Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blood on my hands


Mitya didn't have very long to enjoy his moment with Grushenko before the police, magistrate and other town officials arrived to interrogate him on the death of his father.  Dostoevsky backtracks a little to fill in some of the details before picking up with the action at the Mokroye inn.

Perkhotin starts to have second thoughts and goes to Madame Khokhlahov to see if she really gave Mitya 3000 rubles.  After getting the straight story he goes to investigate Mitya's father's house to find that all hell had broken lose and reports his findings to the police.  The policeman, the magistrate and the town clerk already know of the crime and Perkhotin's story of how a blood-soaked Mitya came to him with a wad of rainbow-colored notes in his pocket seems to pretty much seal the deal.  But, in true Dostoevskian fashion we hear from Mitya first, and what an admission it is.

He admits to almost everything except killing his father.  Honor and pride lead him to omit key details, which the interrogating officers insist would only help his case.  Mitya says he never took the 3000 rubles.  He had 1500 left over from that which Katerina had given him, throwing the blame on an epileptic Smerdyakov who was having a seizure at the time of the murder.  Of course, the prosecutor isn't buying it, having a score of witnesses who attest to him having gone through 3000 rubles the last time he was in Mokroye, but still somehow the money doesn't add up.

Dostoevsky leaves it at that, preferring to focus more on Mitya's state of mind than the particulars of the case.  It makes for very compelling reading as Mitya reveals much of himself in this long chapter.  His biggest worry is what will happen to Grushenko.  There are a couple of highly charged moments where the two are brought back together only to be torn apart again.  The prosecutor reassures Mitya that no charges are being brought against Grushenko, although many consider who ultimately to blame for the apparent patricide, as she was the one between them.

The reader is left dangling, as Dostoevsky takes up Alyosha in the following chapter, resurrecting the incident where Alyosha tried to intercede in a fight between kids.

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