Thursday, December 11, 2014

[A rant on] The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Has this book got me frustrated or what? I'm not saying that it's good or bad, all I'm saying is that it has me really confused and a little irritated.
Confused, because I know that there is a point in there somewhere (Monica's going to take a magical journey to the land of Sparknotes!), but I can't seem to figure it out. That's what has me irritated.
For a good portion of the book, I couldn't really figure out for myself what was going on under the surface. And sometimes I couldn't even figure out what was going on in the plot. I guess I have a basic enough understanding of the plot to have a vague idea of what the point of the story was, but this book still makes me feel like I'm the idiot for not understanding all the weird symbolism and motifs and stuff. Argh.
And there was the rather sudden ending, well, I guess it wasn't really that sudden or ambiguous. The dealio is, that Prince (who is a really sweet, kind man) has spend the whole book torn between two women. The adventurous and feisty Aglaya, and the tortured, guilt-ridden Nastasia (who feels that way because she was somebody's mistress, I think. Wouldn't swear to it). Prince Muishkin truly loves Aglaya, but his love for Nastasia is more of elevated pity.
By the climax of the story, Aglaya dumps him because she realizes that his epilepsy will have him sickly forever, so after some time he and Nastasia grow closer and become engaged.  However, on their wedding day, Nastasia runs away with another man who loves her, Rogojin, because she feels like a rough, mean man like Rogojin is the only kind of man she deserves. In a few days, a worried Muishkin locates Rogojin and makes the horrifying discovery that Rogojin has murdered Nastasia.  This, along with the realization that every good thing he tries to do just leads to more trouble, drive Muishkin to madness, and at the end of the book he can't recognize any of his friends, or even speak. Rogojin is shipped off to Siberia, and Aglaya gets married to some loser who lied about his big fortune.
The end.
And you know what, I had some issues with the ending of The Man Who Laughs, but that was sort of made up for by the ending line.

When Ursus recovered consciousness, he no longer saw Gwynplaine, and he beheld Homo near the edge, howling into the gloom as he gazed out at the sea.

I know, I know, it makes no sense in context, but I don't want to give away spoilers for a book that the post isn't about. Now, I find the last scene of the Idiot just plain anti-climatic.

So spoke the good old lady, almost angrily, as she took leave of Evgenie Pavlovich.

Um, no offence or anything book, but if I were you, I would have ended on a scene relevant to the main characters and themes of the novel. Eugh.

I guess no letter grade for this one, because I don't feel clever today. :P I guess I'll read it again someday, because it did have it's very strong moments where I really liked it. I feel like the execution could have been better, though.

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