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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Brothers Karamazov - 6: The Russian Monk

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Previously: Book I, Book II, Book III, Books IV & V


Today I spent some time cleaning out my closet, one of my favorite things to do on academic break.  Afterwards, I settled down to read another part of BK.  In all honesty, the chapter "From the Life of the Elder Zosima" did not look too promising.  Typically my expectations are low for stories in a story, and I was anxious to get back to Alyosha's story.  This was going to be a struggle to get through, I thought.

As Thorin might say . . . I have never been so wrong.

About halfway through, this "story in a story" actually moved me to tears.  And it struck me how timely it was, reading this part during this time of my life.  I always thought I should have read BK long ago, but it turns out this was the best timing.  "The Russian Monk" is a story about love, Godly love, and what a powerful force it is, and how profound, deep, painful, and beautiful it must be, to love your neighbor, and your enemies.
On…

The Brothers Karamazov - 4 & 5: Strains; Pro and Contra

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Previously: Book I, Book II, Book III


The carriage started and raced off.  All was vague in the traveler's soul, but he greedily looked around him at the fields, the hills, the trees, a flock of geese flying high above him in the clear sky.  Suddenly he felt so well.
What I got out of these two parts was not so much plot development but character development.  Through the eyes of Alyosha, we finally get to meet the enigmatic Karamazov brother, Ivan.  This in turn shows us their family's dysfunctional situation through his perspective, which by instinct is less disinterested than he might wish it to be.

It's odd, but by far Ivan is my favorite character.  He is somewhat coldhearted, frequently profane, and not without some of the violent emotional tendencies of the oldest brother, Dmitri.  Still it is his anti-heroic traits and heroic potential that make him the most interesting character.  His bitterness is paradoxically deep-rooted and superficial.  He can't conceal eit…

The Brothers Karamazov - 3: Sensualists

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*Page cuts will be added, should any posts in this series involve major spoilers.
Previously: Book I, Book II


In the previous installment, we saw the Karamazov family and friends bickering at Alyosha's home, the monastery.  Now we see the Karamazov family feuding in its natural habitat, and as what the father Fyodor and the son Dmitri call themselves, half-proudly: "sensualists."

Book III really gets inside these two Karamazovs' heads, where depravity reigns over whatever better side they may (or may not) have.  Dmitri is engaged to Katerina Ivanovna, but he is also part of a lust-triangle involving his father and a young woman named Grushenka.  We are also introduced to Smerdyakov, a young man who, according to rumor, is Fyodor's fourth son.  Alyosha, as usual, is caught in the middle and ends up being the one to suffer most.  He is grateful to return to the monastery as soon as he can.
Why had the elder sent him "into the world"?  Here was quiet, here was…

“It's no use going back to yesterday...”

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Just dropping by for a quick update! 

It's getting to be a difficult time of year, in an equally challenging year.  I hope to graduate in August, which means from now until then school remains fairly time-consuming. "Real life" issues have also been causing me a bit of stress.

However, because of all this stuff building up, I think I will be reading more often, and blogging, too.  In fact, I feel a little desperate for some good reads to get me through the next several weeks.  (Also, summer == books.)

Have you heard of Tolkien's Beowulf, which was just published last week?!  I am excited to get my hands on a copy.  Maybe it will spark my enthusiasm for the story (admittedly lukewarm).

Right now, I have The Brothers Karamazov looming overhead, but I've actually been reading A Study in Scarlet for my Sherlock Holmes challenge.  Of course, it should be a one-day read, but I am so slow a reader these days.

One more thing - I really enjoy following you all on the blogs a…