Why you should read “Crime and Punishment”


Dea Veshaj, Reporter

Are you interested in changing your perspective? Reading one of the first psychological thrillers, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, can help you with that. Dostoevesky makes people question their self-perception and perception of justice.  Crime and Punishment follows an impoverished student, Rodion Raskolnikov battle with his inner conscious after murdering a pawnbroker and her sister.

Rodion Raskolnikov was a law student who was forced to drop out due to his lack of funds for his education. His mother and sister help financially support him in St. Petersburg. As he desperately needs funds, he starts taking matters into his own hands. He murders a nasty pawnbroker and justifies it for the sake of the common good. Afterward, he is mentally overwhelmed by his actions and tries to explain them to himself. He seems to be in the clear for his crimes, but Porfiry Petrovich is in charge of investigating the murder and suspects Raskolnikov. Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov’s alienation and self-hatred bring him further into madness.

Crime and Punishment is ridden with Dostoevsky’s heavily detailed writing style, which brings the reader into the mind of Raskolnikov during his mental turmoil. His diverse cast of characters brings the perspective of Russian society during the 19th century to the forefront of our mindsets. The complex characters Razumikhin, Raskolnikov’s friend; Semyon Marmeladov, an alcoholic; Dunya, Raskolnikov’s headstrong sister; Katerina Marmeladov, the neurotic wife of Marmeladov; and Sonya, the religious prostitute; bring the story to life.  Full disclosure: Reading this story is a titan to address and took me a month or two, but it is doable, and the story is engaging enough to pick right back up after a few days’ break.

Crime and Punishment critiques the western ideas emerging from the 19th century of utilitarianism, marxism, and the scientific method. It ultimately is still necessary to read because it forces the audience to rethink their own perspectives.