Dostoyevsky And His Works
Often in novels, the life of an author is reflected in his or her literature.

For a writer experience can serve not only as a teacher, but also as the
foundation of a story line. Some of the most well known authors have used this

Romana Clef technique, for example, Charles Dickens in his famous novel, David

Copperfield. The Russian author, Fyodor Dostoyevsky does this as well, in his
novel Crime and Punishment. Various individuals and occurrences from

Dostoyevsky’s life influenced the novel and its characters and themes. This
shows that an author’s life serves as an inspiration to his or her writing and
impacts the work as a whole. Dostoyevsky’s own family and childhood
experiences had a tremendous impact on him as well as his literary works. As the
second child in a line of seven, Dostoyevsky lived a sad and lonely childhood.

As a student in a respected boarding school, Dostoyevsky felt unable to make
contact with his pupils, and therefore isolated himself, just as the main
character, Raskolnikov, isolated himself from the rest of society. His father
was an ex-army surgeon for the poor and his household was one of poverty,
disease, and pain. The family was deeply religious, and Jesus was the ideal
figure of Dostoyevsky’s childhood faith. This brought about the preoccupation
and obsession with suffering and Christianity that is dealt with in Crime and

Punishment. The central theme of poverty, illness, and anguish clearly reflect
the tribulations Dostoyevsky endured in his troubled years growing up. It was
not only these circumstances, but also several other individuals and events that
influenced Dostoyevsky in his writing of the novel that is so closely related to
his own life. Over the years, there were several specific individuals who took
part in sculpting the views and opinions that influenced Fyodor Dostoyevsky so
deeply. These views are some of those present in Crime and Punishment. Sir

Walter Scott, a Scottish novelist was one of those people. By the age of twelve,

Dostoyevsky had read all of the man’s works, thus establishing the notion of
family and human society. This is an important aspect to the novel’s main
character Raskolnikov, his sister Dunia, and mother Pulcheria Alexandrovna. The
dual nature of the equally good and evil Raskalnikov was a concept introduced to

Dostoyevsky by the German Romantic writer, Hoffman, and another writer Nikolay

Gogal. While writing Crime and Punishment, the influence of these three men came
into play, as these issues of family, society, and good versus evil are
repeatedly brought up. Certain events in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s life affected
him so deeply that they served as a model for similar scenes in Crime and

Punishment. Two scenes in the story come directly from the experiences of the
author at the time the novel was being formulated in Dostoyevsky’s mind. At
the time, Petersburg newspapers were filled with stories of Gerasim Chistov, a
man responsible for murdering two elderly ladies with a short-handled axe, and
stealing eleven rubles from them. It is apparent that this coincides with the
murder scene in the novel. Another scene took place that struck Dostoyevsky as
being so tragic that he included it in his novel. Dostoyevsky witnessed a

Tsar’s all-powerful courier, driving off at high speed viscously punching his
peasant coachman. This inspired Raskalnikov’s dream of the beaten "skinny
sorrel mare", which made him plea to God, "Show me the way...I renounce that
damned dream of mine." (67). Evidently, these events affected Dostoyevsky so
deeply that he managed to incorporate them into his novel. They inspired

Dostoyevsky and allowed him to connect his real life to his literature. However,
it was not only events that impacted the writing of Crime and Punishment.

Characters in the novel can easily be seen as having been depicted from
individuals Dostoyevsky came across in his own life. Fyodor Dostoyevsky can most
easily be compared with the dual natured Raskalnikov. The similarities between
the two are clear, as they are alike in beliefs and background. Just as

Raskolnikov is a well- educated member of the Intelligencia, Dostoyevsky was a
brilliant young man as well, after being educated in strict board schools.

Dostoyevsky’s intelligence did not come to his aid financially. He had an
inability to manage income or calculate his needs. He wound up in a viscous
cycle of borrowing and spending that plagued him throughout his life. Just as

Raskolnikov, he too lived in a "square yard of space", and in debt to
various people, especially his landlady. They both were preoccupied with
thoughts of murder, robbery, religion, and alcohol. Dostoyevsky even published