Rebellion in Brothers Karamazov

In this chapter, Ivan and Alyosha have been reunited and are finally on speaking terms. Ivan goes off and begins to try and get Alyosha to understand his religious stance, which isn’t as atheist as dening as people originally thought, which has to do with the fact that the people of the time period, especially it seems the Karamasov brothers, have this perception that the world and the human mind are not mutually exclusive. The Karamazov brothers, even the likes of Ivan, are very much connected with a world outside of the secular.  The porous self is a way of existence where emotions simply lived inside someone’s mental space but found their way to the outside world. Evil thoughts and emotions usually found a way to find their way to the outside world, such did good thoughts.

Alyosha, who is intensely connected to an emotion of love and with the mysticism of the religious world, and is thus in the ‘real’ world of the novel is shown and felt by others. Ivan who usually is depicted as cold and removed is more reflective of a modern secular society. For most of the novel (up until this point) he seems to think that there is a clear boundary between the two, however by the time we get to the chapter on Rebellion, Ivan’s emotions are ignited and he begins to show his porous self.

Ivan in rebellion is discussing about the way in which children are treated:

“These educated parents subjected the poor five year-old girl to every possible torture. They beat her flogged her, kicked her not knowing why themselves, until her whole body was nothing but bruises; finally they attained the height of finesse: in the freezing cold, they locked her all night in the outhouse… for they smeared her face with her excrement and made her eat the excrement, and it was her mother, her mother who made her!”

There were multiple examples that Ivan used to demonstrate what it was like to be a child during this time period. It was torturous in a lot of ways. Before in the story all of the children that we meet lived a horrible and hard life but at least had someone to care in some way for them, but in this moment Ivan demonstrates the most extreme cases to make a point at the pitiful lives that most children endure during that time.

In those times where life was porous, emotion didn’t have a set space, it extended to more than just spirits, it went beyond to things that have no wills and have evil meanings. Such as children, evil has exists because of the way in which children are treated. Ivan confirms his belief in things that are evil by the obsession that he has formed about the wrongdoing to children. He rattles on with multiple stories in which children are treated and seen as things rather than human people.

Ivan states:

” I think that if the devil does not exist, and man has therefore created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”

Thus human and evil thoughts are created and carried out by human hands that have been influenced by the cosmic forces. Evil is manifested and created from feeling and things that are outside of human concern. Aside from this all of men are already considered evil. Though Ivan finds a want to continue on with this idea that God, which is an important for human understanding and love and happiness but he cannot seem to get himself to love that which is also impacting the world in a negative way.


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