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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 281

One feels that this inexhaustible fancy is weary at last and worn out with continual exercise, because one is growing into manhood, outgrowing one's old ideals: they are being shattered into fragments, into dust; if there is no other life one must build one up from the fragments. And meanwhile the soul longs and craves for something else!

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The narrator, who leads a very lonely life, describes himself as a dreamer, "a creature of an intermediate sort" who lives through his ideals and imagination. But as the above quote expresses, the narrator's dreams are becoming worn out and unsatisfying. He longs for a real life, such as the one Nastenka has.

"I love you so, because you haven't fallen in love with me."

Nastenka feels drawn to the lonely narrator, though she is in love with someone else. Her words are unconsciously ironic, as the narrator has, in fact, fallen in love with her. This is an example of dramatic irony, which is when the audience knows what characters in a story do not.

May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn't such a moment sufficient for the whole of one's life?

At the end of the story, Nastenka has reunited with her lover and is due to marry him. Though upset at losing her forever, the dreamer narrator still idealistically wishes her well and hopes he can live on dreams of their short time together. However, the question lingers: how long can he last before the dreams wear out?

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