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 POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)

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PostSubject: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Wed Sep 13, 2006 6:52 pm

Hey folks,

Let's face it: Dostoevsky is a rough read. As you start slogging through the pages of this strange novel, feel free to comment here on your reactions to the first part work. Perhaps you come across a great idea. Perhaps you have a momentary epiphany or discovery as you're reading. Perhaps you're confused and want clarification. Perhaps you want to share a quote (with the page number from the Dover Edition).

Whatever the case, please consider sharing your reaction(s) to this disturbing work.

Mr. K.

scratch No cyclops pirat silent pale Suspect What a Face Shocked Mad Embarassed Sad Evil or Very Mad Idea monkey affraid Sleep jocolor


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phNguyen

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PostSubject: Initial Reactions to Notes from the Underground (Pt. 1)   Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:53 am

At first, it was quite difficult to follow what Dostoyevsky was writing, but after a while, it gets easier. I found what he was saying was quite interesting and I agree with him on some of the points he brings up about man such as that man likes destruction and chaos, and that they are ungrateful. It would be better if the font size was a little bit bigger, they are straining my eyes too much.
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elanafink1

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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:35 pm

I, for the most part, can tell that everyone else really does not agree with me when i state this but i can't help but to feel sorry for this character as well as all of the existentialists of that day and today. It is just upsetting that world afairs such as war shape many individuals into fatalistic, sedistic people. I suppose I really shouldn't be saying this for it is slightly hypocritical in regards to how I, myself, view the world and my relation to it, but it just is upsetting that so many of us feel such emptiness and worthlessness.
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PostSubject: Existentialism as a positive force   Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:40 pm

elanafink1 wrote:
I, for the most part, can tell that everyone else really does not agree with me when i state this but i can't help but to feel sorry for this character as well as all of the existentialists of that day and today. It is just upsetting that world afairs such as war shape many individuals into fatalistic, sedistic people. I suppose I really shouldn't be saying this for it is slightly hypocritical in regards to how I, myself, view the world and my relation to it, but it just is upsetting that so many of us feel such emptiness and worthlessness.

While I wouldn't necessarily take the "life view" of the Underground Man, I would have to say that many existentialists are positive in their outlook. That is, many feel that it is our responsibility to try to make our lives and others better. Why else are we here? While many view existentialist literature as dark and depressing, perhaps what comes across as depressing is the image of an individual fighting amidst an indifferent world. Just a thought. Please keep the conversation on this novel and existentialism going. It's fascinating! afro
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sat Sep 16, 2006 10:25 am

Alright, I hate to be the one to say it, but I don't find Notes from the Underground that hard to get through. Yes, it does seem like it takes longer than usual to finish each page, but it's not like his writing style is murderous to get through. He's just a smart guy, so it's going to take a little bit longer to understand him.
My first reaction to the first couple chapters:
This guy is a genius who's life sucks. Well see where it goes from here....
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Marielle66

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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sat Sep 16, 2006 5:17 pm

So far, the way the story is going, it seems extremely confusing and very difficult to read. The narrator makes me loose myself and just jumps from one subject to another. I always find myself going back to the previous page to see what happened.
This book reminds me of Catcher in the Rye and of the main character. They are both really pesimistic and so far I do not like them.
I really want to finish part one and get to part two so that I will actually find out why the main character is the way he is. Maybe he had an extremely harsh past and that's what changed him.
I also have a feeling that the main character might be a bit like the author who wrote the story.
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abdi4



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PostSubject: Initial Reactions to Notes from the Underground   Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:39 pm

The way that Dostoyevsky writes is really unique, in the way that the first couple of pages seems to be so detailed, when it really isn't. It's the way this guy talks about so many aspects of his life. From how he thinks of himself, to where he lives, where he works, who he hate, to what he likes to do. The hard thing to figure about this guy is if he is happy or mad. In the beggining of the story he starts off saying how he's sick, unnatractive, and has a disease in his liver. Later on he says how he likes his little corner where he lives, and making other people miserable is fun for him. And this was all in the first couple of pages, so trying to figure this man out will be a tough one.
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PostSubject: If I go insane from reading on I will be better for it   Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:11 pm

