Notes from Underground

The Struggle to Achieve Dominance 12th Grade

Within the first few sentences of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, Dostoyevsky introduces the protagonist of the story, an unnamed man who narrates his life, as a bitter and emotionally distant man. These long-standing feelings and self-isolation are in part a result of the man’s rejection from society. However, his isolation comes largely as a result of misanthropic mindset and superiority complex. Throughout much of Dostoyevsky 19th century text, the man portrays himself as an intelligent man who rises above others. Combining a sense of superiority with a lack of reasonable self-analysis, the man develops himself in relationships as the dominant one. Through both his inner monologue and conversations he has with other characters, the man attempts to create dominance over the reader, his coworkers, and even his school day friends by formulating a majority of conversations around his esoteric ideas and values.

As the primary narrator, the man establishes an intimate relationship with the reader. By recognizing the reader’s involvement in the novel, the man establishes a preaching role as he begins to share his stories, anecdotes, and jokes with the audience. Throughout the beginning of section four, the man begins...

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