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The Brothers Karamazov Chapter 4 Analysis And Response.

1280 words - 5 pages

Chapter four of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky raises some serious issues about religion and society in general. The conversation between Ivan and Aloysha provides the rationale behind the belief that one would be more reasonable and compassionate by not believing in god. Also, the morals of society come into question as the two brothers question society's norms. While this story takes place during a time very much different from present day, the questions raised are still relevant today.If you were to ask a hundred people if they loved their neighbors there is no doubt that an overwhelming majority would answer yes. However, if you really think about it, there is no way that this can not be true. Take a look at American society; we look upon those who are different from us as outcasts. He's dirty, she smells, look at how they dress I can't be seen with them; this is love? We cannot truthfully say that we all love one another until as a society we can accept people for who they are and look at the without prejudice. Dostoyevsky writes "One can love one's neighbors in the abstract, or even at a distance, but at close quarters it's almost impossible." A prime example of this philosophy would be the homeless. Nearly everyone has compassion for the homeless and would say that they would do anything they can to help them, but what happens when you see a homeless person on the street, you put your head down trying not to look at them and walk hurriedly past them hoping they wont ask you for money or bother you in any way. I can remember a few years back there was talk about building affordable housing near my neighborhood. The plan was to build these houses to get the homeless out of the shelters and back on their feet. However when the community heard about this there was a public outcry, it was then that I first learned the philosophy of "not in my backyard", the sentiment was that yes these people need to be helped but I'll be damned if I have to live near them.Dostoyevsky also gets involved with the nature versus nurture argument with Ivan's description of Richard, a murderer who underwent a transformation in prison from a heartless killer to a compassionate human being who found grace as a result of the treatment he received while in prison, the basics such as reading and writing, things he was deprived of as a child that turned him into a criminal. If we were all left on our own as children to fend for ourselves, we would live in a lawless society. Children need their parents to teach them values and to have compassion and respect for others. Unfortunately, compassion is not instinctual, it must be learned. A child left on his own will not be able to show love and respect for others, because they have not been shown love and respect themselves. Children are truly a product of their environment, my younger brother has a friend whose parents are, in my opinion vile people, they have no respect for their neighbors and rarely reprimand...

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