This I must say is one of the most interesting novels that I have been blessed to read in an english class. While I have enjoyed many others none have entranced me in such a way that I am forced to think reread and eventually give into the words enriched in meaning. At the same time sometimes I read and find myself getting distracted or confused at what the underground man is actually saying. Some of my efforts are futile but I am enjoying them none the less. I feel myself getting smarter as I read on. Or maybe more insane.
A few notes on Dostoyevsky's writing. It is so fun to read! Though I tend to think less of the text as Dostoyevsky's writing and more of the underground man's words. The informalness of the writing as he directs specific words towards you as a reader is suprising. They way he tells you what you think is as if he as a history with us and can be as frank as he pleases. The adundant use of exlamation points and alliteration as well as exclamtions like "Merciful Heavens!" (Cool all add to the writing and in turn attracts me as a reader. I look forward to continuing.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:45 pm

The story is definitely interesting so far. I wouldn't call it fun, but I don't think anyone can deny its unique character.

What I really like is the fact that it's so refreshing, even so long after being written. The Underground Man takes absolute responsibility for everything that has happened to him, and for me this erases many of his flaws. The world we live in today constantly looks for someone to blame for the problems we've encountered, and it's often tiresome. Instead of taking a similar viewpoint, Dostoyevsky offers us a man who is so responsible that it's a little frightening. As disturbing as it may be, I think we could all take a page from the Undergroudn Man and be slightly better off for it.
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PostSubject: Initial Reactions to Notes from the Underground (pt. 1)   Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:33 pm

Reading Notes From the Underground is both interesting and frustrating at the same time. I get so focused on what the Underground man is saying because I really want to find out what makes him tick, but I often have to stop and reread a paragraph when he loses me off on a tangent.
I found it interesting how the Underground man believes that he does his worst actions when he is most conscious of them. And yet he feels that this is simply his normal behavior. I feel that this is what he uses to justify his actions because he accepts his actions and feels that they cannot be undone. He gives the impression that he cannot help but act the way he does because it is something that can never be changed. Is this the existentialist point of view of taking the responsibility for one's actions? To me, he is not going to take the responsibility to improve himself, but rather take responsibility in accepting who he is.
I'm on a mission to make sense of it all.
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JohnN

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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sun Sep 17, 2006 3:27 pm

First off, Dostoyevsky's writing style doesn't seem all that bad once you get about 20 pages into the book, the only things I can truely fuss about are the type size and maybe his use of repetitive phrases (I almost always end up rereading the sentence from fear of skipping lines).

The main character had already presented himself as a darker, pessimistic character from the start, however once you get into the second part I think it is easy to see where he picked up his strange beliefs and behaviors. Even in his earlier days he was already depressed and antisocial, with barely anybody to associate with or vent to. He mentions only having one true person he could trust (whom he borrows money from). I found that it was even stranger that he had gone through so much simply to "get revenge" on the officer. As the story of his past unfolds, the confusion created seems to increase and develop, because the character seems so wise, yet his actions don't justify his brilliance at all. I say this because even though most of the things he said were complaints, many of them are also true.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:56 pm

julie_m1 wrote:
What I really like is the fact that it's so refreshing, even so long after being written.

I agree, Julie. Though as to your other point, the UM seems to take more responsibility for the flaws themselves, rather than his actions, at least to me.

I've taken to reading it out loud, which, along with making me sound like a lunatic, helps me understand the flow of his thoughts better. It's written almost conversationally, anyway, what with all the "gentlemen"s.
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PostSubject: Notes From the Underground   Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:12 pm

My initial reactions were extremely scattered. For some reason, I just could not grasp what was going on. So, I decided to start over from the beginning and the second time around is much more do-able. In the very first chapters where he is introducing himself, I came to the conclusion that he is a very deranged man. I can almost see Dostoyevsky's own character reflected in that of the Underground Man's. He tells his story as if he hasn't spoken in years and finally gets the chance to brag about how horrible his life is and what pleasure he finds in embracing its ugliness. I haven't gotten very far but I'm interested to see where this is going.
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PostSubject: So far, so good   Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:56 pm

Hey folks!

I'm beginning to see some rather fascinating and thoughtful responses to Notes from the Underground.

I like the idea from Alex that "by reading aloud the story," one can get a better understanding of it. I absolutely agree. In fact, I think that with lots of judicious editing, this could be made into a rather fascinating stage monologue.

