on [his] nerves. The character of Mersault is not presented to us in any way in the beginning of the book, so all the impressions that we receive originate from the character’s own mind as it is that which we are actually reading.

Such a way is an interesting approach to writing a book as it gives the reader some space in which to exercise his or her imagination. Dostoevsky, on the other hand, follows a slightly more conventional way of opening a book, he applies the third-person narration, but with one nuance which is important to the further development of the book: Dostoevsky intertwines Raskolnikov’s internal monologue into the third person narration, providing aspects of events open to interpretation. Thus this book is fundamentally different from “The Outsider”, where we are provided with only one point of view on all that happens.

The beginning does bear some introduction to “The Outsider”, though it is limited to the reader being thrust into the story, with the exception that it is not as abrupt. The type of narration facilitates the book in many ways, among them the description of the environments, which from the first page strike us as very descriptive, “the heat was terrible, with humidity to make it worse; and the crowds of people, the slaked lime everywhere, the scaffolding, the bricks, the dust and the distinctive summer aroma familiar to every inhabitant of St.

Petersburg… “. We do not have to think hard to imagine the character of Raskolnikov, as a very detailed description of his physical and psychological states and appearances are given by Dostoevsky himself in the first two pages of the book. “… he was remarkably handsome, with beautiful dark eyes and dark, chestnut-coloured hair… “. The hot, “sad and loathsome” environment of the summer in St. Petersburg are said to have “had a shattering effect on the young man’s already jangled nerves. ”

These two books represent two very different approaches to the philosophy of existentialism, but as “Crime and Punishment” deals with other points such as the Napoleonic complex, an early form of Nietzsche’s i?? bermensch and religion, it seems to be more elaborate and complete. But as a purely existentialist book, “The Outsider” conveys its point very well. The beginnings of books can usually be used to judge whether a book is good at achieving its goals, and in this case the beginnings do give a clear indication of what is to be expected and it does not disappoint.

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