I’m thinking about breaking the rules.
I’m seriously considering it.
What’s causing this temptation to cheat? The Russian names!
In the “How to Read a Novel” section of our guide-book, The Well-Educated Mind, SWB suggests that I keep a list of characters as I read. In the past, I have done this faithfully (okay, I did completely forget to for Gulliver’s Travels), but I am having a doozy of a time keeping a list for Crime and Punishment. The names! Oh, The NAMES!
And I was warned. SWB says, “Sometimes (especially in Russian works) characters have two (or more) names; your character list can help keep them straight.” I thought I was prepared. I was wrong.
I finished chapter four last night. In fifty-four pages I’ve met Raskolnikov, Rodya, and Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov. Hey, what do you know? It’s three names for the same person. Silly me for calling him Rask in my notes.
Okay, so Rask’s name game isn’t too difficult to play, but what about Sonia? Did you catch that her name is Sofya Semyonovna Marmeladov? Her nickname is Sonia? Because that’s so much shorter than Sofya (hear the sarcasm?) I confess that when I wrote down Pyotr Petrovitch (Dounia’s fiancé), I missed that his last name was Luzhin until the next chapter when I couldn’t figure out why Rask was so angry at Mr. Luzhin. Mr Luzhin? Who’s that? He wasn’t on my list. I had to backtrack until I found my omission.
Today I sneaked a peek at Sparknotes. I want their character list. No! I’m not linking up to it. If you’re going to cheat you’ll have to do it yourself.
I promise to tattle on myself if I do cave and print out that list.
Are you keeping everyone straight?