Crime and Punishment

The Use of Setting in Crime and Punishment 10th Grade

Setting traditionally provides a base for a writer to create a storyline and the characters that populate it. In Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky paints the picture of a dirty, polluted city filled with drunks and prostitutes. This setting he paints for us not only helps the reader understand better where everything is taking place, but also allows us to create connections between characters and the spaces in which they live. This meticulous detail, although at some times seeming ridiculous and pointless, is necessary for the creation of the intense psychological drama. Many characters in this book are very similar to the homes in which they live, and these settings profoundly affect the personalities of these individuals.

For example, Dostoevsky writes, “It was terribly hot out, and moreover it was close, crowded; lime, scaffolding, bricks, dust everywhere, and that special summer stench known so well to every Petersburger who cannot afford to rent a summer house -- all at once these things unpleasantly shook the young man’s already overwrought nerves” (Page 4). The vivid imagery in the description of the city has, as the author stated, an effect on our main character. The heat acts as an irritant, but also as a segue...

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