The House of the Dead

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Part 2: Chapter 9 Summary

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After the major resigns, some changes take place in the prison. It is made into an entirely military institution, such that only military convicts are now sent there, but the old ones are kept on until their sentences are complete, including Aleksandr. In spite of some excitement and upheaval, not very much actually changes about the convicts’ daily life, except in terms of the surface organization of the prison.

Aleksandr trails off in his writing, despairing of being able to really describe what his life was like, even if he told the whole story. Many dreary years pass with everything seeming the same, and only a few years before his release does he begin to feel hopeful again.

One event that gives some people in the prison a temporary hope is the escape of the convicts A–v and Kulikov. These two men come up with a clever plan and trick one of the guards, a young man named Koller, into helping them. At first the escape is successful, and all the men in the prison feel a thrill of hope. But, after an intensive search, the escaped men are caught and brought back. The others now despise them.

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Part 2: Chapter 8 Summary

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Part 2: Chapter 10 Summary