Exploring The Waste Land
A miscellaneous page linked from The Waste Land, Part V, line 366

LaPonna Irvine's synopsis of The Brothers Karamasov
Line 366

In his note to line 366 Eliot has directed us to Hermann Hesse's book Blick ins Chaos (In Sight of Chaos or A Glimspe of Chaos.) Eliot quotes from the last paragraph of Hesse's essay The Brothers Karamazov, or The Decline of Europe. In the essay Hesse wrote a few paragraphs each for a number of loosely connected thoughts about the future of Europe. He contrasted European culture with the culture of Asiatic Russia as examplified by the characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov.

For a very brief synopsis of The Brothers Karamasov I present an extract from a web page written by LaPonna Irvine.

May 2, 2000

Dostoevsky makes a general comment on worldviews in Brothers Karamasov by facing certain characters with specific consequences as well as depicting a transformation of characters. First, each of the three brothers is called to specific circumstances that forces them beyond their own worldview. For example, Alyosha is called by Father Zossima to go into the world even though Alyosha is clearly a man of the spiritual endeavors. Dmitri is convicted and punished for the murder of his father even though he did not commit the crime; however, he is willing to serve his punishment in order to pay for his past transgressions. This event subtly conveys that one who lives in the world will suffer but that there is still hope in the purging and repentance. This hope is symbolized in the novel by Dmitri's plans to go to the Americas and start over with Grueshenka. Contrastingly, their father, who held a worldview similar to Dmitri's, did not suffer or change, and he faced a brutal death, suggesting that this worldview leads to death. Ivan, however, must face that he is directly related to the murder of his father through his God-rejecting philosophies. Ivan faces a much deeper consequence, and hope is not so clearly defined for him at the end of the novel. He is doomed to continue on in his desolate existence. Dmitri's transformation from one concerned with selfish worldly desires to one more aware of the concerns of the soul. Interestingly, both Grueshenka and Dmitri undergo a transformation from worldly to more spiritual and in the end plan to start a new life together. Dostoevsky seems to be commenting that though one lives in the world, once he becomes aware and repents there is a change in them to more spiritual things, and in that there is hope.

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T 53 - Hesse, Hermann
T 35 - Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Mikhaylovich
T 123 - The Brothers Karamazov


L 270 - Hesse's 'The Brothers Karamasov or The Downfall of Europe'
Herman Hesse's essay, a part of his Blick ins Chaos. This is the Stephen Hudson translation from the June, 1922 issue of The Dial.
L 271 - Hesse's 'Thoughts on Dostoevsky's The Idiot'
Herman Hesse's essay, a part of his Blick ins Chaos. This is the Stephen Hudson translation from the August, 1922 issue of The Dial.

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: mq366.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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