Notes from Underground

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Notes from Underground Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The underground man says he is generally incapable of apologizing. When he was a child, he would sometimes cry and repent when he did something wrong, but would then realize this “was all lies, lies, revolting, made-up lies.” He says he would often get into trouble simply because he was bored, and says that boredom and inertia are the results of consciousness.
Unable to take action because of his hyper-consciousness, the underground man finds himself bored and because of this gets himself into trouble. Spitefully enjoying causing pain and annoyance, he is unable to feel true remorse.
Themes
Thought vs. Action Theme Icon
Spite, Pain, and Suffering Theme Icon
Men of action, the underground man says, are all active because they are stupid. They take action because they think they have found “a primary cause,” a reason for acting. By contrast, the underground man can think of multiple causes and does not settle for a simplistic reason for a particular action. He acts only out of spite. All he can do is “bash the wall even harder,” and babble, “deliberately talking in endless circles.”
The underground man elaborates on his theory of how thought actually prevents action. An intelligent man does not settle for simple explanations that could provide justifications for actions. Thus, all someone like the underground man has left is to act spitefully and talk endlessly.
Themes
Thought vs. Action Theme Icon
Spite, Pain, and Suffering Theme Icon