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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.

18 Responses to “Let’s ban Crime and Punishment in our High Schools”

  1. Romany Redman says:

    I’m a bit late jumping on the band wagon. Sorry, folks.

    The two arguments that everyone presented are both compelling.
    Melody also brings up an important point: “In that case, wouldn’t Crime and Punishment pose greater risks for college students than adolescents?” And Margaret reiterates the question of age with the neurosci talk.
    It seems this debate is less about Dostoevsky and his book than it is about the capabilities of highschoolers. Are they competent “enough”? Is there a developmental line that can be drawn?
    I’m inclined to agree with Juan’s statement: “this is a text that is not read, but that reads you instead.”
    After reading a few short blog posts (and a hunking big Russian novel) I’m left thinking not only of Raskolnikov, Razumikhin, and axes but of development of human thought and the power of ideas.
    Should that power be regulated? By whom? CAN that power be regulated? Call in the Thought Police? Or act in the interests of “national security”? Would our responses be entirely different if we lived in NH (live free and die)? Is literature like C&P the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Is ignorance bliss? Are highschoolers really meant to be blissful?

  2. Margaret Fulford says:

    One mistake adults tend to make is to underestimate the youth in their society. While neuroscience does tell us that brain development is incomplete in high school, it also tells us that we aren’t fully neurologically developed until we are in our twenties. If we were to ban Crime and Punishment in high schools under the premise that the children are too impressionable and lack the critical thinking skills to analyze the actions of Dostoevsky’s characters, then it would also be hypocritical to teach this book in Middlebury’s undergraduate curriculum. I am sure that we all recognize this as a preposterous idea, because we are obviously capable of dealing with the themes presented in the novel.
    Trying to “hide” the themes of sexual activity and violence from anything but the youngest children (8 and younger, give or take a couple years) is an exercise in futility and one of the more ridiculous habits of Americans as a culture. It is important — indeed, it is our responsibility — to acknowledge the reality of these themes in every day life and to teach proper critical thinking and analysis skills in school. Crime and Punishment serves as valuable topic of discussing, rather than a radicalizing or poisonous piece of literature filled with “dangerous” ideas. The way it is taught and the teachers who introduce it to students should be chosen with the respect the novel deserves, but to ban it would simply make students want to read it more — and then they would read it without the analysis offered by an academic environment, and probably only discuss it surreptitiously among themselves. This could easily lead to improper conclusions and a true reason to be afraid of the novel’s effect on children — self-fulfilling prophecy!

  3. Laura Howard says:

    I would like to add that these views are my own: I am in agreement with task of the assignment.
    For those who view Crime and Punishment as offensive, I would like to say: you are right. It is offensive. A book about a madman who kills two women with an axe is offensive. The murder by Roskolnikov, the book’s protagonist, is similar to a violent act that one might see in an “R” rated movie. There are guidelines in place, however, to attempt to keep under-17 children from viewing an R-rated movie. Books such as Crime and Punishment do not have ratings. Perhaps there is a reason for this.

    Colleges expect that a high schooler entering college will have some background with books, as is evidenced by Southern Methodist University’s question on its application regarding an applicant’s favorite literary character. How would a college admissions officer view a student who said that this favorite character is Roskolnikov?

    What about Hamlet? Hamlet is also often taught in high schools. Hamlet, like Roskolnikov, is a crazy man. Hamlet, like Crime and Punishment, treats the subjects of murder, suicide, male and female relationships, and mental illness. Yes, there will always be subjects that a young mind possesses neither the maturity nor the life experience to fully understand. Even adults, however, encounter readings that they may not understand until many years later.
    The truth is, there is a time when “easily influenced” adolescents need to gain a stronger understanding of the different ills of society . This time is in high school. As students reach the age of 18, they start to become more like adults. They may have to handle their own personal issues. They may have to handle the issues of a parent, sibling, friend, or family member. Reading books such as Crime and Punishment prepares young adults for the chaos of the world. A person , even a young person, cannot and should not be protected from offensive material forever.

