d asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

It's in the homes of spiteful old widows that one finds such cleanliness. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime & Punishmen

can someone please help me understand what this means

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  • 1 decade ago
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    It means, "it is the homes of old widowed old women that are kept very clean since there are no spouses and no kids who throw things about the home." Old widows tend to keep clean because they are alone, no husband leaving a sock here, a cigarette's stub there, anything! Hence the house invariably remains quite clean.

    Context

    The observation comes from Raskolnikov (chapter one) when he meets the old woman.

    "It's in the houses of spiteful old widows that one finds such cleanliness," Raskolnikov thought again, and he stole a curious glance at the cotton curtain over the door leading into another tiny room, in which stood the old woman's bed and chest of drawers and into which he had never looked before. These two rooms made up the whole flat.

    Good luck.

    http://www.ebooks.com/ebooks/book_display.asp?IID=...

    http://www.bibliomania.com/0/0/235/1029/11113/1/fr...

    http://www.funtestiq.com/openinglines/openinglines...

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    That comes from Raskolnikov (chapter one) when he meets the old woman. It is ironic comment since he would soon kill the woman.

    This is the context:

    **

    The little room into which the young man walked, with yellow paper on the walls, geraniums and muslin curtains in the windows, was brightly lighted up at that moment by the setting sun.

    "So the sun will shine like this /then/ too!" flashed as it were by chance through Raskolnikov's mind, and with a rapid glance he scanned everything in the room, trying as far as possible to notice and remember its arrangement. But there was nothing special in the room. The furniture, all very old and of yellow wood, consisted of a sofa with a huge bent wooden back, an oval table in front of the sofa, a dressing-table with a looking-glass fixed on it between the windows, chairs along the walls and two or three half-penny prints in yellow frames, representing German damsels with birds in their hands--that was all. In the corner a light was burning before a small ikon. Everything was very clean; the floor and the furniture were brightly polished; everything shone.

    "Lizaveta's work," thought the young man. There was not a speck of dust to be seen in the whole flat.

    "It's in the houses of spiteful old widows that one finds such cleanliness," Raskolnikov thought again, and he stole a curious glance at the cotton curtain over the door leading into another tiny room, in which stood the old woman's bed and chest of drawers and into which he had never looked before. These two rooms made up the whole flat.

  • 1 decade ago

    Widows obviously live alone and since this one is spiteful, no one wants to be around her with such a mean attitude. Thus, the widow has a lot of time to clean her house and yard. Dostoevsky is telling the reader that her life is miserable and not much hope for becoming better unless she decides to change.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It means that they have nothing better to do than clean their homes and hate the world and all in it.

    Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

    Study Guides.

    Summary

    On a hot and sultry day in July, Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, a young student, slips past his landlady to whom he is heavily in debt, and roams aimlessly towards an old and despicable pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna.

    http://education.yahoo.com/homework_help/cliffsnot...

    http://www.bookrags.com/notes/cri/

    http://www.gradesaver.com/classicnotes/titles/crim...

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/crime/

    http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/LitNote/id-67....

    http://www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pm...

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  • 1 decade ago

    the room is spotless and clean yet their souls are not (at least according to Raskolnikov who is sullied both outside and in)...it is ironic because essentially, the sisters are "good" (even though the elder takes advantage of others' poverty and her innocent sister) so their living arrangements reflect their soul (i.e. clean and in order) whereas Raskolnikov lives in a sty which reflects his own soul (i.e. in shambles, confused, and "dirty")

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