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Tokovit Wit Essay

Now that it’s safe to share my essays since IB’s over (just in case they thought I plagiarized from this blog..aka *my own* blog yo’s! but there was an incident in a previous year with blogs so betta safe than sorry), here’s my WAWT on the Afterlife in Crime and Punishment. This took a lot of time way back in year one so if you think it sucks…awkward whatevz I thought it was the best of my ability at the time anywho


Diyyinah Jamora


English A1: Literature

Written Assessment: Works in Translation

May 2013

Crime and Punishment

The Presentation of the Afterlife through Dialogue and Indirect Characterization

            Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment follows the psychological downfall of a poor Russian student Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov who explores the concept of the afterlife after committing the crime of murder. Dostoyevsky lived in 19th Century Russia and was born into an Orthodox Christian family (McDuff xv). He believed that one’s eternal soul would experience the afterlife positively or negatively based on how one lived one’s life. His firm religious beliefs immensely influenced his writing. In the novel, Raskolnikov is unable to contain his guilt. He is plagued with panic attacks for having murdered the old woman, Alyona Ivanovna, and his frequent outbursts suggest a subconscious desire for redemption. Through dialogue and indirect characterization, Dostoyevsky proposes various ideas about the afterlife. The description of a ghost, eternal life, and conflicting thoughts on the existence of life after death illustrates the distorted perception of the afterlife. He presents the afterlife in a negative light and expresses a fear of dying.

Dostoyevsky portrays the ghostly apparition in a living human way, writing that Svidrigailov sees Marfa Petrovna walk in and out and even hears her speak trivial things to him. Svidrigailov says the ghost of Marfa Petrovna has visited him three times. The first time was “on the very day of her funeral, an hour after [they had] put her into the ground” (Dostoyevsky 342). He was tired, and there had “been the funeral service, with the prayers for the repose of her soul, followed by the litiya, [Russian Orthodox term for a short requiem mass,] and then the funeral meal” (343). The second occasion was on a train ride and the third while sitting alone in his apartment. He claims “she comes in, speaks for a moment, and then [always] walks out of the door” (342). The ghost of Marfa Petrona is described as doing the things she usually did, from reminding him to wind the clock and sitting with him to modeling a new green dress and asking him if suits her well. Her conversations with Svidrigailov are casual and she is dressed in clothing he had not seen before. It is as if she were not a memory but had only left temporarily and come back from a new place. Through indirect characterization, the ghost of Marfa Petrovna is not portrayed as someone who has passed away, but as someone who is still present and living.

The dialogue between Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov regarding Marfa Petrovna’s visitation implies that contact with ghosts is for the disturbed in mind. Dostoyevsky comments through Svidrigailov that ghosts are not a hallucination, but “that ghosts can only be perceived by people who are ill” (345). He reasons “the iller [a man] gets, the more numerous are his contacts with the other world, the result being that when he finally dies, he goes straight there” (345). Each time Marfa Petrovna visits Svidrigailov, Svidrigailov is awake and alone. Only Svidrigailov is able to see the apparition, and it is unlikely that anyone would believe his account without doubting his mental state, as Raskolnikov believes Svidrigailov to be a “madman” (345). Dostoyevsky’s doubt of the existence of ghosts is shown when Raskolnikov questions Svidrigailov’s claims. A healthy man is physically and mentally healthy, and should be able to make rational decisions. Svidrigrailov’s pedophile tendencies portray him as disturbed in the mind in the perspective of Raskolnikov and the reader. Svidrigailov does not seem to be mentally stable because he contradicts himself in his belief of ghosts. He said that he “perhaps [does] not” believe in ghosts (342), but this statement does not follow with his explanation of Marfa Petrovna’s apparent ghostly visits. Through these examples, Dostoyevsky suggests that ghosts can only be seen by the individuals that are ill. As such, ghosts can only be seen by those with an unstable state of mind.

