HomeLiterature Study GuidesThe Brothers KaramazovPart 3 Book 8 Chapters 6 8 Summary

The Brothers Karamazov | Study Guide

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov | Part 3, Book 8, Chapters 6–8 : Mitya | Summary

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Summary

In Chapter 6, Dmitri's troika driver Andrei is galloping at full speed to Mokroye, and Dmitri rereads his suicide note, which says "I punish myself and my life." He plans to kill himself at dawn. He alternates between talking to Andrei and praying to God that he will have a few last hours with "the queen of my soul." When he gets to the inn at Mokroye, he learns Grushenka is with two Poles, and that Maximov and young Kalganov are also passing through. Dmitri asks the innkeeper to round up some entertainment and send in the food and drink when it arrives. Dmitri then enters a large room where everyone is socializing.

Dmitri reassures Grushenka that he does not intend to cause a scene (Chapter 7). Kalganov recognizes Dmitri and asks him to join them. The fat Pole, Grushenka's ex-lover, is about 40 and wears a wig on his balding head. The tall Pole is young and arrogant. After some desultory conversation in which veiled insults are exchanged between the Russian and Polish men, Maximov proposes a game of cards. At one point, Kalganov stops the game because the Poles are cheating. They pretend to be offended, and Dmitri takes the fat Pole aside and offers him money to disappear. He stalks off and tells Grushenka, accusing her of being a wanton woman. They get into an argument, and Grushenka says, "I was a fool ... to torment myself for five years." The young Pole calls Grushenka a "slut," and Dmitri forcibly removes him to the adjoining bedroom. The fat Pole follows, and the two lock themselves in.

In Chapter 8, the party begins, with feasting, drinking, and entertainment by the locals. Grushenka realizes that she loves Dmitri, saying, "Tonight a falcon walked in, and my heart sank inside me. 'You fool, this is the one you love,' my heart whispered to me at once." Dmitri is joyous, but he is troubled about Grigory and hopes he has not killed him. Grushenka and Dmitri get drunk and speak wild words to each other. Then the police arrive to charge Dmitri with the murder of old Karamazov.

Analysis

When the men begin arguing, Grushenka takes Dmitri's part, and she is pleased when he conquers her ex-fiancé. She has been holding onto an ideal for five years, and the ridiculous man whom she thought was a prince turns out to be the illusion of her adolescence. Further, he clearly does not love her but has come back simply to use her again. The failure of the reunion opens Grushenka's eyes to Dmitri and her feelings for him. They are well matched because both are wild, violent, passionate, and large-hearted. At one point, Grushenka tells Dmitri that they should work on the land, perhaps to tame their spirits.

Readers do not find out until Book 11 that Dmitri is innocent or that the money for the second spree was part of Katerina's original 3,000 rubles. One aspect of this novel is that it is a murder mystery, and the author provides clues (for example, Dmitri banging his chest where the money hangs from his neck) and leaves out crucial information (for example, narrating that Dmitri thinks of killing his father, but then breaking off the narration). This technique adds suspense to the story, but also demonstrates how the circumstantial evidence against Dmitri is damning. Further, by putting Dmitri in a guilty light, Dostoevsky demonstrates how often we misjudge people and unnecessarily think the worst of them. Finally, Dmitri's presumed guilt and revealed innocence make both the story and his conversion and redemption more dramatic.

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