Speaking Silently in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Krotkaia

Chloe Simone Papadopoulos

Abstract


Speech saturates Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Krotkaia, wherein the first-person narrator, a loquacious grieving pawnbroker seeks to comprehend the cause of his wife’s suicide. But this speech, strangely, is often as silent as it is voiced. Reading Krotkaia, I follow the seemingly ceaseless speech of Dostoevsky’s narrator, but also, listen to the pauses, speechless moments, and silence. In so doing, I discuss the audible and inaudible in Krotkaia, positing that reevaluating the relationship between speech and silence calls for reconsideration of the work’s narrative landscape. This article shows how gender dynamics and plot structure are defined by the interplay of speech and silence and treats the meek one’s wordlessness as a communicative act, through which the oppressed female figure cultivates narrative agency.

 Keywords: The Meek One, silence, narratology, gender


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/1013-2309/1009

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