  4. Melody Wang says:

    It is a mistake to assume that easily influenced adolescents are immature, ignorant, and egotistical readers who are more susceptible to commit crime or to be more easily influenced by literary works that contain graphic/violent/disturbing scenes than anyone else. In addition, it is false to assume that upon the readers’ identification with characters with vices, the readers would automatically execute or imitate the behaviors and mindsets of these literary characters. It is also false to assume that impressionable adolescents are the only readers who will imitate the reasoning or behaviors of their literary heroes.
    In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky emphasizes the limitation and unreliability of those who advocates a deterministic argument through his frequent demonstrations that all explanations could be approached from the opposite angles. In that case, wouldn’t Crime and Punishment be the perfect novel to impressionable adolescent readers, with characters like Dunya, Sonya, Razumikins, all of whom are independent, caring, resourceful, magnanimous, humble and etc.
    Dostoevsky associates Raskolnikov’s crime with contemporary and radical theories: a crime who is likely to be conducted by “a man of the new generation.” We, as liberal arts college students are implicated in the sense that: when Raskolnikov overhears a student promoting the same ideals (Extraordinary Man Theory) as those he himself is contemplating. It is important to see that these ideals are put forth by students, specially speaking, a 23 year-old college student, because it is in higher educational institutions that radicals like Raskolnikov can find their support and followers. In that case, wouldn’t Crime and Punishment pose greater risks for college students than adolescents?

  5. Kelsey says:

    There are a million different ways to read a novel. One of those ways as an immature reader, not worldly-wise enough to catch all the references, understand even half of the meanings. A high-school reader would gain much more than they would be “harmed” psychologically by reading Crime and Punishment. The writing is excellent even in translation, peopled with 3 dimensional characters who also represent whole schools of thought. The story investigates the mind of a despicable murderer, a subject normally not approached with a ten foot pole. To get inside the head of someone who in every society would be ostracized for his crime, and make the reader examine his motivation, thought, reactions, and redemption is not a journey normally explored. Dostoevsky even turns the tables on the reader and makes it semi-possible to empathize with Roskolnikov. The trials Roskolnikov goes through seems more likely to discourage any impressionable high-schoolers from attempting violent acts than to encourage, while he legally gets away with the murder, he suffers physically, spiritually, and psychologically from his crime.
    Even the depraved people and acts illustrated in the novel are not things that should be kept from highschoolers; these students do not need to be protected from the realities of the world. In addition, younger readers might not pick up what a yellow card means, or why it would be so awful for Dunya for marry Luzhin. If a high school English teacher doesn’t want to explain these details, they don’t necessarily have to. But to skim over these details is to ignore important parts of the novel, and important facts of life.
    Dostoevsky did not write this book with an eye towards creating suitable role models for impressionable young people. It was written as a psychological, spiritual, and moral investigation for readers to grapple with individually and critically. Perfect characters are always boring, but imperfect characters are fascinating, and have the most to teach, especially to susceptible high schoolers.

  6. Juan Machado says:

    Which question is central to adolescence?
    What do you do when there’s nowhere to turn to?

    Which question is central to this novel?
    What do you do when there’s nowhere to turn to?

    Adolescence is the process of finding answers for impossible questions. It is a liminal and lonely state where one is neither here nor there. One’s identity is being molded. Thus, I can think of no better novel to teach in high school than Crime and Punishment, which chronicles the mishap of a potentially schizophrenic, indecisive murderer.

    No really, this is a text that is not read, but that reads you instead. It raises the issues of responsibility, sacrifice, individuality, and resolution in the same way that a typically “adolescent work” like, say, Catcher in the Rye, does. Except it’s actually well written and a masterpiece of world literature.

  7. Flora Weeks says:

    Yes, the plot of Crime and Punishment is centered on a double-murder that is described in detail. Yes, Raskolnikov, the murderer, is the only character who could be classified as a protagonist of this novel. But this, along with other violent or racy aspects of the novel, is not nearly enough to make it inappropriate for high school students. First of all, nearly all high school students have been exposed to all of these concepts in some manner. Secondly, the novel in no way advocates for any of the illegal actions described therein. In the way Raskolnikov suffers from the moment he commits his transgression, Dostoevsky clearly makes his point, that murder is an awful act, and should not be committed. Raskolnikov does not explicitly say that he regrets his action, but it is implied that he would be more content with himself if he had never gotten it in his head to kill the old woman. He clearly only committed this act because he had been unhappy in his impoverished, unemployed state, but killing the old woman doesn’t help. He is instead left worse off, because he feels terrible for having killed Lizaveta, and can no longer maintain a normal relationship with his relatives or friends, because he is constantly aware of the murder, and is tormented by the idea of them finding out.

