Posts Tagged ‘Unironic Titles’

h1

Things Can Only Get Better From Here

May 23, 2012

….PSYCH!

Or so I imagine our friend, Fyodor shouting in the face of his unsuspecting reader.  After taking the reader away from the sad unicorn, Dostoevsky shines a little ray of hope into the story in Raskolnikov’s letter from his mother.  Or rather…Dostevsky SEEMINGLY shines a little ray of hope into the story.

In my reading of the letter it seemed like good news…all Sonia’s engaged, we’re out of penury, hope she’s not a bridezilla (but then you know Sonia!).  Ahh…a soupcon of relief!  But this New Yorker cartoon from two years ago (which I just read–don’t judge me!) should have primed me for disappointment.  I mean with a title like that…(like Crime and Punishment–not cheery concepts either one).

For in the next chapter Raskolnikov turns his unblinking eye of despair on the seemingly joyous news and quickly disabuses the reader of any hope for even the tiniest scrap of happiness in the next four hundred odd pages.  Raskolnikov’s skill as a sadness radar (and magnet?) is matched only by his adherence to the New Criticism (anachronism alert!)…for he close reads the hell out that missive and un-earths the grimy, forlorn subtext that, in fact, Sonia’s betrothed cares nothing for her and she has saddled herself (knowingly!) into an unloving marriage all for Roskolnikov.

So… cheery that.  Was I slow on the uptake…did you pick up the clues that this letter was, in fact, bad news?   Or did you have to wait for the next chapter (or this blog post?!–oops.  *Spoiler Alert*) to find out as well.

With all this cheeriness I suppose it’s easy to see why instead of reading on I’ve been watching reruns of The Vicar of Dibley (no unexpected subtext there–just pastoral hilarity!).

Well I’m excited to see how this book will get sadder…I’ll keep you posted!

Jon

 

Advertisements