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By setting the novel in St. Petersburg which was then the capitol of Russia, Dostoevsky is draws attention to the miserable social conditions that existed in Russia at the time the book was published. St. Petersburg is usually thought of as a beautiful city full of fabulous buildings and art. However, there was a much more impoverished side of the city that was rarely discussed. Almost all of the characters, including the protagonist, Raskolnikov, are poor. One of the most noble characters, Sonya, has had to become prostitute in order to help support her family. By involving the reader in this social environment, the author is able to call attention to problems associated with poverty and the consequences of those problems.
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