Using his fiction as a weapon of ideological discourse, Dostoevsky challenges the ideologies of his time, mainly nihilism and rational egoism. Liza believes she can survive and rise up through the ranks of her brothel as a means of achieving her dreams of functioning successfully in society.
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However, as the Underground Man points out in his rant, such dreams are based on a utopian trust of not only the societal systems in place but also humanity's ability to avoid corruption and irrationality in general. The points made in Part 1 about the Underground Man's pleasure in being rude and refusing to seek medical help are his examples of how idealised rationality is inherently flawed for not accounting for the darker and more irrational side of humanity.
The Underground Man argues that underlying the gilded understanding of society is what he tells Liza will end up leading her down a calamitous path and ultimately destroy her. Where the Underground Man places himself in this messy view of society is rather complicated.
He is very open about his irrational and spiteful interaction with the world, but he also admits that he understands the pleasure in "a doll to play with" or "a cup of tea with sugar in it" these being symbols of a non-corrupted society. The shame displayed here is what separates him from rational egoists and utopian dreamers, but the desire that he sometimes feels to buy into such ideals leaves him on the fringe of society or what can be understood as what drove him underground.
The unreliable narrator is used in the entire story. Although the novel is written in first-person narrative, the "I" is never really discovered. The novel's style is also linked to the St. Petersburg Tales in which there is an unreliable narrator. The writing style is very dense and at times difficult to understand. The sentence structure can at times seem "multi-layered"; the subject and the verb are often at the very beginning of the sentence before the object goes into the depths of the narrator's thoughts. The narrator repeats many of his concepts.
When the narrator says that he is "underground", he speaks metaphorically; he is not actually underground. Rather, in chapter 11, he refers back to his inferiority to everyone around him and describes listening to people like "listening through a crack under the floor". The word underground actually comes from a bad translation into English. A better translation is a space under the floor that is not big enough for a human, but where rodents and bugs live. According to Russian folklore it is also a place where evil spirits live. The Stone Wall is one of the symbols in the novel and represents all the barriers of the laws of nature that stand against man and his freedom.
In the s, Russia was beginning to absorb the ideas and culture of Western Europe at an accelerated pace, nurturing an unstable local climate. There was especially a growth in revolutionary activity accompanying a general restructuring of tsardom where liberal reforms, enacted by an unwieldy autocracy, only induced a greater sense of tension in both politics and civil society. Many of Russia's intellectuals were engaged in a debate with the Westernizers on one hand, and the Slavophiles on the other, concerned with favoring importation of Western reforms or promoting pan-Slavic traditions to address Russia's particular social reality.
Even though in , Tsar Alexander emancipated the serfs, Russia was still very much a post-medieval, traditional peasant society. However, when Notes From Underground was written, there was an intellectual ferment on discussions regarding religious philosophy and various 'enlightened' utopian ideas. Most importantly, the legacy that the work leaves is a challenge to and a method of understanding the larger implications of a utopian society.
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The point the Underground Man makes is that the people will ultimately always rebel against a collectively perceived idea of paradise; individuals dreaming of a utopian image such as The Crystal Palace will always conflict because of the underlying irrationality of humanity. The challenge of an enlightened society laid the groundwork for later writing.
The work thus earned the title of "probably the most important single source of the modern dystopia".
The seminal influence of the work has seen a wide impact on subsequent various works in the fields of philosophy, literature, and film, with Friedrich Nietzsche 's writings, Franz Kafka's novella The Metamorphosis , and Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver deriving inspiration from Dostoevsky's novella. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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For other uses, see Notes from Underground disambiguation. Existentialism From Dostoevsky to Sartre. Naturally, utilitarians assumed that we can know the standard against which expediency can be measured: Share your thoughts with other customers.
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