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CliffsNotes on Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (Cliffsnotes Literature Guides) 1st Edition
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The Summary/Commentary section breaks the novel down by chapters and Roberts uses A-B-C notations to distinguish specific lines of analysis; I consider such signposting useful to students. As always, the best way to use these commentaries is to read them after the corresponding parts of the novel, rather than doing them all at once after (or before...) doing the reading. Roberts them explores the Extraordinary Man Theories of Hegel, Nietzsche and Raskolnikov in a short essay section students will certainly find provocative. The Character Review looks as Raskolnikov, Sonia, Svidrigailov, and Petrovitch while under Motifs he examines Confession, being "All Alone," the Square Yard of Space, Suffering and Fresh Air.
This is one of the better little yellow books with the black stripes, with its major strength being that Roberts provides his best analysis outside of the Summary/Commentary section. He also takes the time to develop his case on Structure, Characters and Motifs (not all of these books do). But above all, Roberts sets up the novel so that going into "Crime and Punishment" students are well prepared to deal with the major elements.
While not all Cliffs Notes are worth buying, in this case, it can enhance and encourage the reading process. They explain the many characters in two sections.
The first is not unlike what introduces many playbills. For example, for Sonia, it says "Sofya's nickname." Maybe that it is common in Russia, but it would have thrown me for a loop. For Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, it says, "A poverty-stricken student who conceives a theory of the superman or extraordinary man as a justification or rationalization for his crime."
The second guide explains in a page or two the context and major concerns of only a few characters.
Because they have Russian names unfamiliar to most of us in the United States, their little guide will be handy to keep open as you read the actual book.
The chapter synopsis is also useful for teachers who are overwhelmed with responsibilities. I have used it for this reason with a private student. I had not read the work and needed to be up to speed quickly. The synopsis put the book in context, making expectation available to me as I read. This helped me know what was worth focusing on in our all-to-brief look at this classic.
Other sections explain motifs and arguments of Hegel and Nietzsche regarding the superman ideas presented. Lacking is a section on biblical references, which, for students without much biblical knowledge, will limit their appreciation of the depth of "Crime and Punishment." Judith Gunn's "Dostoyesky: Dreamer and Prophet" is a good follow-up for the student looking to understand Dostoyesky religious perspective and Russian nationalism.
I fully recommend "Cliffs Notes Crime and Punishment" by James L. Roberts.
I recently re-read the book after 50 years out of college. Better than any novel I am also reading, despite its 100 word sentences. I then read the Cliff Notes and gained about 1,000% more insight into the story than simply having read the book itself. I would have missed a tremendous amount of concepts about the story if I had not read the Cliff Notes.
This is a "must do" with any classic story.
But while flipping through the back I saw some of the "review" questions and what-not. They were quite sad. I think that here they could improve quite a bit.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Crime and Punishment" had to have been the most boring book I have ever read. However, the Cliffs Notes were very interesting and extremely helpful. Read morePublished on November 30, 2005 by Andrew Olson
I had a good laugh when reading your reviews of a Cliffs Notes. I mean....oh, man....*laughs*. The book is great and I can't believe you even bothered to pick up an abreviated... Read morePublished on June 17, 2000 by Alexandra Stronginovich
If it were not for Mr. Friedman, we would never have read this book and would not be getting eight hours of sleep a night. Read morePublished on February 23, 2000 by Brian Sperry
I didn't like this book at all. I read it for english class. Whenever I picked it up, I fell asleep. It was so boring. Read morePublished on December 19, 1999