    This is a view of murder that is rarely if ever portrayed. You may argue that that is the way it should be, and that murderers should never be protagonists, but it is interesting to see the other side of the story. And given that this is not a portrayal that in any way encourages the act of murder, there is no reason not to show this unique view to high school students. Dostoevsky is brilliant in his psychoanalysis of Raskolnikov, and there is no reason to keep his brilliance out of high schools.

  8. Anna Mackey says:

    Oh wow so a bunch more posts went up while I was writing mine so I guess post number 10 should start on the defense (or post number 11 it will be now…)

  9. Vanda Gaidamovic says:

    You come from an affluent, respectful environment, you probably went to a prestigious, competitive high school, attended classes with a bunch of academically curious and ambitious, career oriented peers and teachers who masterfully and passionately sparked the intellectual debates among you. Of course, for you, Dostoevsky and his Crime and Punishment, the work of a brilliant philosophically-theological essence, filled with moving psychological overtones and emotionally engaging dilemmas, is one of the most precious pieces of the world literature.. Well, this is not the world I come from. I was born and raised in a tiny, backward provincial town in Eastern Europe, where every brick of a 5-storey concrete apartment building reminds me of a post-Soviet neglect and human apathy. As an adolescent I went to a ‘very good’ high school in the capital. Due to its proximity to the central train station, however, kids from various nearby villages and other middle-of-nowheres went to this particular school. This partially explains why, even there, any traces of intellectual initiative and independent thinking were completely absent. Plagiarism, ‘copy-pasting’, disrespect toward each other and the faculty members were trivial problems no one really took action against, unless an occasional ‘F’ is an action. Well, let me tell you, in my literature classes, 5 individuals out of 35 read books, and 3 actually thought about them and spoke out in class. Others would curse because of the length of the novel, uselessness of literature in general, call Dostoevsky some nasty swearword, some would complain on lack of time to read, because, you know, ‘errands on a farm’, or ‘driving lessons’… In the world I come from, Crime and Punishment is not dangerous or in any way ‘inspiring’ for my peers. I think it is a waste of Dostoevsky’s genius and his timeless ideas to keep the novel in a public high school’s required reading program.

  10. Anna Mackey says:

    Like the other critics have stated, Crime and Punishment communicates adult themes much too dangerous for high school students, while also providing a narrative devoid of suitable role models. Even Sonya, who is supposed to be the moral center and guiding force for Raskolnikov’s redemption, does not provide a positive example not just because she is a prostitute, but because she accepts being a prostitute. The most dangerously illustrated concept, besides that of the Extraordinary Man, which has already been introduced, is Raskolnikov’s concept that the ends justify the means. He shows no remorse for his actions, and is only tortured by this murder because of the physical and mental (but not moral) anguish it caused him. Even after his confession, which could have been his redemptive moment, Raskolnikov still refers to his victim as a “louse” and insists the murder was not a sin, but a “blunder that could have happened to anyone” (543).

    The problem with Crime and Punishment is that even if the students are able to look beyond the initial horrors and grasp the underlying philosophies, they remain dangerous ones. For example, the juxtaposition of Svidrigailov’s suicide and Raskolnikov’s confession if analyzed at a deep level introduces an idea that would be very hazardous to emotionally unstable-prone teenagers. As a villain in the story, his suicide introduces the concept that Svidrigailov recognizes his faults, understands his depravity to be detrimental to society, and decides to remove himself from it before he can cause anymore harm. This accompanied by Raskolnikov’s statement in the epilogue that his own choice of confession over suicide was a result of weakness glorifies suicide as a noble decision, and plays on the common human insecurity concerning one’s actual value to society.

  11. Ben Kingstone says:

    By the few responses, it is clear that not many people want to take the plunge in support of this argument. I would also prefer to write about the possibilities and usefulness of the novel.

    Let me say, however, that Dostoevsky intended for his Crime and Punishment to be shocking. Raskolnikov never regrets murdering Alyona Ivanovna. Even after faith begins to rehabilitate him, he continues to justify his first murder.

