The House of the Dead

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2: Chapter 10 Summary

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By the time Aleksandr leaves the prison, he has made close friends whom he will miss. His last year in the prison is the easiest because he discovers some friends of his are living nearby and persuades them to intercede for him. So he has money and books and is able to write letters home. Reading books again is strange for him, because he realizes how much the world has gone on without him. Without books, he has entertained himself in other ways, and it feels strange to have access to other intellectuals’ ideas again.

Aleksandr is to be released in winter, so he observes with satisfaction the coming of the fall. He talks affectionately with those whom he will miss. On his last day, he takes a walk around the prison. Once more, and as frankly as he ever has, he reflects on the great loss that society has incurred by having these men imprisoned, as gifted and strong as they are. He says his farewell to the others, has his fetters knocked off by the smiths, and is free.

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Part 2: Chapter 9 Summary