Saturday, January 24, 2009

Poor Folk - post II

"Poor and unhappy people ought to steer clear of one another, so as not to catch a greater degree of infection."

It is odd to be reading Poor Folk during a global downturn because the problems that he writes about with the spiralling debt are serious concerns for many right now.

There is a break down in pride as the old clerk reveals that to support and woo the young slight relative he has gone into debt. He then takes money from her and when she struggles she begs him for funds. The result is the two are slowly falling down a debt slope that will surely end in a terrible situation.

What is highlighted so clearly is the impact on not just the physical health of the poor but also the mental stress. Hopes are like dreams that hit the dreamer hard when they fail to come off.

No wonder when the book was written those progressives who took it as an attack on the Russian system embraced it. Of course it is all part of the formulation of a belief that would end up in Dostoevsky’s support for brotherhood. That part of the equation lost him support but at this stage he had quite a few influential literary people with him.

Last bit, which is likely to be tragic, tomorrow…

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