Notes from Underground

Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky is a book which tells the reader about the life and the actions done by the protagonist. The whole novel seems to be a confession. He protagonist stars his story with the words, “I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. I am unattractive man” (Dostoyevsky 1).

The notes are like the dairy which is published. It is important to keep in mind that the protagonist never tells his name, he writes his notes from the first person narration. Still, this method of narration does not make the narration less interesting and exciting. Moreover, it seems that the absence of the protagonist’s name only adds to the impression the novel provides.

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Before stating the main thesis statement of the further research, it should be mentioned that the thorough work should be provided before the paper is going to be completed. To claim a thesis statement, it is important identify a topic which should be considered. Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky can cover many different topics, still, we want to pay attention to the absence of the protagonist’s name in the novel.

It is important to conduct a research and to identify the scholars who considered this problem in their works. The next step for writing should be focused on the thesis statement creation, what we are going to deal with in this paper, and on the paper structure. The structure of the paper should depend on the thesis statement directly.

The main idea which should be considered in the essay is the understanding of the reasons why the author uses the protagonist without a name. There are a number of reasons which could guide the author. On the one hand, the author explains the position himself. Dostoevsky writes, “the author of the dairy and the diary itself are imaginary. Nevertheless.., such persons… must exist in the society” (Dostoyevsky 1).

Thus, representing a protagonist without a name, the author tries to express the ideas of some representatives of the society without attaching the situation to any specific person. On the other hand, the case may be easily explained by the tendency which was in the 19th century when authors tried to make the impression that the writings they presented were autobiographical. Only close familiarizing with the works made it possible to distinguish between the reality and the fiction (Smith and Watson 8).

Aristotle writes that there are protagonists who are not named in the reason because there is no appropriate name for him/her. He writes, “the extremes have the appearance of being opposed to one another, because the mean has no appropriate name” (Aristotle 71). This opinion may be easily related to the novel by Dostoevsky.

The person describes his life with the purpose to understand why he had became a person who he was (it is possible to understand from the narration that the protagonist is a man). Therefore, the stories in the book are so terrible, that it is really impossible to name the person who performed those actions.

Thus, the thesis statement of the story is as follows: Dostoevsky in his novel Notes from Underground does not name the protagonist, it has a symbolic meaning: the story is not unique and there are many people in the society who could appear in the same situation and come to the same conclusions; moreover, the reason for leaving the protagonist without a name may be for the reason because it is impossible give a name to the person due to the actions he performed.

Annotated Bibliography

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Notes from the underground. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 1999. Web. Local Database. 16 Nov. 2010.

It is impossible to avoid the use of the primary source in the discussion because the author states his opinion on giving his protagonist no name. The main idea presented by the author is that the story is not unique and there are a lot of different people in the society who may have the same background which caused them to act like the protagonist in the story.

The author of the book explaining the nature of the protagonist’s absence of the name states that he tried to show the representative of the generation who was still living in the society, to make everybody to think after the novel is read.

Smith, Sidonie and Julia Watson. Reading autobiography: a guide for interpreting life narratives. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 2001. Web. Local Database. 16 Nov. 2010.

Smith and Watson dwell upon the historical development of the literature and state that Dostoevsky was not the only person who chose a protagonist without a name for the story teller. Moreover, that choice was made not by chance. Many writers of that period were choosing the method of narration from the first person never naming their protagonists.

This action was provided with the purpose to give the reader an impression that it was an autobiography and only the content of the books showed that it was not true. Moreover, such technique made the readers feel each word told by the protagonist, clearly imagine each scene, that allowed the readers deeper understand the whole story.

Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. New York: Cosimo, Inc., 2008. Web. Local Database. 16 Nov. 2010.

It should be mentioned that the ideas presented by Aristotle are difficult to argue. It is also significant to remember that the novel Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky was written many centuries later after Aristotle presented his ideas. Still, it is impossible to reject that those ideas remain actual nowadays.

Aristotle dwells upon the states, still, it does not restrict us from making a parallel between the ideas he used and to direct them at the Dostoevsky’s narration. Therefore, if to relate some ideas by Aristotle, it may be stated that Dostoevsky doe not name his character because there is no appropriate name for this person. The actions he did, the thoughts he had does not allow the author to name a person in any way.

Matthes, Melissa. “A Checkered Past.” Commonweal, 135.17 (2008): p 21. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

This article is not directly related to the novel Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky, another book is reviewed, still, this source is important for our discussion. The author of this article states that “protagonist, in fact, has no name–but lives on every page” (21). It is crucial to remember that when the narration comes not from the first person singular, the narration may be distracted from the main character. Here, the narrator is present on each page of the novel.

Works Cited

Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. New York: Cosimo, Inc., 2008. Web. Local Database. 16 Nov. 2010.

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Notes from the underground. Champaign, Ill.: Project Gutenberg, 1999. Web. Local Database. 16 Nov. 2010.

Matthes, Melissa. “A Checkered Past.” Commonweal, 135.17 (2008): p 21. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

Smith, Sidonie and Julia Watson. Reading autobiography: a guide for interpreting life narratives. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota Press, 2001. Web. Local Database. 16 Nov. 2010.

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