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Crime and Punishment (Cliffs Notes)
by James L. Roberts
Excellent Preparation For Understanding Roskolnikov's Crime
This epic tells the story of Raskolnikov, a student who believes he is
superior and entitled. He commits a crime and the book traces his
downfall. After being shipped off to Siberia for a prison sentence,
Raskolnikov finds suffering to be a means by which the soul is purified of
all its sins.
Personal Review: Crime and Punishment (Cliffs Notes) by
James L. Roberts
"Crime and Punishment" for a high school or college not enamored with
Russian literature can be intimidating. This Cliffs Notes volume helps clear
up the seemingly muddy waters.
While not all Cliffs Notes are worth buying, in this case, it can enhance and
encourage the reading process. They explain the many characters in two
The first is not unlike what introduces many playbills. For example, for
Sonia, it says "Sofya's nickname." Maybe that it is common in Russia, but
it would have thrown me for a loop. For Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov,
it says, "A poverty-stricken student who conceives a theory of the
superman or extraordinary man as a justification or rationalization for his
The second guide explains in a page or two the context and major
concerns of only a few characters.
Because they have Russian names unfamiliar to most of us in the United
States, their little guide will be handy to keep open as you read the actual
The chapter synopsis is also useful for teachers who are overwhelmed
with responsibilities. I have used it for this reason with a private student. I
had not read the work and needed to be up to speed quickly. The synopsis
put the book in context, making expectation available to me as I read. This
helped me know what was worth focusing on in our all-to-brief look at this
Other sections explain motifs and arguments of Hegel and Nietzsche
regarding the superman ideas presented. Lacking is a section on biblical
references, which, for students without much biblical knowledge, will limit
their appreciation of the depth of "Crime and Punishment." Judith Gunn's
"Dostoyesky: Dreamer and Prophet" is a good follow-up for the student
looking to understand Dostoyesky religious perspective and Russian
I fully recommend "Cliffs Notes Crime and Punishment" by James L.
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