Keep up the great work. You're getting there. cheers
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:10 pm

Personally I don't like it so far, but then again I usually don't like books in the beginning. He certainly is a very strange character and if it were to be made a movie I would definitely agree with adam on William H. Macy. The book is a hard one to get through, but im sure I'll warm up to it.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:52 pm

I must say that I agree with Goodman on this one, the book is really hard to get through and I just don't care for it that much. I just can't relate to how the author is thinking and I can tell this is going to be an incredibly hard read.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Mon Sep 18, 2006 7:57 pm

I'm part way through part two of the book, but I can honestly say that I understand about 3/4 of part one. While it's interesting to see the way the author writes and to watch his train of thought, it's often times difficult to see where he's going with his writing and what exactly the purpose of his writing is.

I agree with Elana, however, that I can't help but feel sorry for the author. I don't necessarily like him, but I feel sorry for him. I don't even know WHY I feel sorry for him, but the more I find out about his past, the more I want to pat him on the head and say, "There, there poor, pragmatic Russian."
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:03 pm

At first, I had to adjust to Dostoyevsky's style and I had to pick through all is rambling. I found that it became easier to read if I underlined his main points and if I read it out loud. I think that some of what he has to say is really intresting and has made me think about my experiences in life. I really enjoy reading this book and the fact that it does challenge me as a reader.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:11 pm

It's easy to write the novela off as an indecipherable mumbling rant however upon closer examination Dosto(y)evsky's brilliance is undeniable. Especially after our class discussion today, it's amazing to see what sparks people that you may not have caught yourself.

The UG Man's perspective is uncommon to come by and offers great insight to the people who we otherwise can't interact with because they lock themselves in their rooms to let their livers calcify. Come out, come out!


(It also helps that Mr. Kelso openly admitted this was a challenging novel for him, so when I re-read the paragraph twice or thrice I feel a little less guilty)
afro


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PostSubject: Initial Reactions to Notes from the Underground (Pt. 1)   Mon Sep 18, 2006 11:23 pm

When I first stared this book it was difficult to follow the complex thoughts of the main character. However, as I kept reading I found myself becoming more intrested in what he was writing. The situation that he describes himself in is absolutely miserable, but at least he takes responsibilty for his actions that led him there. Now that I am finished with the first part of the novel, I am anxious to see what happened to him in the past the made him the miserable man he is in the first section.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:01 am

i do agree with elana in that i feel very sorry for the character and the situation he is in mentally with himself. He is constantly second guessing and analyzing every feeling and thought that comes to him. As i read further in the story i realize most interactions he has with others involve bitterness anger and even humiliation. but you know. life really is ABSURD. we must make the best of waht we have and live the best we can.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:39 pm

I'm not going to lie, Dostoyevsky isn't my favorite author; mostly because he is really difficult to understand and follow. In the beginning, I wasn't motivated to read this book at all, because I was never really found of existential thinking, and the type of writing style that Dostoyevsky possess. As I continued reading, I noticed that the text got easier and more interesting. Dostoyevsky is a very deep, philosophical man...I like that.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:53 pm

I don't know if anyone else will feel the same way I do about my view on this book.. But what I'm getting from this story is sense of hate towards this story, and a sense of hate towards this character. But I think that's what Dostoyevsky is trying to do though. He's trying to get us to feel the same way about things that he does. By cramming all of these negative views of everything, I find myself having a negative attitude towards the book. And not in the sense that I don't like the story, I actually think it's having a reverse effect on me. Maybe that's just me though?
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:25 pm

The underground man, above all else, is an intelligent man. Though he seems really strange and pessimistic at times, I find that there is a reason behind it. Intelligence can be thought as a blessing and a curse; a blessing for its obvious reasons, but also a curse because the author is smart enough to know his limitations, to know life’s rigidity, and to be rational all the time. His mind is so overflowed with ideas and concepts about life that his constant contradictions of himself now seem more normal because he keeps changing his perspective in viewing things. He talks to himself quite a bit in the first few chapters, but who doesn’t? It is simply a way of lining up our thoughts for a better understanding of things.
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PostSubject: Re: POST:Reactions to Notes from the Underground (closes Sun)   Tue Sep 19, 2006 7:33 pm

I, personally, like the book. I have the same reaction as I did reading 'The Stranger' I think the book is funny. I really like his persoanlity because its not what everyone is used too. I like different, I wouldn't like to be personal friends with the charcter, but seeing someone act in a way that will make people react in an apalled way is just funny. Its kind of weird sying this, but I like meeting different people and not meeting the same steotypical type of people. Smile

Yeah - the reading is hard (esp. for me) but its interesting so thats why I haven't thrown it across the room yet - no just kidding. Razz
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