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Notes from the Underground

Essay by   •  July 31, 2011  •  Essay  •  472 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,762 Views

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The anonymous narrator of Notes from Underground is a bitter, spiteful and sick man. He is known as the Underground Man and he was negative about everything he wrote. His attitude is always pessimistic. The strange thing is that is he aware of everything that he is doing, yet he does not do anything to change the way he is or thinks. He has medical issues that need treatment but because of his attitude toward those in the medical field he chooses not to be treated by them. This makes no sense to me but since he believes that the laws of nature govern everything he has and no one else has any free will. He is in tune with his conscious and for this reason he is unable to be vengeful toward others.

He is forty years old and a veteran of the civil service who has recently retired because of an inheritance he recently received. The notes that the Underground Man writes are contradictory and show that he is confused however he is very intelligent. He thinks that his intelligence is the reason that he is miserable. The Underground Man thinks that in modern society, all educated men should be as miserable as he is.

There's really only one point in the novella where I felt like I could almost feel sympathy for him. When he wrote about the three men and how he felt as though he were less than them. He felt that they spoke down to him, and they were very rude to him. Even though the narrator is not a very nice person, these men are not much better. The narrator also talks about a police man. I thought it was very odd how much effort it took to make someone feel less than him simply because he can. Liza never did anything to deserve what the Underground Man said to her. He says these things only because he finds joy in other people's pain. This story makes me think that the narrator's life was very melancholy. Although if one was to tell him his life was depressing I think he would disagree. He seems like someone who would rather have all the knowledge in the world and be completely miserable than being content with his life. I think that he equates the amount of knowledge a person has with how important they are. This story is strange in the beginning and it was difficult trying to make sense of his thought process and the way he acts about certain things. After completing the reading it was evident that he was a selfish man but he was very much aware of what he was doing and knew exactly why he did those things.

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