Poverty on social conditions affects everyone in every part of the world, no matter if they are rich or poor. First of all, everyone is divided into some sort of social class. The most known classes are the economic classes- the lower class, the middle class, and the higher class. The lower class goes through arduous labor all day and night to earn decent amounts of money to provide for themselves and their families. Most likely, they are the only source of income for the entire family. The higher class works hard to keep up or raise their high social status. They also work hard so they don’t loss their social rank, which permits them to hold a higher power over the middle and lower classes. Similarities of decisions made by characters in these two literary works will analyzed to understand the meaning behind the actions and influences of the social classes on each other.
In Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Raskolnikov suffers a poverty-stricken life along with most of the other Russians. Most families during the time setting of this book are classified as lower class. The decisions they make are based solely upon how to improve their quality of life and social conditions. In Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, Gregor works hard night and day in a job which he despises because he needs to earn money to support his poor, impoverished, dependent family. Gregor also sacrificed himself, believing it was best for everyone in his family. He didn’t want to overburden his family by reminding them of the insignificant, incompetent insect that he has become. With these decisions, Raskolnikov and Gregor made an effort to improve their living conditions for themselves and their families. Belonging in a lower class rank and wishing to move up the social ladder assisted them in making their decisions.
The consequences made by these choices, had both social and emotional outcomes. For Raskolnikov, he wasn’t able to feel safe anywhere. Everywhere he went, thoughts about suicide, murder, crime, and penalties lurked in his brain. His punishment was to live in fear emotionally until he confessed or was caught for the murder that he had committed. For Gregor, his transformation affected his social life. He could neither talk with anyone, nor would anyone talk to him because they were all afraid of the monster he had become. Not even his family would come close to him. But no matter what, he still worried about how he would go to work and earn a decent income for his family. These judgments show how the poverty-stricken people live their lives almost every day making sacrifices or feeling bad because they aren’t given many opportunities to be equal to the rich and powerful.
Many symbols are portrayed in these literary works that represent the poor, lower class revolting against the rich, higher classes. One specific symbol in Crime and Punishment is the axe. The axe was first mentioned in Raskolnikov’s dream about the horse being “whipped” and...