100 bottles of Vodka on the wall, 100 bottles of Vodka. Take one down, pass it around and....Ceilidh!! It's the Brothers Karamzov Readalong Part II! This post focuses on Part II of Brothers Karamazov--pages 162-324 of my edition. There aren't really any spoilers yet, so no need to cover those eyes.
So not only is Jill shooting daggers at me with her eyes, but now Jenners is too. Any others??
What’s going on so far (from what I can tell):
Part II started off much more promising as much of the religious debate was put to the side in the beginning. The love
Thoughts so far (from what I can decide):
What I'm most excited about? That this section is over and now I can pick something else up for a few weeks. Part II started off with promise but it dove downhill quickly when Ivan started in his rants about God and then the 40 page narrative of Zosima (and you guessed it...God) at the end of the section.
Bonus is that I think I mostly got what was going on this time--although I will admit to doing a tad bit of skimming through the chapters with zero dialogue. Sorry Dostoevsky! Victor Hugo is wordy as well but at least his writing makes sense to me.
I have the overwhelming feeling that I need to read up on Dostoevsky to get a grasp on his own personal beliefs. There is so much conflict between what is espoused by the characters--mostly from Ivan's Grand Inquisitor speech and then the section on Zosima. Ivan cannot accept the world that God has created because of all the suffering but Zosima's section in many ways takes Ivan's beliefs and turns them on their head. I would have preferred to see the debates about God in dialogue rather than lengthy diatribes in different chapters. Would make it easier for Trish to understand!
One thing that really strikes me about this book so far is the structure--the way the story plays out feels more like a play to me than a novel with a plot. I'm not sure I can describe this in a sensical way, but the two main forms of [plot] movement in the book come from dialogue between characters and lengthy soliloquies or other speeches. We don't get to hear a lot of the inner thoughts of the characters--mostly only what is expressed outloud. This gives the book a type of choppy feel that makes it tough to get into. I haven't read many Russian authors, but I can't help wonder if this type of structure is Russian?
Some notable quotes (mostly about debauchery--some about religion):
"I want to live in my wickedness to the very end. Wickedness is sweet: everyone denounces it, but everyone lives in it, only they all do it on the sly and I do it openly" (Fyodor, 173)
"And Mitka (Dmitri) I'll squash like a cockroach. I squash black cockroaches at night with my slipper: they make a little pop when you step on them. and your Mitka will makes a little pop, too. Your Mitka, because you love him" (Fyodor, 175).
"And the more he insults you, the more you love him. That is your strain. You precisely love him as he is, you love him insulting you. If he reformed, you would drop him at once and stop loving him altogether. But you need him in order to continually contemplate your high deed of faithfulness, and to reproach him for his unfaithfulness" (Ivan to Katerina regarding Dmitri, 192).
"...in Russia, drunks are our kindest people. Our kindest people are also the most drunk" (206).
"And man has, indeed invented God. And the strange thing, the wonder would not be that God really exists, the wonder is that such a notion-the notion of the necessity of God-could creep into the head of such a wild and wicked animal as man-so holy, so moving, so wise a notion, which does man such great honor..." (Ivan, 234).
"Whoever does not believe in God will not believe in the people of God. But he who believes in the people of God will also see their holiness, even if he did not believe in it at all before. Only the people and their future spiritual power will convert our atheists, who have severed themselves from their own land. And what is the word of Christ without an example? The people will perish without the word of God, for their souls thirst for his word and every beautiful perception" (Zosima, 294).
Finally, I found this picture on Wikipedia of Dosteovsky's notes for one of the chapters. Do you feel my pain now? :)
Pop by Fizzy Thoughts if you're interested in joining us! There's still a little over a month before we come to the end. Misery loves company, right?