    This behaviour remains relevant today. Just turn on the television and you will see a series of shows that champion justified murder. Take for example shows like Power Rangers or movies like Spy Kids that are designed for kids. Even adults appreciate it when the bad guy is shot in a cool and inventive way (like with the blunt end of an axe). This isn’t a recent phenomenon. Remember the violence and retribution in Beverly Hills Cop and the Rush Hour series? to name of few of my favourites. Movies like the The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogan feature average, angsty characters who use cool gadgets to become Superheroes. They demonstrate to audiences that with a little courage and a homemade weapon, you too can wreck the city, capture the bad guy, become famous, and still have a raging party. Consequences are not even on the radar. These shows and films justify misconduct and murder when it takes a moral stance. Killing is killing no matter how much integrity you have.

    Raskolnikov’s story is no different. It is, mostly, a simple mystery story. But it takes nuanced ideas–of justified murder and the Superman idea, for example– to the extreme, providing an equally unsuitable example for young people. Students who are psychologically stable even struggle with the manner Raskolnikov justifies his murder; this novel should not be available to the young as well as the mentally weak. Nobody wants his son or daughter to become a Raskolnikov, or any other character in this work.

  12. Alexandra Siega says:

    Beyond the fact that Crime and Punishment, as both Bry and Sarah have pointed out, expose the young reader to a variety of sinful characters and actions, I believe that the concept of the extraordinary man is the single most corrupting and dangerous idea that an adolescent would come across in the novel. Yes, the work has suicide, prostitution, alcoholism, and murder, but these actions are meaningless without fully understanding the nature of the adult mind, which only comes with maturity.

    Raskolnikov’s argument for the extraordinary man, however, relates directly to the struggles that most all adolescents face: the need to define themselves positively in society. The period of adolescence is fraught with low self-esteem coupled with a variety of social, emotional, and physical changes that constantly test all that he is comfortable with. Many teenagers choose to deal with the stress of their situation by rebelling against all who hold them back from making their decisions. Raskolnikov’s idea of the extraordinary man essentially justifies this rebellion. The common man, according to Raskolnikov, “must live in obedience.” (259) To the rebellious youth, there is no less appealing option; therefore, each young reader would side with Raskolnikov’s extraordinary man. And, of course every young person wants to believe that he is extraordinary, worthy of recognition and praise in a time of such rampant self-devaluation. Through Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky is fueling the unstable ego to dangerous heights.

    Though the desire to achieve greatness is not a wholly negative aspiration, in the context of Crime and Punishment, however, being extraordinary is much more precarious than the simple yearning to succeed. An extraordinary man does not need to think about his actions, especially the consequence of his actions for others. What could possibly be more dangerous that this for a rebellious youth who has not yet formulated his ideas about his place in the world? An easily influenced teenager, who strives to be great in the future, will run with Raskolnikov’s theory and begin to act only according to his desires, thinking that because he is destined for greatness he has free reign. If you put Crime and Punishment in the hands of young readers, there will be a generation of adolescents who push the necessary social and moral boundaries not to pursue a position that is productive to society as a whole, but to promote themselves in a way that, in benefiting only their personal situation, is likely to negatively impact our world today.

  13. Rouan Yao says:

    The reading of Crime and Punishment is detrimental to the proper development of young adults who are not yet accustomed to living in society because it sets the wrong moral impression for the young adults.
    The novel highlights a murderer as its main protagonist, but the detail in which Dostoyevsky describes his plight suggests a complexity to this character, and the rare acts of kindness which Raskolnikov shows the Marmeladovs suggest that Raskolnikov has a compassionate side. This is dangerous, since perfectly kind-hearted, compassionate young adults may find way to relate to Raskolnikov’s character, and be more likely influenced by his actions in the book.
    In addition to the murderous aspects, Dostoyesvsky frames Raskolnikov’s trajectory in a positive light: the repeated symbolic mention of the story of Lazarus alludes to the fact that even a crime as heinous as murder can be written off by a simple “resurrection”. In the end, Raskolnikov is not only on his way to a Lazarus-like resurrection, he manages to find happiness in Sonya and we witness the beginnings of a happy life after prison. Because of this, Crime and Punishment sets an unrealistic expectation of consequences when crimes are committed.
    It is undeniable that there are some disturbing scenes from this novel. Even if there weren’t so many depictions of bad people in this novel, I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would encourage their young teenagers to read about the disturbing, gruesome scene in which the innocent mare was beaten to death by its master, and the young boy who could not do anything about it but cry and kiss the head of the beaten carcass.

