Okay, so I’ve finished crime and punishment. I didn’t put the book down feeling as stunned as I’ve felt before about some books. I keep thinking about it though, and Raskolnikov’s character has stayed with me and poked at my brain and made me think and see things from other people’s perspective… I never thought I could empathise with a murderer. I don’t think I’ve never read anything as adept at manipulating the reader’s emotions and thoughts. I’ve given it 5 stars in my catalogue though, right up there with Anna Karenin and The Tiger who came to Tea (what a classic).
I’ve made the mistake of reading an in depth analysis of the novel though, and you’ll be pleased (or disappointed) to know nothing’s changed – I still don’t like it when people try to tell me what the author meant/was thinking about when he/she wrote such and such. I still think that the deeper analysis and thoughts behind novels, art, music, whatever, should come naturally, as you reflect on it over the few days after you’ve experienced it. I hated it when it was forced on me in English lit at school; it pretty much ruined Macbeth for me. I didn’t care what the underlying meaning was in such beautiful prose, all I wanted to do was enjoy it uninterrupted by teacher “explaining” it to us. But I guess…:
“We don’t know what Shakespeare meant. Or what he wanted us to learn. Or if any of the Cool Shit that modern scholars find in his work is in there because the historically-extant Shakespeare deliberately put it in. But that doesn’t mean the Cool Shit isn’t there (the other mistake students commonly make).”