Book Report of the Novel 'Crime and Punishment'

2108 words 9 pages
The 22nd Annual Book Report Competition For
Secondary School Students

The 2nd Runner Up of English Senior Section

|Name of School |: Wa Ying College |
|Name of Award Student |: Chow Tsz Yin, Amelia |
|Title of Book Read |: Crime and Punishment |
|Author |: Fyodor Dostoyevsky |
|Publisher |: Penguin
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The Russian word Raskol means “schism”. The term was used to describe a split in the Russian Orthodox Church that occurred in the mid-1600s. Dostoyevsky’s Russian readers would have been aware of the significance of Raskolnikov’s name, which suggests contradictions in his own personality as well as his rebellion against God. In the complex Raskolnikov, Dostoyevsky created one of the most interesting and most human of all fictional characters.

In large part, Crime and Punishment is an examination of the guilty conscience. For Dostoyevsky, punishment is not a physical action or condition. Rather punishment inherently results from an awareness of guilt. Guilt is the knowledge that one has done wrong and has become estranged from society and from God. From the very beginning of the novel, Raskolnikov suffers from this estrangement. In murdering the pawnbroker, he seeks to prove that he is above the law. But his crime only reinforces his sense that he is not a part of society.

The theme of atonement and forgiveness is closely related to that of guilt and innocence. As Dostoyevsky’s title suggests, punishment is the only logical and necessary result of crime. Punishment, however, does not mean merely a legal finding and a sentence of imprisonment. In Dostoyevsky’s view, the criminal’s true punishment is not a sentence of imprisonment. Nor is legal punishment the definitive answer to crime. The criminal’s punishment


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