11.13.2007

DDDP - Day 13, pgs. 125-256

DDDP - Day 13, pgs. 125-256

No, I didn't read all those pages in one day. 19.6 pages/day isn't a great average but, as we keep telling ourselves, it's not a competition.

The book has gotten MUCH more interesting now that Part 1 is over. Part 2 immediately thrusts us into the plotting and scheming of the two sons, Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin and Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky. Uneasy alliances seem to be the order of the day, with vague mentions of a "society" that's out to kill those who've left it and undisguised tension between supposed comrades. That people are being used, and using one another, is clear. Precisely to what ends we do not yet know, though the assumption is some sort of radical political upheaval. I'm interested to see how a supposedly socialist overthrow is going to be led by an upperclass serfmaster if it happens at all. Stavrogin's allegiances are merely hinted at thus far, or spoken about in a vague past tense, so it could go in several directions.

An excellent scene, I thought, between Shatov and Stavrogin with a heartbreaking portrayal of Shatov as a man who feels betrayed by his idol and mentor and yet cannot break from his devotion. It managed to be both expository and a character illustration, which is something of an accomplishment.

The main thing I'm curious about is whether and how the entirety of Part 1 will turn out to be necessary to the story. My assumption is that our future understanding of what's happening will turn on our detailed education in the fine complexities of our characters' social structure.