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Book Review Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Russia: The Russian Messenger, 1879. Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. New York: Barnes &Noble Books, 2004. Reason, Type & Setting I selected this novel because I was looking for a challenge read, and that’s what I received. I asked Brett for a challenging book to read, so he recommended this novel, and so I read it. This is a classic novel that makes you search for the hidden meaning in the text. I would classify this novel as a realist novel. This novel makes you question your own beliefs and makes you think. The story takes place in a small town in Russia, in the mid nineteenth century. Plot Fyodor Karamazov has three sons, two by his first wife, Dmitri, and two by his second, Ivan and Alyosha. After each wife past away he abandoned the kids, and left the help or relatives to care for them. Once grown up Dmitri returns to receive his inheritance, but Fyodor does not give it to him, so Ivan is called in to help settle this dispute. Also Alyosha, who lives in town, is called in for help. Fyodor and Dmitri decide to go to the monastery to seek help from the elder, Zosima. At the monastery Dmitri and Fyodor get into an argument and Zosima predicts that Dmitri will suffer greatly. Dmitri is desperate for money because he borrowed 3,000 rubles from his fiancée to fund his trip with his real love Grushenka. But Fyodor refuses to give Dmitri the money, because he too wants Grushenka. Fyodor also has a son, Smerdyakov, who Fyodor doesn’t claim to be his son. While the battle between Fyodor and Dmitri continues, Dmitri breaks off the marriage with Katerina, in order to be with Grushenka.


He is frantically trying to collect money to pay her back. Alyosha becomes involved with the arguments, but breaks away when he hears that Zosima is on his death bed. Alyosha returns to the monastery just in time to see Zosima before he dies. His final lesson is the importance of forgiveness, and love; he then dies. Dmitri is still trying to find the money to repay Katerina, but no one will lend it to him, he soon hears that Grushenka left to go with a former lover; so he decides to see her one last time, then kill himself. He finds her and she says that she loves him, and that her former lover means nothing. But Dmitri is arrested for the murder of his father. Fyodor is missing 3000 rubles and so it appears that Dmitri has stolen and killed his father, he is sent to prison. Ivan and Smerdyakov are talking about Fyodor’s death and Smerdyakov confesses to killing Fyodor. He says that he killed him because of the conversations with Ivan and how he convinced him to kill, not knowing. Ivan goes home and is consumed with guilt and has a nervous breakdown. Alyosha then informs Ivan that Smerdyakov hung himself. At Dmitri’s trial everything seems to be going well, but then they announce Dmitri guilty. Katerina and Grushenka develop a way to get Dmitri to escape and flee to America. As for Alyosha he assumes Zosima’s position. Character Alyosha Karamazov is one of the main characters in this story. In the beginning of the story Alyosha is in his twenties. He is the son of Fyodor Karamazov and the youngest of three brothers, his other two brothers are, Dmitri, and Ivan. He is the complete opposite of his father, kind, caring, loving, and very intelligent. He is very humble and believes in God, and appreciates all of man-kind. Alyosha is mediator between everyone essentially, he is the middle man, people ask him to talk to someone, or find something out and he


will do it. He does express his beliefs and is the peace keeper in his family. He is the backbone in his dysfunctional family, with out him; they would probably never talk, or kill each other. I selected this character because I thought that he was the most important person in the novel, from my perspective. I think that Alyosha reminds me of me, in some ways. He is the backbone and mediator in his family, as am I. Also he listens and hears out what the other person has to say before disagreeing, and I do the same thing. Alyosha in the end becomes the new Zosima, which is pretty significant, but he becomes more assured with his beliefs and more confident that he can do well, especially after he helps Grushenka. Alyosha Karamazov is a powerful character, and completely changed the novel; he was the glue in the story. Evaluation This novel makes you think and ponder the hidden meanings in each scene. Through out this novel I have obtained a better understanding of how religion can play such a vital role in people’s lives. The novels main point is religion and to have faith in one each other. In every scene the characters contemplate life and or religion, everyone always have thoughtful conversations about life. This novel teaches that for a man to go through life they need something to believe in, whether it is a god or themselves. By having faith in something you have a reason to live life to the fullest, if not you go through life with an attitude that the glass in half empty. In this novel Alyosha lives a full life, because he has both faith in himself to do the right thing and faith in God to guide him. Where Ivan has no faith in himself or in God, he is unsure about his life, so in the end he breaks down. He cannot take his own uncertainty and has a nervous breakdown. So this proves that to have a form to concentrate your energy and life on


God or in yourself you are much more likely to fail. I think that this lesson is important because it can help you focus your own goals much better, and to think about yourself and to become confident in what you do and your decisions. This novel does not really compare to my life personally, but parts I can connect to my experiences. For example the love triangle between Fyodor, Dmitri, and Grushenka, reminds me of any popular movie, television show, or book. The only twist is that it is a father and a son competing for Grushenka. It does remind me of a cops episode, where a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were having an affair. Also the trial reminds me of any trail where the person is on trial even though they are truly innocent; and there is very little evidence, but it points that the person is guilty. Some really small sections in the novel remind me of my life though, such as Alyosha being embarrassed by his father, that happens to me quite frequency. I think that Alyosha and I have quite a bit in common. Like I said earlier, we are the backbone in our families, and are good listeners, but still voice our opinions. I think for the most part I would have acted the same, because I do much of the same today, especially with my family, but I am not that religious, so some aspects would have been different. But for the most part I think if I was Alyosha the book would have ended the same way. I was pleased with the ending. I do not think that I would have changed the ending, but the death of Ilyusha was regrettable and I’m not sure if it was necessary for the out come of the story. I think that would be the only change in the story, but other then that I liked it.


Brothers Karamazov