Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 729

Raskolnikov recovers and sits on the couch, waving off Razumihin’s help. He takes his mother’s and sister’s hands and simply looks at both women without speaking for several minutes. His mother is distraught, for she sees something like insanity in his eyes. Finally he begs them to go home with Razumihin and he will see them again tomorrow; however, his mother refuses to leave.

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Raskolnikov starts to get agitated and Razumihin quickly offers to stay with his friend so the women will be free to leave. Now Raskolnikov demands that they all leave him alone, and his sister Dounia convinces her mother to leave the room, at least, to avoid upsetting her brother even further. Suddenly Raskolnikov commands them to stay, asking if they have seen Luzhin since their arrival.

They have not seen the man, though he knows they have arrived. When his mother mentions the meeting he had with Luzhin, Raskolnikov tells Dounia he promised to throw the man down the stairs and condemned him to hell. She waits attentively to see what her brother will say next, not as surprised as she might have been if Nastasya had not already told them about the meeting.

Raskolnikov tells his sister that he does not approve of the man or the marriage and insists that she break off the engagement at the first opportunity so they can all be rid of Luzhin. When the women try to calm him and make excuses that he is sick, Raskolnikov tells his sister harshly that he will not allow her to marry Luzhin for his sake; he will not accept her sacrifice. Dounia is offended and asks what right he has to demand such a thing but her mother interrupts and says they should cease and talk again in the morning.

Razumihin confirms that the two men argued and Dounia coaxes her mother to leave. Raskolnikov makes one last effort to make his point; he tells Dounia he will not have a sister who would do such a thing and says she must choose Luzhin or him before turning his face to the wall, exhausted. Dounia gives Razumihin a piercing look which startles him, but Pulcheria Alexandrovna refuses to leave her son. Razumihin tells her that even he and the doctor were forced to leave him alone that afternoon because he was too agitated by their presence.

Outside on the landing, Razumihin pleads his case for them to leave and go to their own lodging, accompanied by his vice-like gripping of their hands. While both women are grateful for this man’s past care for Raskolnikov, Dounia sees an odd light in his eyes which concerns her. Finally he persuades them to give in and return to their own lodgings. He will escort them while Nastasya watches the patient; then Razumihin will fetch the doctor who will stay near Raskolnikov. Both men will make timely reports to the women, as well.

As they walk, Razumihin speaks volubly of many things, including his admiration for Dounia and Zossimov’s belief that his patient may be suffering from some mental illness. He also speaks of his philosophy that it is better “to go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s,” a sentiment with which Dounia agrees. At the apartment, Razumihin repeats his belief that Luhzin is a scoundrel for securing lodgings for his fiancé and his mother in such an awful place. He goes on to call him a buffoon, a skinflint, and a fool; and though Razumihin and his friends are drunk, he claims they are on a path of truth, unlike Luzhin.

While Razumihin’s drunken infatuation with Dounia is ridiculous, she is a graceful and truly beautiful woman both inside and out. Her mother is just as lovely and has kept her beauty by retaining her strength and purity of heart. Zossimov comes to the lodgings to make his report: the patient is sleeping and has simply been overtaxed by his physical conditions. The doctor adds that his agitation is probably due to some mental stress or moral struggle.

Zossimov teases his friend about his infatuation for Dounia, and Razumihin asserts that the dissipated, lazy doctor might find a perfect companion in Raskolnikov’s landlady. Both men stay with the landlady to be near their patient that night. 

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