I am a sick man … I am a spiteful man … I am an unattractive man …
I think Dostoevsky, due to his own dramatic and perilous life, is familiar with how humans might react to various psychological states. What he does in his prose is creating an individual psyche, with a unique viewpoint of the world. He is dreadfully patient in his prose. It makes you crazy how slow and comprehensive is the flow of the narrative.
Most of his characters are people different from others, just because they are aware of something. Something boring and also joyful which turn their lives into an enjoyable sorrow. The characters are not sure like anybody else. They doubt it, on any level. And that’s the difference that makes them shift into a stranger and camouflage in undergrounds.
While reading the prose, the audience is facing a human being with many similarities and differences. But, as long as the audience is reading, the narrative is on the top of the power structure. He is the one who talks, represents, and shares his world. What can the audience do? Just go on and read. And what will arise while continuing? I might say sympathy.
Dostoevsky knows how to hook an unacceptable person to his audience’s mindset, based on the power of narrative. He (the character or the narrator) penetrates our thoughts, states unbearable messages regarding the whole world and humans nature, and eventually, does not expect us to believe or abide his view. He laughs to our faces, and the audience may consider him or herself as a stupid human being; as a person who understands nothing about the secrets inside his head.
Dostoevsky does something simple. He introduces us to a person, and let us have a small talk (small means 200 to 1000 pages) and as the character shares his dark and painful experiences with us, we encounter our true identity from a different angle. And finally with creating sympathy among the reader and the character, due to their similarities as two human being, the reader ask himself in silence, “Am I facing these dark and unaccepted thoughts too?” because the writer knows how to manage the whole stream of thoughts to bring up some overlooked or denied facts about our lives and ruin our whole belief system.
I am not a big fan of Russian literature, and 19th-century literature either. But I pondered his prose and tried to look at one of his works after a long time. My experience is based on losing yourself in the prose and encounter a rising feeling while reading words one after the other. A feeling of devastation, a feeling of the time you say yourself, “There is no way out”.