Dostoyevsky’s description of the afterlife is eerie and gloomy, which intends to evoke a feeling of fear and discomfort. Svidrigailov tells Raskolnikov that eternity is “a country bath-house […] with soot on the walls and spiders in every corner” (345). Raskolnikov is horrified at this thought, shown by his “can you really, really not imagine anything more just and consoling than that?” outburst (345). The possibility scares him just as it is meant to provoke anxiousness the reader. Dostoyevsky expresses fear of what comes after dying through the character of Raskolnikov who says, “even if he had to live somewhere high up on a rock, and in such a tiny area that he could only just stand on it […] and had to stand there […] all his life, for a thousand years, eternity – that it would be better to live like that, than to die very soon!” (191). There is intense emotion in the statement and shocking that living on two feet of space for the rest of your life is more desirable than Svidrigailov’s eternal dark spider room as long as he could live. The thought “If only [one] could live, live and live! Never mind what that life was like! As long as [one] could live!” explicitly states that living is of utmost preferable over dying (191). Both conditions are described as equally discomforting, however, Dostoyevsky’s description places greater desirability upon the concept of living forever despite living condition, indicating a fear of dying. Svidrigailov’s thoughts on the afterlife that it is perhaps a small, dirty room infested with spiders align with his characterization. Svidrigailov is portrayed as a horrifyingly shameless, sinful man who does not live by Christian values. This view his character proposes opposes the traditional Christian belief of either reward or punishment after death. Rather than describing the afterlife as eternal peace in Heaven or torture in Hell as his religion dictates, Dostoyevsky describes an eternity to be feared: an eternity of boredom in a confined dark room with only the companionship of spiders, small creatures seen as pests by humans.

In the debate of the existence of an afterlife, Dostoyevsky writes conflicting statements. Raskolnikov does not directly disagree with Svidrigailov. He asks for a more comforting image of life after death, but then contradicts himself and goes on to tell Svidrigailov that he neither believes in ghosts nor an afterlife and advises him to consult a doctor. There is irony in Raskolnikov consulting Svidrigailov to see a doctor, given his deteriorating mental health. However, his claim of disbelief in an afterlife is not true. In a conversation with Razumikhin, Raskolnikov confides that he “still believes in the New Jerusalem” (310). In the Christian faith, the New Jerusalem is the new heaven and the new earth to come at the end of man’s existence (Revelation 21:1-3). Only God’s children will be with Him in the New Jerusalem for eternity (John 1:12). The New Jerusalem is also known as the Second Coming of Christ, which is why it is logical for Dostoyevsky to include the Biblical story of Lazarus in the novel. Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus and this story resonates strongly with Sonya and Raskolnikov. Through committing sinful acts, they die, and can rise up again once God accepts them and brings them to Heaven. They hope that God will acknowledge their sincere repentance and forgive them for their earthly sins. Raskolnikov’s attraction to the story of Lazarus reveals he wants to believe in the resurrection of the dead and his desire for an afterlife spent in Heaven. Despite his dismissals of the concept of an afterlife in dialogue between Raskolnikov and Svidrigailov, Dostoyevsky reveals an underlying desire for eternal salvation for the soul.

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky’s writing suggests a fear of dying and uncertainty about the existence of an afterlife, but shows a desire to believe there is a forgiving afterlife. He dismisses a belief in ghost as for the psychologically unwell through Raskolnikov, but argues for a purpose for their existence through Svidrigailov. He depicts fear of what comes after death through Svidrigailov’s dark room theory, but affirms of a strong belief in and desire to go to Heaven through reference to the Revelation and the story of Lazarus’ raising from the dead. Through dialogue and indirect characterization, Dostoyevsky presents his timorous ideas of the afterlife.

Word count: 1,366

Works Cited

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. Trans. David McDuff. London: Penguin Books,

2003. Print.

Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Works Consulted

Murfin, Ross, Supryia M. Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. 3rd ed.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.

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Posted in: School | Tagged: Afterlife, Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky, ib

Edward A. Tiryakian Papers, 1881-2011


Collection Overview

Biographical or Historical Note

Edward Ashod Tiryakian (1929- ) was born in Bronxville, New York, son of Keghinee Agathon Tiryakian and Ashod Haroutioun Tiryakian, a businessman. Educated in France and the United States, Edward Tiryakian graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University where he received a B.A. in sociology in 1952. In 1954 and 1956, respectively, he earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University, where his mentors included sociologists Talcott Parsons and Pitirim Sorokin.

