The Brothers Karamazov

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Essay on Literary Criticism:
Ya. E. Golosovker

The Words “Secret” and “Mystery”

Ya. E. Golosovker criticizes that the word “secret” is the most direct and ambiguous word used in The Brothers Karamazov. He argues that though “mystery” is a synonym to “secret,” it does not possess the same meaning. Golosovker claims that “secret” is used in the negative and cautionary sense as opposed to the positive and profound sense of meaning in “mystery.” It is also not surprising that “secret” is mostly used when describing Dmitri Fyodorovich Karamazov.

Golosovker’s strongest argument is the connection of Dmirti’s action to that of the word “secret.” It is made apparent that almost everything is done in “secret” when it comes to Dmitri. Examples include secret meetings, secret money kept by Dmitri, and the secret money for Grushenka known by Dmitri. The argument goes beyond Dmitri and his wrong, forbidden actions. The malice actions done by the characters have all been in secrecy. Alyosha himself, as pointed out by Golosovker, is guilty of carrying a secret sorrow when his elder dies, and his belief in God is in question. He doesn’t speak of his secret because he knows it was wrong of him to doubt what Father Zosima had taught him. A “secret” in the novel is not good, but rather has been under malice intentions and thoughts for the characters that have secrets.

The biggest “secret” exposed by Golosovker is the Devil’s secret. This is the “secret” of Dmitri’s escape, which was first kept from Alyosha who believes in suffering and purification. If Dmitri ran, then he would be running from his cross, and would be rejecting God. Dmitri, Ivan, and Katya keep this plan from Alyosha, at first, because Alyosha teaches the word of God to man at Father Zosima’s request. Again the "malice" intention to run and escape suffering only contributes to Golosovker’s argument of the direct and ambiguous meaning of “secret.” The direct meaning of “secret” is that information is only known to one or few people to hide away intentions. The ambiguous meaning is that secret does represent good intention or information but rather brings a negative tone to the novel whenever it is used. This is what Golosovker is trying to support in his essay of criticism on the novel.

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