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The Brothers Karamazov

Book VIII: Mitya, Chapters 1–8

Summary Book VIII: Mitya, Chapters 1–8

Ten minutes later, Dmitri visits Perkhotin, a local official who, earlier that day, had taken Dmitri’s pistols as collateral for a ten-ruble loan. To the official’s astonishment, Dmitri now displays a large amount of cash, repays the loan, and takes his pistols back. Perkhotin follows Dmitri to a store, where, to Perkhotin’s continuing puzzlement, Dmitri buys several hundred rubles’ worth of food and wine. Perkhotin quizzically wonders what is happening. He asks himself where Dmitri got such a large amount of money and why Dmitri is covered with blood.

Summary—Chapter 6: Here I Come!

Dmitri leaves Perkhotin and travels to the place where Grushenka and her lover, a Polish officer, are staying. Dmitri is in a frenzy, and raves to the coachman who drives him that he knows he will go to hell, but that, from the depths of hell, he will continue to love and praise God.

Summary—Chapter 7: The Former and Indisputable One

Dmitri’s arrival is awkward and his presence is unwanted by the lovers. But the scene has evidently been somewhat awkward between the lovers before his arrival, and the wine and food he brings help to lift everyone’s spirits. The young people play cards.

Summary—Chapter 8: Delirium

As Grushenka watches her Polish lover cheat at the games, and listens to the coarse and degrading things that he says, she realizes she does not love him. Instead, she loves Dmitri. When the officer insults her, Dmitri attacks him and locks him in another room. Dmitri and Grushenka begin to plan their future together. Through his joy at winning Grushenka, Dmitri is troubled by the thought of the wound he dealt Grigory and the fortune he owes Katerina.

Just then, a group of officers bursts into the room. They seize Dmitri and place him under arrest. Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov has been murdered, and Dmitri is the prime suspect.

Analysis—Book VIII: Mitya, Chapters 1–8

Dostoevsky uses a variety of literary techniques to suggest that Dmitri is responsible for his father’s murder. Before Dmitri appears with a large amount of money, the narrator continually makes statements implying that Dmitri will steal Fyodor Pavlovich’s 3,000 rubles: “Only three or four hours before a certain incident, of which I will speak below, Mitya did not have a kopeck, and pawned his dearest possession for ten roubles, whereas three hours later he suddenly had thousands in his hands . . . but I anticipate.” Dmitri’s inner monologue is similarly misleading, as when Dmitri thinks about going to Madame Khokhlakov’s and realizes “fully and now with mathematical clarity that this was his last hope, that if this should fall through, there was nothing left in the world but ‘to kill and rob someone for the three thousand, and that’s all. . . .’” Dostoevsky also uses a technique called ellipsis, skipping over a moment of action in order to play on our expectations: he implies Dmitri’s guilt by leaving out the crucial stretch of action in Chapter 5, in between Dmitri’s discovery of Grushenka’s whereabouts and his arrival at Perkhotin’s office. This strategy leads us to suspect that Dmitri has killed his father in that time. Finally, the events we do see suggest Dmitri’s guilt. Dmitri is desperate, impassioned, and antagonistic toward Grigory. The combination of these factors makes Dmitri seem eminently capable of committing murder.