Crime and Punishment at 150 (2016)

Crime and Punishment : Reading the Moral Emotions Martinsen, Deborah A.


This paper will demonstrate how to teach Crime and Punishment by asking students to analyze Raskolnikov's moral emotions. After briefly establishing that Dostoevsky's intuitions about how emotions work correspond to contemporary research, it will demonstrate how Dostoevsky not only uses Raskolnikov as a case study of the dual affective and cognitive nature of emotion, but also how he exploits that duality to implicate readers in the novel's moral action. By using other characters to read or misread Raskolnikov's actions and words, Dostoevsky provides readers with models to follow or disregard. By asking students to track the interactions of Raskolnikov and Sonya, one of his best readers, we allow them to identify the gradual dismantling of Raskolnikov's emotional defenses and the opening of his heart.

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