Crime and punishment. explain what conditions the author is criticizing and how he expresses this criticism.
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The Marmeladovs’ suffering constitutes a major subplot of the novel. Their trials and troubles are interesting in their own right, as Katerina, Marmeladov, and Sonya struggle to make ends meet and overcome daunting circumstances. Their poverty also allows Dostoevsky to include striking examples of the damaging effects of urban deprivation on quality of life. The Marmeladov subplot also intersects with the main plot at various points and illustrates aspects of Raskolnikov’s character. One such point occurs at the end of Chapter II: Raskolnikov’s gift of money to the Marmeladovs seems to reflect the awakening of his compassionate side. But his pride extinguishes this sentiment almost as soon as it is kindled, as he congratulates himself that “they would be in great straits tomorrow without that money of mine!” Instead of feeling pity for the family, he judges them coldly as cowards who profit willingly from Sonya’s degradation and then curses himself for having given them money, which he is certain that they will waste. This pattern of acting compassionately and then pushing away the objects of his compassion repeats itself throughout the novel as Raskolnikov struggles to reconcile his haughty disdain for others with his desire to rejoin society.