Past Tense

2074 Words9 Pages
As Timon, a character in Disney’s The Lion King has said, “‘You got to put your past behind you,’” (The Lion King). These wise words spoken by an animated meerkat also ring true in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Dostoevsky’s novel follows the psychological battles of ex-student, Raskolnikov, as he struggles with an internal battle of ethics after murdering two women. The characters in this novel display exaggerated aspects of humanity, including regret and longing for redemption or “atonement or compensation for [their] faults” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). All characters have regrets in Dostoevsky’s novel, and most seek redemption. When people hold on to past faults, they forfeit their chance of redemption. Pulcheria Alexandrovna, by adhering to her first impressions, loses her chance of redemption. In the first glimpse of Pulcheria’s character, the reader discovers that first impressions stick with her and she very rarely changes her mind about them. When Pulcheria writes to Raskolnikov about Luzhin, a suitor to Raskolnikov’s sister Dunia, she describes his first impressions of generosity in marrying Dunia to far outweigh his “defects of character, for some habits and even certain differences of opinion,” (37). Her attachment to those first intentions reveals Pulcheria’s naivety, and by continuing to hold on to that first impression, she allows for her family to experience potential stress due to an unhappy and ill-planned marriage. With her sole concentration on first impressions, Pulcheria never gets a full picture of what Luzhin is really like and therefore cannot make an informed decision about his suitability for Dunia. Without breaking away from that first impression, Pulcheria is dooming her daughter to... ... middle of paper ... ...they cannot see the dangers that lie ahead of them. As the dim-witted but warm-hearted warthog Pumbaa says, “You got to put your behind in your past,” and keep your front facing the obstacles ahead and just let the places where you tripped remain distant memories. Works Cited Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2007. Print. Mecchi, Irene, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Wolverton. "The Lion King (1994) - Memorable Quotes." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 26 May 2010. . “Redeeming – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Ed. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 2010. Wed. 26 May 2010. , http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/redeeming>

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