Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Brothers Karamazov (6)

Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1879/1880. New York: Airmont Publishing Co. 1966.

Why read it? First, it’s a mystery. Who killed Fyodor Karamazov? He deserved it. He was a tyrant. Plot: “An old profligate, Fyodor Karamazov, is murdered and his eldest son is tried and convicted for the crime; all the sons of the Karamazov family, however, each in his own way, feel complicity and the need to atone for their part in the death of the old man.” p. 7.

“The ‘punishment’ that comes to each of the brothers involved in the crime against their father is self-realization.” p, 9. [Introduction. O. H. Rudzik.]

The family? A group of people who work to help and support each other? Or a disjointed group of individuals with distinctly different personalities and motives?

“…emergence into light of the hurtful hostility felt by all sons to all fathers, by all men to all imposed authority.” p. 10. [Introduction. O. H. Rudzik.]

A study of character—symbolic of the essential traits of the Russian people? All the brothers’ personalities combine to compose a single complex human being?

Sample quotes and ideas:

“Too, too well they know the value of complete submission, and until men know that, they will be unhappy.” p. 234.

“…and beyond the grave they will find nothing but death.” p. 235.

“Life will bring you many misfortunes, but you will find your happiness in them.” p. 257.

“…everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything.” p. 260.

“The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth.” p. 263.

“Every blade of grass, every insect, ant, and golden bee, all so marvelously know their path though they have not intelligence, they bear witness to the mystery of God and continually accomplish it themselves.” p. 265.

“…we don’t understand that life is heaven….” p. 270.

“…this terrible individualism must inevitably have an end, and all will understand how unnaturally they are separated from one another.” p. 275.

“…a man must set an example, and so draw men’s souls out of their solitude, and spur them to some act of brotherly love, that the great idea may not die.” p. 275.

“Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires.” p. 284.

“They have succeeded in accumulating a greater mass of objects, but the joy in the world has grown less.” p. 285.

“Equality is to be found only in the spiritual dignity of man….” p. 286.

“And how many ideas there have been on earth in the history of man which were unthinkable ten years before they appeared…when their destined hour had come, they came forth and spread over the whole earth.” p. 288.

“Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it…every leaf, every ray of God’s light.” p. 289.

“My friends, pray to God for gladness.” p. 290.

“There is only one means of salvation; then take yourself and make yourself responsible for all men’s sins.” p. 290.

To be continued.

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