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Crime and Punishment

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 5, Chapter 1 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 825

The morning after the unpleasant meeting with Dounia and her mother, Luzhin is forced to admit what had seemed impossible only the day before. “The black snake of wounded vanity had been gnawing at his heart all night,” and now he looks in the mirror half expecting to have lost his looks. He has not, so far, and Luzhin is for a moment comforted by the thought that he will be able to attract another bride—perhaps an even better one.

Andrey Semyonovitch Lebeziatnikov, the young friend with whom he is staying, smirks as he watches Luzhin, and Luzhin once again regrets the impulsivity which caused him to tell Lebeziatnikov about the spoiled meeting last night. The rest of Luzhin’s morning is one unpleasantness after another: he has trouble with his case before the Senate, the remodeler of his new apartment is going to get a nearly redecorated apartment at Luzhin’s expense, and the upholsterer refused to return any money paid for the furniture which he no longer needs because he is not getting married.

Thinking of Dounia makes Luzhin regret that he had not spent any money on the things which are important to women. He had intended for them to be dependent upon him for everything, but he knows now that was a serious blunder. Luzhin arrives home even more agitated and angry than when he left, and he has forgotten about the funeral dinner Katerina Ivanovna is hosting for all the boarders in the building. Luzhin is expected to attend, as he is the most prestigious man living there, and he discovers that Raskolnikov is also expected.

Luzhin does not particularly like Lebeziatnikov; in fact, he is somewhat afraid of him. The younger man had been his ward at one time, but he has become a leading young progressive in the nihilism movement so popular in Petersburg. The omniscient circles which despise everyone and act so superior frighten Luzhin; his biggest fear is that he will be “shown up,” which is one of the things which kept him from moving to the city before now. To avoid this, he had determined to connect himself to the “younger generation through Lebeziatnikov, though he quickly discovered the man is a simpleton. Luzhin is not interested in the philosophy; he simply wants to figure out a way to be successful here.

Lebeziatnikov is one of the numerous dullards, “half-animate abortions, conceited, half-educated coxcombs who attach themselves to the idea most in fashion only to vulgarize it and who caricature every cause they serve.” Lebeziatnikov and Luzhin disdain each other but exist by exaggerated politeness on both sides. Today Luzhin is counting his money when his roommate arrives, and Lebeziatnikov is eager to share his progressive views on Luzhin’s loss of Dounia. Luzhin interrupts to ask about the funeral dinner. Lebeziatnikov does not plan to attend unless it is out of protest for the practice of memorial dinners.

Luzhin asks about the daughter, Sonia. Lebeziatnikov applauds her for using her asset to alleviate her suffering, but when Luzhin remarks that it was Lebeziatnikov who got her ousted from this building, the young man is outraged and talks in non-sensical circles about the new communities and progressive views he is so fond of promoting as Luzhin laughs at his ridiculousness. Finally Luzhin asks if Lebeziatnikov is on good enough terms with Sofia to ask her to talk with him privately for a moment.

Five minutes later, Lebeziatnikov brings Sonia to their apartment. She is, as always, modest and shy; Luzhin offers her a seat and then asks Lebeziatnikov quietly whether Raskolnikov has arrived yet....

(This entire section contains 825 words.)

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He has, so Luzhin asks Lebeziatnikov to remain with them during this short meeting so there can be no talk of impropriety by Raskolnikov.

First he asks Sonia to apologize to Katerina Ivanovna that he will not be able to attend the memorial dinner, and she agrees. Then he talks about the woman’s obvious illness and her poor handling of money, as evidenced by this lavish dinner with no thought to tomorrow’s needs. Luzhin knows the burden of this family will fall on Sonia and he may be willing to help, but he is not willing to allow Katerina Ivanovna to have control of any money. The conversation is quite confusing for Sonia and she finally bursts into tears. Before sending her back to the festivities, Luzhin gives her ten roubles but asks that she not mention it came from him; soon he will try to help in other ways.

Once Sonia is gone, Lebeziatnikov expresses his admiration for the sensitivity with which Luzhin handled the charity and despite yesterday’s devastating emotional losses. Lebeziatnikov drones on about the humiliations of legal marriages, but Luzhin is not really listening. He is preoccupied with other thoughts, rubbing his hands in some kind of excitement; eventually even Lebeziatnikov notices it and will later remember and reflect on what he saw.


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