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The Strange Points of View of Dostoevsky’s The Bro

thers Karamazov Brothers Karamazov EssaysThe Strange Points of View of Brothers Karamazov
The novel, The Brothers Karamazov written by Fyodor Dostoevsky was first published in 1880. This book is unique because it is effectivly written in a combination of third person omniscient and first person point of view. The author seems to be a character in the book but also seems to know all.
Parts of The Brothers Karamazov is in the third person omniscient point of view. Third person omniscient is when the author is all knowing. This is shown when the author is able to read the thoughts of all of the main characters. A good example of this is when Mitya, one of the main characters, is observing two Polish men that he just met. Mityas thoughts are displayed when he decides that “it was the little pipe-smoking Pole who was in charge” (pg. 507). This shows what is going through Mityas mind when he meets the Poles and is a good example of the third person omniscient point of view.
The author also knows what is going on in other towns while he seems to always be at the monastery in the main town in the book. This is shown when Mitya goes to the village of Sukhoi in order to see a man about a business deal. Mitya gets a priest to go with him and the priest “suggested they go on foot, for, he assured Mitya, it was only a miles walk…” (pg. 452). This is information that could only be known to someone who was at Sukhoi at that time while the character of the author was still at the monastery that is in another town. This also shows third person point of view.
The author seems to also know what is going on in the privacy of peoples homes. This is shown on page 483 when Mitya is at his friend Perkhotins house and they are the only two people there and yet the author is able to describe exactly what is going on. He explains how “the washing operations began” when he had no way of actually knowing. This adds to the third person point of view.
The third person omniscient point of view aspect of the book makes it so that the story keeps going even though the author is not there. The thoughts and the actions of the characters are always known so that the story is more complete and therefore more effective.
First person point of view is when the author is a character in the story and uses words such as I, me, and our. This aspect of the story gives it a more realistic side because it seems as if the author actually is experiencing what is going on. It is also if someone is writing in a journal in some places.
The author uses “I” a lot in this book. One of these occasions is when he is talking about Ivan, Mityas brother, and his illness. He states that “Although I am not a doctor, I feel that at this point I must give the reader at least some idea” (pg. 763). The use of “I” is one of the easiest ways to tell that the book is in first person point of view and it makes the story feel more realistic.
Another example of the use of first person happens in the courtroom at the murder trial. The author talks as if he were really at the trial and states that “These I took down verbatim” (pg. 797), when he is talking about the speeches made. He also talks about the town as “our” town.
One reason that Dostoevskys use of first person is so effective is that he wrote about his own life. A lot of things that happen in this book also happened in his life. The father in this book is characterized as a very cruel man and Dostoevskys own father was the same way. They also both ended up being killed by servants. One of the servants suffered from the “falling sickness” while the author himself had epilepsy and attacks in both men are brought on by stress. Also, one character was sentenced to serve hard time in a prison in Siberia and thought that it would change him as a person. Dostoevsky once spent hard time in Siberia and it did change him as a person. These may be some of the reasons why the story seemed real.
The unique point of view used in The Brothers Karamazov is very effective. The parts that are in third person give the reader a full view of the parts of the story that they wouldnt get from just a first person point of view, and the first person makes the story seem very realistic because it seems like the author actually experienced all of the things that are happening. These two points of view together make this a very effective book.
Bibliography
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

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