  14. Brandt Silver-Korn says:

    It is imperative that those who read Crime and Punishment understand both the complexities of the protagonist and the meanings behind Dosteovsky’s psychological musings. Simply put, easily influenced adolescents have not developed the maturity – either in the sense of life experiences or in the sense of inherent capacity for understanding literary texts – to grasp the messages and themes Crime and Punishment has to offer. But even worse than a lack of understanding is the adolescent’s tendency to simplify plots and personally associate with the main character, which in the case of Crime and Punishment, could lead to glorification of a murderer, and even personally justified acts of violence.

    In high school and in middle school, students are naturally inclined to share the grandiose sentiments that plague Raskolnikov. Not necessarily because they are educated and impoverished as in the sense of Raskolnikov, but because it is natural for adolescents to have a very self-centered worldview and to feel they “deserve” and that they are special. Their parents tell them they are unique and their limited worldview enables it. It is not until students reach the university level that they grasp the reality of their “specialness” Once separated from under the wing of their parents and thrust into the real world, students either find that their beliefs are substantiated (the rare case) or that they are in fact, just as “deserving” or “less-deserving” of special exemptions in society than any other individual. If an individual is in fact that rare “more deserving” type, it is likely that they understand the complexities Crime and Punishment offers and would not be influenced to commit crime and act on the feelings of superiority the way Raskolnikov does, even if they persist in feeling slighted by society. However, it is quite possible that the adolescents who believe they are extraordinary will be inclined to hail Raskolnikov as a hero, as he embodies their fragile emotions. Especially if they are outcasts, as many adolescents are (or at least feel they are), Raskolnikov is very identifiable. Rather than turn (or in addition to turning) to drugs and alcohol to solidify their superiority, teens could take the “Raskolnikov” route, and commit violent acts.

    Furthermore, adolescents are likely not to appreciate the “Punishment,” but rather focus only on the greatness of the “Crime.” This is typical of adolescents in their everyday lives as most teens merely focus on immediate gratification without forethought to the consequences. It is likely that adolescents will not believe they would ever be affected by Porfiry’s mind games and subsequently confess. They will see Raskolnikov’s mistakes, and believe they can do better. They will see his psychological torture, and believe it cannot happen to them. They will see him sleeping all the time – and they will relate. Lastly, Dostoevsky’s positive ending furthers the likelihood that teens will be positively influence by Raskolnikov’s actions. If in the end he feels a positive sense of relief and freedom, and finds love and (arguably) happiness, what message does this ultimately send to the simple-minded reader?

    In the era after Columbine (an event in which students were influenced by texts written by those who held similar grandiose beliefs as Raskolnikov) inherently immature students do not need a literary “hero” who murders, provided to them by their teachers.

  15. Emily de Koning says:

    Like Sarah, I would like to clarify first that the statements written below do not reflect my personal opinion on the topic discussed.

    Young adolescents should not be exposed to the level of graphic violence portrayed in this novel. This novel is filled with scenes of great violence and cruelty. One of the most vivid examples of violence that comes to mind is the beating to death of the old mare, a scene that appears very early on in the novel. The cruelty the men show towards the poor animal is heart wrenching “’On the muzzle, on the eyes, lash here on the eyes!’” the poor creature is not just killed but brutally tortured in the most horrific manner. This vivid portrayal of animal cruelty might confuse a young reader into thinking that it is socially acceptable for an owner to abuse his animals since none of the adults present in the scene tried to stop the beating. The murders themselves are also incredibly graphic “The blow landed directly on the skull, with the sharp edge, and immediately split the whole upper part of the forehead” a young mind should not be exposed to such disturbing depictions of violence that could greatly upset and frighten them.

  16. Katherine Burdine says:

    Crime and Punishment puts forth a number of ideas that might be detrimental to the impressionable young. The first part of the novel showcases Raskolnikov’s theory of the Extraordinary Man. He believes that extraordinary people are free from the constraints that govern the rest of humanity. This point of view is one that weakens the social fabric, as people declare themselves extraordinary and exempt from the rules. Adolescents should perhaps not be encouraged to embrace this point of view.

    Later in the novel, Raskolnikov realizes that he is not an extraordinary man, but despite his heinous crime he is offered redemption and forgiveness through Sonya’s love which represents divine love. This overtly religious, almost preachy, message might offend students who do not come from a Judeo-Christian tradition. Also the fact that the criminal is not damned absolutely, but offered redemption makes his crime seem less wrong.

