“The Brothers Karamazov” Student Reviews 2009

The following reviews by COHS students are on “The ” by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Pages: 776
Reviewer: Michael T.

The book begins with Alyosha dedicating his life to religion and the highly respected monk Zosima who he will study under. Alyosha is the youngest of three brothers and a very benevolent character.. The oldest is Dmitri the middle is Ivan. Ivan is a very logical character and he struggles with morality throughout the story, not being able to accept the evil in the world and the idea of a benevolent good at the same time, though he wishes he could and flips back and fourth between the ideas many times. Dimitri is a very sensual and impulsive person, but through the progression of the book he begins to regret his past ways, especially the many love triangles he was involved in: him, Ivan and Katerina and him his father and Grushenka. The ladder of these two affairs leads to the climax of the book when he is wrongly accused of patricide. This is also the tipping point for Ivan, when he is confronted by Smerdyakov he is told that it was actually him who committed the murder, using Ivan’s own logic to justify it. This leaves Ivan in a state of confusion. Dmitri is found guilty, and sentenced to 20 years hard labor in Siberia, something the finally confirms him to the man he was trying to become.

The Brother Karamazov was a truly inspirational and thought provoking book. It posed many questions that I have already been struggling with. Things such as: do good and evil exist, and how do you define them? What is morality? Does god exist and if he does is he malevolent of benevolent? Not only was the content good, but the presentation was nothing less than respectable, the extreme character development and vastly deep and dynamic characters made items of everyday life seem philosophically deep as it offered new insight into them from three completely different perspectives. Though it was a little hard to follow at times the plot never dragged and it most certainly makes my list of top ten books.

1. The author of The Brothers Karamazov wrote the novel in order to show the classic struggles and burdens that man is encumbered by throughout his life; good versus evil.
2. The theme of this novel is the classic struggle between good and evil and the complications that ideas like freewill and religion can impose on this struggle.
3. This central theme is developed by several very dynamic characters, at the center of which are the three brothers. The story is told through the eyes Alexei Fyodrorvich, or Alyosha as he is called, though he is not the narrator. He is a man of very pure and kind hearted ideals, while his brothers, Dimitri and Ivan, are more sensual and logical respectively. And through the trials that these brother go through the theme is presented.
4. The main issue the book raises is that of morality and religious faith, a question of logic versus reason. This is to push the question of what these thing mean to a persons life, is it better to be logical or faithful? The book clearly sides with faith.

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About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
This entry was posted in Classic Fiction, Faith-Based/Religious Element, Fiction, Over 375 pages. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “The Brothers Karamazov” Student Reviews 2009

  1. Ms. Waddle says:

    I once started this novel and really liked it–but I was pregnant when I was reading–and once the baby was born, I didn’t finish. Thanks for tackling this great novel that engages life’s tough questions. You’ve reminded me that I want to read this–and so I will, this summer.

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