From 1956 to 1962 Edward Tiryakian taught at Princeton University and from 1962 to 1965 at Harvard University. In 1965 he was appointed Associate Professor at Duke University. In 1967 he became Professor of Sociology, and from 1969 to 1972 he served as Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In 2004 Tiryakian retired as Professor Emeritus of Duke University. In subsequent years he continued to remain professionally active, and in 2008, he was the featured speaker for the Bruce Mayhew Memorial Lecture at the University of South Carolina.

During his tenure at Duke University, Edward Tiryakian helped internationalize the university. He served as Director of International Studies (1989 to 1991) and as Distinguished Leader of the Fulbright New Century Scholars Program (2002 to 2003). Tiryakian also developed extensive international connections through lecturing and participating in conferences and congresses in other countries, including Australia, China, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Lebanon. In visiting teaching appointments Tiryakian taught at Laval University, Queacute;bec (1978), the U. E. R. de Sciences Sociales at the Universiteacute; Reneacute; Descartes, Paris (1985), the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris (1992), and at the Free University of Berlin (1996). Additionally, he served as Associate Director of Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 6e Section, Universiteacute; de Paris (1971-1972) and taught as Adjunct Professor at Concordia University, Queacute;bec (1978). He also served on the editorial board of the journal of International Sociology. In 1987 Tiryakian received an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne, the Universiteacute; Reneacute; Descartes-Paris.

Active in professional organizations, Edward Tiryakian attained many leadership positions. He served as President of the American Society for the Study of Religion (1981 to 1984) and as Vice-President and President of the Association Internationale des Sociologues de Langue Franccedil;aise (respectively, 1985 to 1988 and 1988 to 1992). In addition, Tiryakian chaired the Theory section of the American Sociological Association (1975 and 1986), and the History of Sociology section of the American Sociological Association (2005 to 2006).

Edward Tiryakian has published in areas of theory, religion, globalization, national identity, disasters, and the history of sociology and social thought. His books include For Durkheim: Essays in Historical and Cultural Sociology, Rethinking Classical Sociology (Ashgate, 2009);  The Evaluation of Occupations in a Developing Country: The Philippines (Garland, 1990); and  Sociologism and Existentialism: Two Perspectives on the Individual and Society (Prentice-Hall, 1962, reprinted by Arno, 1979).

Edward Tiryakian also brought together the work of notable scholars in many influential essay collections. These include: "Robert K. Merton in Review Symposium,"  Contemporary Sociology (1991, editor);  New Nationalisms of the Developed West (Allen & Unwin, 1985, co-editor);  The Global Crisis: Sociological Analyses and Responses (E. J. Brill, 1984, editor);  On the Margin of the Visible: Sociology, the Esoteric and the Occult (Wiley Interscience, 1974, editor);  The Phenomenon of Sociology (Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971, editor);  Theoretical Sociology: Perspectives and Developments (Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970, co-editor); and  Sociological Theory, Values and Sociocultural Change: Essays in Honor of Pitirim A. Sorokin (Free Press of Glencoe, 1963, editor).

As listed on his Duke University Web site, Edward Tiryakian's published articles are numerous. "Modernity and the Second Return of Mechanical Solidarity" (2009) is a recent example. Selected articles represented in the Edward A. Tiryakian Papers include: Gurvitch et Parsons:  "Maitre et Maitre d'Ecole" (1990);  "Durkheim, Mathiez, and the French Revolution," (1988);  The Sociological Import of a Metaphor: Tracking the Source of Max Weber's "Iron Cage," (1981), P  "henomenology and Positivism," (1974), and  "Le Premier Message: Emile Durkheim" (1967).

Edward Tiryakian is married to Josefina Cintron, a research scholar, and has two sons, Edmund Carlos Agathon Tiryakian and Edwyn Ashod Tiryakian. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.


