Crime and Punishment (5)
This passage reminds me of today’s Saint, The Samaritan Woman, though it’s too early to tell what will become of Sonya, who is reading from the fourth Gospel.
“‘Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth…‘”
(she read loudly and rapturously, trembling and growing cold, as if she were seeing it with her own eyes: )
“‘… bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, “Loose him, and let him go.
“‘Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.‘”
Beyond that she did not and could not read; she closed the book and got up quickly from her chair.
“That’s all about the raising of Lazarus,” she whispered abruptly and sternly, and stood motionless, turned away, not daring and as if ashamed to raise her eyes to him. Her feverish trembling continued. The candle-end had long been burning out in the bent candlestick, casting a dim light in this destitute room upon the murderer and the harlot strangely come together over the reading of the eternal book. Five minutes or more passed.
“I came to talk about business,” Raskolnikov suddenly spoke loudly, and, frowning, he rose and went to Sonya. She looked up at him silently. His face was especially stern, and some wild resolution was expressed in it.
“I left my family today,” he said, “my mother and sister. I won’t go to them now. I’ve broken with everything there.
“Why?” Sonya asked, as if stunned. Her meeting earlier with his mother and sister had left an extraordinary impression on her, though one not yet clear to herself. She heard the news of the break almost with horror.
“I have only you now,” he added. “Let’s go together … I’ve come to you. We’re cursed together, so let’s go together!”
His eyes were flashing. “He’s crazy,” Sonya thought in her turn.
“Go where?” she asked in fear, and involuntarily stepped back.
“How do I know? I only know that it’s on the same path, I know it for certain – that’s all. One goal!”
She went on looking at him, understanding nothing. She understood only that he was terribly, infinitely unhappy.
“None of them will understand anything, if you start talking with them,” he continued, “but I understand. I need you, and so I’ve come to you.”
“I don’t understand…” Sonya whispered.
“You’ll understand later… Haven’t you done the same thing? You too, have stepped over… were able to step over. You laid hands on yourself, you destroyed a life… your own (it’s all the same!). You might have lived by the spirit and reason, but you’ll end up on the Haymarket… But you can’t endure it, and if you remain alone, you’ll lose your mind, like me. You’re nearly crazy already; so we must go together, on the same path! Let’s go!”
“Why? Why do you say that?” Sonya said, strangely and rebelliously stirred by his words.
“Why? Because it’s impossible to remain like this- that’s why! It’s necessary finally to reason seriously and directly, and not weep and cry like a child that God will not allow it! What if you are indeed taken to the hospital tomorrow? That woman is out of her mind and consumptive, she’ll die soon, and the children? Won’t Polechka be destroyed? Haven’t you seen children here on the street corners, sent out by their mothers to beg? I’ve learned where these mothers live, and in what circumstances. Children cannot remain children there. There a seven-year-old is depraved and a theif. But children are the image of Christ: ‘Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.’ He taught us to honor and love them, they are the future mankind…”
“But what, what can be done, then?” Sonya repeated, weeping hysterically and wringing her hands.
“What can be done? Smash what needs to be smashed, once and for all, and that’s it – and take the suffering upon ourselves! What? You don’t understand? You’ll understand later…” (p. 328,329)
I confess I don’t understand and hope that I will by the end of the book, but I am relieved that both of them have possibly found allies who aren’t so naive. She crossed the line to presumably help her family, but he, it’s still not clear. In another conversation he spoke of an article he’d written in law school about extraordinary people being justified in committing certain crimes. He also spoke of crimes being caused by ill-ordered societies. Perhaps he thought he was helping society by getting rid of a menace.
Yet he’s still paranoid about giving himself away. Again I am struck by everyone’s need to read between the lines to find out what people are really thinking. People are loathe to say things directly so far to and about Raskolnikov. He is too. I guess that provides the tension in the story.