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Notes From The Underground, The Tormented Narrator

851 words - 4 pages

The Underground Man is spiteful. He tells us this and we really ought to believe him. The Underground Man is not only bothered by the class system of Russia but he is also plagued by everyone that he happens to glance at. Namely, I think that he is tormented by the fact that he is not free. He will never be free. He is a prisoner of himself.
In the first part of Notes from the Underground, the Underground Man spends a vast number of pages trying to be witty and intelligent by telling us all about his constant life contradictions and his concern with the laws of free will. He is so uptight and wound about himself that not only does this make for an incredibly confusing and lackluster story; ...view middle of the document...

It will become somewhat of an obsession of his. He will not accept that 2+2=4 just because everyone believes this to be the truth. This too threatens his free will because what others accept as fact, the Underground Man questions and that alone stands as a wall in his way of liberation.
In addition to the Underground Man’s unwillingness to accept things as they are, his acute consciousness also forces him to focus on minutia rather than the big picture. The Underground Man uses a mouse as his example. He says that the mouse will sit and ponder his revenge on the man who harmed him but the mouse does not act because outright revenge would be pointless and predictable. Instead, the mouse will revert back into his tiny mouse hole and plot for an entirely too lengthy amount of time. After he has been consumed by his ridicule, the mouse will pull small pranks on the man in order to seek his revenge. The man may not notice but these small wins mean everything to the mouse. In short, the mouse has become a prisoner to his own obsessive tendencies.
A better example of how the Underground Man cannot help but to allow people’s reactions to him control his entire being is in how he reacts to actual human encounters from his past. The most notable, in my opinion, is the Underground Man’s encounter with the officer. The officer...

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