As the action of the novel begins, Alyosha returns to his father's house and meets his brothers. He and Dmitri rapidly become good friends, but he feels puzzled by Ivan's reserve and intellectuality. As for his father, Alyosha openly loves him; he has never criticized or condemned his father's way of life. Alyosha has always been generous and forgiving, thus it was that Karamazov was not surprised when Alyosha first told him that he wanted to become a monk, the disciple of the renowned elder, Zossima. In those days, incidentally, an elder was often controversial. "An elder," it was said, "was one who took your soul, your will, into his soul and his will." But elder, by also setting exemplary models of holiness in their own lives, often attracted large numbers of followers. The Karamazovs are reunited, and the reason for their reunion deeply concerns Alyosha. The
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