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In the very beginning you were asked to respond thoughtfully to several questions. What should you learn from a course in literature? Students and professors may and likely do have differing opinions on the content and form of a course on literature.  What are your expectations for this course? What are you hoping to learn? How and what does one learn from reading?

Re-examine your own and the responses of others, then comment on what YOU individually learned, how and what you wish You could learned more, Your evaluation of Your own efforts in the course on reading assignments, blog entries and projects.

If You had to teach the course next year, how would You proceed?

Tolstoi gets into everyone’s mind, even Laska’s-the dog. Yet each sees the world and events in a different light. Tolstoi sees the irony, hypocrisy, and superficiality of conventions-societal, religious, legal. He also employs a technique called “defamiliarization” in which a common occurrence is presented from a unique perspective so that we the readers can experience the old and familiar in a refreshingly new way.  What have you learned from Books 5 and 6?

Forgive and forget?

There is lots of forgiving going around, but also haymowing, death anxiety, moth killing divorce lawyers, kids running wild, and the contrast of one family dissolving while another gets ready to tie the knot. And what about Vronsky’s suicide attempt-Anna being pregnant-and so much more? Can anyone sum up this chaos in 250-300 words?

Tolstoi builds his novel on contrasts and comparisons, Anna and Kitty, Vronsky and Levin, Petersburg and Moscow and many more. By bringing his main characters into contact with one another he highlights them for us the reader. Choose one of the comparisons-contrasts and comment on who emerges in a more favorable light.


One member of each group should describe in 100 words or less the project, provide a link or access to the project, identify all contributors and if possible indicate the major contributions of each to the final project. The project description and link should be posted the evening before class.

“But here begins a new account,… It might make  the subject of a new story.” Write a 250 word proposal for this sequel suggesting a title and outlining the future of Raskolnikov. Be sure to make his final dream a central part of the action or serve as a central theme of your own creation.

The first eight respondents to the blog must provide a compelling argument as to the  offensive nature of the work and reasons it should not be placed in the hands of easily influenced adolescents. Beginning with blog post #9 mount a vigorous defense of the work.

Crime and Slime

The novel which begins with a simple murder turns into a melting pot of characters and sub-plots: Sonya and redemption, Dunya and female courage,  Porfiry and criminal investigation, Luzhin and exploitation, and even poor Raskolnikov and his search for meaning. So pick a plot and share your thoughts.


Contrast Raskolnikov’s theory of the Extraordinary Man with Sonya’s alternative.

Where does one begin? Is the novel a search for motive? What drives Raskolnikov? Is it simple arithmetic-kill the old lady and use the money for good?  How close is this to a perfect crime? How does the killing of Lizaveta complicate the moral issue? Does Raskolnikov care too much for others to be a real man of decisive action? What is the meaning of dreams in real life and in literature?   Answer any of mine or raise your own and answer it.

As an alternative to the despicable actions and words of the Underground man, Dostoevsky provides us with a prostitute whose actions speak louder than words. What is the answer to the Underground Man’s ranting and ravings? Is it important or even essential that the response resides in a woman, and that she is an innocent victim?

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