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Notes From The Underground By Fyodor Dostoyevsky

2182 words - 9 pages

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short story writer that discussed the psychological state of the human soul in many of his works, one in particular is Notes from the Underground; which was published in 1864 Notes from the Underground, had a great influence in the 20th century; the novel takes a man’s inability to communicate with society and uses it to teach readers about the importance of other humans in our daily lives and how that affects the way we think, live, and learn. Although the narrator has alienated himself from society, Dostoyevsky uses his knowledge of diction, style, grammar, and many other literary devices to show the reader that the narrator is lacking the knowledge to communicate with another human being thus giving a tortured man to define what the meaning of life is to someone who feels no love, happiness, sympathy, and has no features that make up the human soul but has everything that is materialistic.
Many critics state that ‘Underground Man’ is lost within society but Ian Johnston has a lecture where he portrays ‘Underground Man’ as a choice maker “And he lives there by choice, a willed refusal or inability to engage with other people in any significant way (Ian Johnston, Paragraph 5).” Johnston in his introduction defines the word hero as “Cultural heroes--from history or fiction--as we have encountered them so far, have virtually all had a few qualities in common. First and foremost is their ability to act in the world, to make decisions, carry those out, and deal with the consequences (Ian Johnston, Paragraph 3).” ‘Underground Man’ has none of these capabilities he overanalyzes decision then goes with the naive chose of the two because he is scared of society giving him any recognition. ‘Underground Man’ has become comfortable with feeling lost that he’s given up on intelligence for knowledge. Yes he has great intellect but he’s not a hero or as Dostoyevsky calls them an ‘aboveground’ man, from the first line of the novel ‘Underground Man’ has given up on himself seeing only insecurities because as he states ““I am a sick man... I am a spiteful man. I am an unpleasant man. I think my liver is diseased. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Page 1).” Johnston understands that ‘Underground Man’ cannot be a hero but he is because it’s not easy to admit a problem in one’s self, this act of weakness is actually what portrays ‘Underground Man’ as a hero. Johnston focuses primarily on the maturity of ‘Underground Man’ and his past. Johnston thinks that ‘Underground Man’ has the qualities of Enlightenment because “he is free and independent. (Ian Johnston, Paragraph 9)” but never takes the action towards the opportunities to be a man of society. After talking about the maturity of ‘Underground Man’, Johnston begins to talk about the Occasion of Wet Snow where readers see why forty year old ‘Underground Man’ is isolating himself from society; they all put him in the corner. Take his schoolmates, for...

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