The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

by

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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The Brothers Karamazov: Part 3: Book 8, Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Grushenka calls for wine and says that she wants to get drunk. Dmitri recognizes the girls from his last spree. His spirits are high. Trifon Borisich is scurrying around, looking out constantly for Dmitri’s interests. Grushenka catches his hand and pulls Dmitri toward her. She says that she was frightened when he walked in that evening. She then asks if Dmitri was willing to give her up to the Pole. He says that he didn’t want to ruin her happiness. She tells him to go enjoy himself, and that she’ll soon call him back.
Both Grushenka and Dmitri want to lose themselves in drunkenness and revelry to forget about their misery. Grushenka, in this moment, seems to be developing a preference for Dmitri. This is likely based on her realization that she doesn’t like the Pole as much as she had convinced herself she did, and she actually gets along much better with Dmitri. She realizes that she’s a much different person now.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
Fifteen minutes later, Grushenka calls Dmitri back to her and asks how he knew she was in Mokroye. Dmitri starts to tell her everything that had happened the day before. She asks if he was really going to shoot himself.
Grushenka senses that Dmitri was going to kill himself out of the anguish of losing her. His confession intrigues her and appeals to her vanity.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
Grushenka then goes over to the sleeping Pyotr Fomich and kisses him tenderly. She praises his beauty. He opens his eyes and looks at her, asking where Maximov is. Grushenka asks Dmitri to go find Maximov, who, it turns out, is still with the chorus girls. Maximov then offers to show them the “well-bred society dances” that he learned when he was a boy. Pyotr Fomich wants to go watch, rejecting Grushenka’s offer to sit with him. They all go to watch Maximov, whose dancing is unremarkable and produces no admiration in anyone but Dmitri.
Pyotr shows no interest in Grushenka. He seems to be the only man in the novel whom she doesn’t impress with her looks and sex appeal. It’s possible that Dostoevsky was trying to present the character as homosexual or asexual. Dmitri admires Maximov’s dancing because it’s an expression of unmitigated joy and a reflection of Dmitri’s changing sentiments.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
After it is finished, Dmitri offers Maximov a cigar, but he takes a cigarette and some liqueur. He whispers to Dmitri to help him meet one of the dancers. Dmitri initially refuses, saying the girls come only to dance. He then agrees to arrange something.
Maximov wants to offer the girl money to sleep with him. He has no money, so he’d probably take more from Dmitri, who would be using Katerina Ivanovna’s money.
Themes
Morality and Modernization Theme Icon
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Dmitri’s head hurts. He walks out onto the veranda for some fresh air. He thinks that now would be a good time to shoot himself. He commits to scrounging up the three thousand roubles. He doesn’t want to lose Grushenka. On the veranda, he runs into Trifon Borisich, who seems irritable. Dmitri figures that it’s because he wants to go to bed. He assures the innkeeper that he’ll get to sleep soon. Dmitri goes into the room where the girls were dancing to find Grushenka, but she’s not there. Dmitri finds her behind the curtain in that room, weeping.
His headache returns, though this time, it could be the result of his excessive drinking. Dmitri doesn’t realize that Trifon Borisich has already been tipped off by the police about Dmitri being a murder suspect. Dmitri remains so fixated on the money, that, once again, he’s unaware of what else may be going on around him.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
Grushenka admits that she still loved her ex-fiancé. She tells Dmitri that she wants to confess something else: she now loves Dmitri. Dmitri gazes into her eyes, embraces her, and begins kissing her. She asks him to forgive her for tormenting him. Then she breaks away from him and says that she wants to get drunk and dance. Grushenka goes out through the curtain and Dmitri follows her, as though he’s already drunk. Dmitri goes and drinks another glass of wine, which is the one that puts him over the edge and makes him drunk. Suddenly, everything whirls around him, as though he’s in a state of delirium.
It's unclear if Grushenka really loves Dmitri or if she chooses him because she has run out of other options. Of course, she could have married Fyodor, but the old man is too foolish and ugly to be a suitable partner for her. She realizes, too, that her love for Pan Mussyalovich has disappeared, both because she sees that he was only after money and because they now bore each other. It’s also possible that her relationship with Dmitri is a mixture of love and other, more selfish motives.
Themes
Suffering Theme Icon
Grushenka watches the girls dance, and then goes to each one and either kisses them or makes the sign of the cross over them. Maximov runs up to her every other minute to kiss her hands “and each little finger.” He dances once more to an old song, and sings. Grushenka encourages Dmitri to give him a present, because he’s poor now. Grushenka babbles drunkenly, saying that she’ll join a convent and that, if she were God, she would forgive all people. She takes out a white cambric handkerchief and waves it while dancing. Maximov hops in front of her, singing, but Grushenka chases him away with her handkerchief. She tells Dmitri to summon the panie to watch her, but they won’t come.
This is the second time in the novel in which Grushenka makes the sign of the cross. Her actions reflect her tendency to waver between sensuality and a desire to seem devout. The white handkerchief shows up again (previously used by Dmitri to clean up Grigory’s blood). Grushenka is still eager to impress the Polish officer, which is why she asks for them to come see her. Grushenka’s rush of emotion and desire to forgive everyone reflects the feelings experienced by both Alexei and Zosima’s brother Markel.
Themes
Faith vs. Reason Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
Grushenka feels weak and asks Dmitri to take her. She pleads with him not to “touch” her yet, for she isn’t his yet. He assures her that he reveres her too much ever to do such a thing. She asks him to take her far away; she no longer wants to be at the inn. Dmitri presses her into his arms and agrees to do as she wishes. First, he tells her about the money he took from Katerina Ivanovna, but Grushenka offers that she can give him the money he owes. She tells Dmitri not to love Katerina anymore, otherwise she’ll “strangle her.” She then falls asleep for a moment.
Grushenka is asking Dmitri not to have sex with her just yet. The fact that she asks him this reveals her sense that he could rape her. Grushenka is strong but aware of her vulnerabilities, and of Dmitri’s drunkenness and lust. Part of the reason why she exploits men is because she is aware of how they can exploit her and make her suffer, and so she gains a sense of agency in turning the tables on them. However, she’s also a very jealous and possessive type.
Themes
Jealousy and Envy Theme Icon
Suffering Theme Icon
When Grushenka awakens, she sees that someone is looking at them. A voice calls out to Dmitri, who steps from behind the curtain. It’s the district police commissioner, Mikhail Makarich. He’s there with the deputy prosecutor and the deputy commissioner, Mavriky Mavrikich. Dmitri realizes that this is all about “the old man and his blood.” Mikhail Makarich calls Dmitri a “parricide and monster” and says that it’s “delirium” that Dmitri should be here, “with a disreputable wench.” The prosecutor tells Dmitri that he has been charged with the murder of his father, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov.
There are several scenes in the novel in which people hide behind curtains and then reveal themselves. This could be symbolic of how people’s true characters can remain hidden. It may also be a device that Dostoevsky borrows from Shakespeare and many other works. In Hamlet, for example, Polonius hides behind a curtain and is then killed by Hamlet for spying. The police commissioner is also spying on Grushenka and Dmitri.
Themes
Innocence and Guilt Theme Icon