"An Interview with Edward Tiryakian,"  Words from Writers. International Sociology 21.3 (2006): 371-77. Web. 7 December 2009."Curriculum Vitae, Edward A Tiryakian," Sociology at Duke. Web. 24 July 2009."Edward A. Tiryakian,"  Contemporary Authors. Gale. Web. 13 July 2009."Edward A Tiryakian, Professor Emeritus,"  Sociology at Duke. Web. 21 July 2009."Tiryakian, Edward Ashod." Edited draft for  Who's Who in America, 63rd ed. 2009.The Edward A. Tiryakian Papers, 1881-2010 (Bulk 1952-2010), Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University. Box 1.16.Tiryakian, Edward A., "Have Sociological Passport, Will Travel," in  Sociologists in a Global Age. Ed. M. Deflem. Ashgate, 2007: 239-63. Web. 9 December 2009.

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Collection Overview

The Edward A. Tiryakian Papers measure 9.5 cubic feet and date from 1881 to 2011 (bulk 1952-2011). The collection selectively represents the career of sociologist Edward A. Tiryakian from graduate school at Harvard University in 1952 through his retirement as professor emeritus at Duke University in 2004, with a few additional items reflecting his activities in subsequent years. The papers document Edward Tiryakian's contribution to contemporary sociology through primary sources that include correspondence, lectures, syllabi, reports, photographs, notes, drafts, reprints, and unpublished writings.

The papers are particularly valuable for their correspondence. Consisting primarily of letters written to Edward Tiryakian, the letters illustrate the wide network of colleagues, friends, and students with whom Tiryakian interacted. Included are personal letters from the mythologist Joseph Campbell and sociologists Robert Merton, Talcott Parsons, David Riesman, and Piritim Sorokin.

The papers also contain many writings by Edward Tiryakian that reflect his interests in theory, religion, national identity, and sociological thought and history. These include syllabi, lectures, typescripts for published studies, and papers presented world-wide at conferences and invited lectures. Moreover, typescripts exchanged between scholars sometimes provide the occasion for Tiryakian and correspondents to develop alternative or confirming theoretical points in their letters.

Notably, the papers reveal Tiryakian's global perspective on sociological inquiry. Files show the international nature of Tiryakian's research through grant reports, conference papers, correspondence, and such reference files as those pertaining to Africa and the Philippines. Additional files document Tiryakian's involvement with the journal International Sociology and presidency of the Association Internationale des Sociologues de langue francaise.

Tiryakian's own retrospective annotations provide a personal perspective on selected files. In addition, the papers themselves offer a contextual glimpse of the many historical, cultural events affecting the field of sociology in the five decades the papers span. Letters, reports, a typescript, and news clippings evoke the Sorokin-Parsons issues of the 1950s, the actions of the Committee of Correspondence for Sorokin in 1963, campus unrest during the late 1960s, the re-organization of sociology at Harvard, major conferences of professional associations, the Bellah controversy at Princeton in 1973, sociology at Duke in the late 1970s, and, after the break-up of the Soviet Union, sociological research opportunities in Eastern Europe in the 1990s. Alert to social issues of his time, Edward Tiryakian also wrote several letters to members of Congress and the New York Times editor, as well as one to President Kennedy.

The collection does not include documents specifically related to Professor Tiryakian's professional career at Duke University. These papers may be found at the University Archives, Duke University, in the Edward A. Tiryakian Papers, 1963-2008.

As personal papers, the Edward A. Tiryakian Papers at Penn State offer a broad background of inquiry and relationship, a context valuable for understanding the significant contributions of a noted contemporary American sociologist.

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Collection Arrangement

The Edward A. Tiryakian Papers are arranged in five series: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Teaching, Professional Activities, and Works. These series indicate emphases rather than inclusiveness. Because the series are fluid some kinds of materials may be found in more than one series.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Student and some correspondent materials are restricted during the life of the creator. See Unit Head for more information.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Edward A. Tiryakian Papers (6521), Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

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Controlled Access Headings


Personal Name(s)

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