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The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Book X: Boys, Chapters 1–7

Book IX: The Preliminary Investigation, Chapters 1–9

Book X: Boys, Chapters 1–7, page 2

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Summary—Chapter 1: Kolya Krasotkin

It is the beginning of November—a dull, cold day just before the start of Dmitri’s trial. Kolya Krasotkin is a thirteen-year-old boy who was once a friend of Ilyusha. Kolya loves dogs and likes to train his dog, Perezvon, to do tricks. Kolya is two years older than Ilyusha, and has a somewhat blustery and impertinent nature. He appears to be conceited, but he is actually a loyal friend, and likes looking out for children younger than himself.

Summary—Chapter 2: Kids

At present, Kolya is watching two children while their mother, a tenant of his mother, is away. He is anxious, however, because he wants to go visit Ilyusha. Ilyusha has fallen ill and may be near death. Alyosha has convinced the other boys to visit him every day, but Kolya has yet to visit him once. He has not met Alyosha yet either.

Summary—Chapter 3: A Schoolboy

At last, a servant returns to the house, and Kolya hurries to Ilyusha’s house with Perezvon in tow.

Outside Ilyusha’s house, Kolya meets his friend Smurov, who is disappointed that he brought Perezvon. Smurov says that the other boys were hoping he would bring Zuchka, a dog that Ilyusha has apparently been desperate to see. Kolya contemptuously declares that he does not know where Zuchka is, and he asks Smurov to send Alyosha out to him before he goes in to see Ilyusha.

Summary—Chapter 4: Zuchka

Alyosha comes out to meet Kolya, impressing him immediately by speaking to him as an adult and not talking down to him. As they speak, Kolya is increasingly taken with Alyosha’s unself-conscious wisdom and his unaffected manner of speech. Kolya tells Alyosha about his history with Ilyusha. He says that when the other boys used to pick on Ilyusha, Kolya was impressed by the fact that Ilyusha always fought back bravely, even thought he was undersized. Kolya eventually decided to protect Ilyusha, and they became good friends. But Ilyusha sometimes resented Kolya’s influence over him and sometimes did things out of spite just to rebel against Kolya. Once, for instance, Ilyusha performed a cruel trick some of the boys had learned from Smerdyakov—feeding a dog a piece of bread with a pin hidden in it. Kolya, enraged, tried to punish Ilyusha. In the ensuing scuffle, Ilyusha stabbed Kolya with a knife, thus ending their friendship, though Kolya says he does not hold a grudge. The injured dog was named Zuchka, and no one seems to know whether it lived or died. Alyosha tells Kolya that Ilyusha believes his illness was caused by God’s wrath over his treatment of Zuchka.

Summary—Chapter 5: At Ilyusha’s Bedside

Alyosha and Kolya go inside, where Kolya impresses Ilyusha’s mother by bowing to her. The pale and bedridden Ilyusha is thrilled to see Kolya, but all the boys around the bed are disappointed that he was unable to bring Zuchka. Kolya mocks Ilyusha about Zuchka, asking how any dog could possibly have survived eating a pin for an appetizer. Then, he calls for Perezvon, and when Perezvon runs into the room, Ilyusha cries out that it is Zuchka. Kolya did find Zuchka, and then gave the dog a different name so that no one would spoil his surprise for Ilyusha.

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