    Furthermore, Raskolnikov arguably never truly shows remorse for his crime. In the Epilogue, when he throws himself at Sonya’s feet, seeking her love and forgiveness, it is not of his own volition; rather “it was as if something lifted him and flung him down at her feet” (549). The murder was entirely of Raskolnikov’s own volition, but his plea for forgiveness requires an outside agent to make him do it. One might wonder how deep his repentance and love for Sonya runs.

    In general, the novel is full of questionable characters; the protagonist is a murderer and the christ-figure (Sonya) is a prostitute. Even Razumikhin, one of the most unequivocally positive characters in the novel, spends a lot of time drunk.

    A final reason why Crime and Punishment might be unsuited for adolescents is its generally disturbing tone and subject matter. The narrator takes you into the twisted mind of a man whose sanity is questionable, and the driving power of Dostoevsky’s prose puts you right into the bloody action. I always come out of Crime and Punishment disoriented and faintly nauseous, and perhaps a book of such immediate, twisted power is not suited for a young audience.

  17. Bryanna Kleber says:

    The literary works of Dostoyevsky, in particular, his novel Crime and Punishment should be removed from all high school course curriculums. The plot of this novel presents subjects that should not be presented by high school aged young adults. At such a vulnerable age, children in high school absorb things that they hear and see because they are in the prime stages of character-building and development. It has become a concern that high schoolers will read Crime and Punishment and not only be presented with harmful ideas, but also be given a false sense of consequential actions.

    Crime and Punishment is morbid, psychological, and morally corrupt. The main character, a Russian man who cannot provide for himself, pre-mediates the murder of an older woman. He justifies the murder saying that other people wanted her dead as well. But, not only does he just kill the old woman, but he murders her younger, innocent sister too. The way this murder is presented is in such a way that condones if it would benefit other people as well. In addition, the murderer is able to get away with the murder, and would never be caught if he did not turn himself in.

    Characters in this novel are depressed, impoverished, and mentally unstable. The most popular ways of dealing with unfortunate circumstances are alcoholism and/or suicide. A man who is poor and has to make his daughter become a prostitute is an alcoholic and eventually dies. Another man who has been accused of killing his wife and rapes a young girl kills himself when he realizes he cannot have the woman he wants. It is dangerous for these to be presented as coping mechanisms. It is not unheard of for a depressed teenager to pick up an idea from something they have seen, like murder or suicide, and think of it as the only way to solve his/her problem.

    Lastly, an idea of an extraordinary man becomes a common theme throughout the novel. The extraordinary man is separate from the rest of society, which in itself is dangerous. This extraordinary person does not abide by societal laws and thinks of himself above the rest of the society. Thus, the extraordinary man believes he can do whatever he wants without consequences, which makes being immoral okay. This does not reflect reality accurately. High schoolers who don’t have many friends, are separate from society, may think that he/she is an extraordinary man and pursue actions that he/she thinks will not have repercussions.

  18. Sarah Bellingham says:

    Before writing this, I would like to state that none of the following reflects my personal views, but rather is a reflection of compliance with the guidelines of the aforementioned assignment.

    Crime and Punishment should undoubtedly be banned in all academic spheres below the university level. Placed in the hands of impressionable adolescents who are still in the process of forming their worldviews and personal identities, this novel could wreck utter havoc. Dostoyevsky’s offensive work glorifies characters that are poor role models for our youth. For example, Raskolnikov, the protagonist, is an axe murderer. Before and after his murder, Dostoyevsky justifies Raskolnikov’s killing of Alyona Ivanovna. He depicts her to be somehow less of a human being and less deserving of her life and earned wealth. This might give children the idea that they, too, can make judgments such as these, justifying murder and theft in their minds and carrying it out. It could raise the amount of violent acts in and around schools. Sonya, too, is an example of a character that is venerated despite her actions. As a glorified prostitute, she is teaching our upcoming generations that sexual activity with strangers is an acceptable pastime (or worse, profession!). Simply the mention of her sexual life in this novel is highly inappropriate for school-aged children and adolescents. Keeping Crime and Punishment in schools encourages underage sex (Sonya is a youthful character) and probably is partially responsible for America’s too-high teenage birth rates. As we can see, Dostoyevsky’s novel is in no way appropriate for children and adolescents. They will certainly only take out of the novel what they want to take out of it, and miss the underlying ideas of redemption and retribution.

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