Book Report On Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov

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CHARACTERIZATION The main characters of Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov are, as the title suggests, the members of the Karamazov "family," if it can indeed be called such. The only things that the members of this family share are a name and the "Karamazov curse," a legacy of base impulses and voluptuous lust. References to this tendency towards immorality are sprinkled heavily throughout the novel; phrases such as "a brazen brow and a Karamazov conscience," "voluptuary streak," and "Karamazovian baseness" abound. Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, the father of the brothers Karamazov, is the embodiment and the source of this immorality. In him Dostoevsky creates such perversity and depravity that one can feel no positive emotions for the man. His physical appearance--he is "flabby" with "small, suspicious eyes" and a "long, cavernous mouth with puffy lips, behind which could be glimpsed small fragments of black teeth"--accurately reflects his foul, disgusting character. He has no respect for himself; he enjoys playing the part of the shameless "buffoon" for attention, even though the attention he receives is negative. Because he has no respect for himself, he can have no respect for others, either. He has no respect for women, for example; he is a despicable "voluptuary," and he satisfies his lust at any cost. He drives his wife to madness by bringing "women of ill-repute" into their house right in front of her. Even more shockingly, he rapes a mentally retarded woman, who later dies giving birth to his illegitimate son, Smerdyakov, who grows up as his father's servant. Fyodor is even more blatantly disrespectful to his three legitimate children. After his wife's death, he abandons them, for they "would have been a hindrance to his debaucheries." He is never a true father to any of them. When his oldest son, Dmitry, becomes an adult, Fyodor is even so cruel as to deny Dmitry his inheritance and instead use the money to seduce Grushenka, with whom his son is in love. It is Alyosha, the youngest brother, that is most successful in escaping the curse of the Karamazovs. Miraculously, he is almost the complete opposite of his father; he is an easygoing "lover of mankind" whom everyone likes. When t... ... middle of paper ... ...ativity of the atmosphere. STYLE Dostoevsky's style is very realistic and straightforward. He almost never uses flowery or poetic language or figures of speech; his language is simple and spare, as if he tried to eliminate all that wasn't absolutely necessary. Similarly, he is unpretentious in his choice of words. He generally states things in the simplest terms possible. Contrastingly, however, his sentences are often fairly complex; despite their complexity, though, they are easy to understand and thus do not detract from his simplicity and straightforwardness. Because the book consists largely of dialogue, Dostoevsky changes his style frequently, for each of his characters has a unique style of speaking that complements his character. Dostoevsky writes Ivan's dialogue, for example, in a very verbose, complex style that reinforces Ivan's characterization as an intellectual. He writes Dmitry's dialogue in a very random, disjointed style that underscores Dmitry's tendency to allow his passion and his emotions to cloud his logic. Finally, he writes Alyosha's dialogue in a simple style very similar to his own, as Alyosha is himself simple and unpretentious.ÿýOï

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