Dostoyevsky crafted Notes from Underground in a way that upon reading the first section, one is filled with confusion and many conflicting ideas. Yet as the second part of the story unravels, the confusion and conflict start to become clearer and it becomes apparent how the experiences of the Underground Man drove him to become such a secluded and borderline-insane individual in his writing during the first section. A resistance to the romantic ideas flourishing during the time of the novel is apparent throughout the story and once again the ideas that disprove many romantic ideals are later proved through the actions and experiences of the narrator.
After the immense confusion of reading the story for the first time and feeling that it was seemingly many disconnected ideas molded together, a second examination of my notes made me realize something astounding; not only do ideas from the first part connect to the second, but also ideas and opinions of the narrator in specific chapters of the first section are often matching the chapters in the second section. The realization of this truly made analyzing the story much easier and suddenly made it seem like the major confusion of the first section seem very logical after all.
[...] He goes on further to say: Pg. 113 To withhold his wages, for example, for as little as two or three days, was impossible. He'd make such a to-do that I wouldn't even know where to hide. But in those days I was so embittered against everyone that I resolved, who knows why or what for, to punish Apollon and not give him his wages for another two weeks. I had long been intending to do this, for two years or so—solely to prove to him that he dared not get so puffed up over me, and that if I wished I could always not give him his wages. [...]
[...] This brings up a related point of how the Underground Man feels about being ignored versus being recognized. He has immense trouble of discovering his true identity and place in society and feels as if he cannot become anything. This drives him to indulge in vivid dreams in which he is loved and admired by all, even for many months at a time, as he states in chapter two of Apropo. What's interesting though is how after these spells of intense dreaming and imagination, he awakes with a desire to embrace mankind and socialize with those few acquaintances which he does have. [...]
[...] This is a full rebuttal of the romantic argument that understanding everything would lead to humans reaching a higher potential and greater way of living, but it's obvious, through the account of the narrator, that man understanding everything will often lead him to be destructive and prove he is not mechanized. This story as whole, both the ideas in part one and the story within part two, provide an interesting and truly profound example that humans being able to understand everything and knowing what should happen next will not always lead to a sense of a ‘beautiful and lofty' life as ideals of romanticism follow. Bibliography Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. (1864) Notes from Underground. Trans. Jessie Coulson. [...]
[...] I'll tell you who does: fools and scoundrels do. I'll say it in the faces of all the elders, all these venerable elders! I'll say it in the whole world's face! I have the right to speak this way, because I myself will live to be sixty. I'll live to be seventy! I'll live to be eighty!” He feels the need to be different in any way that he can be, even if it's simply living longer than most people do during his time. [...]
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