Lesson 1 (from Part 1 Ch. I-V)
Myshkin is the central focus of the novel, and a character who provides a contrast to the society of St. Petersburg. His unusual characteristics are introduced at the beginning of the novel, as he is introduced to the other characters. The objective of this lesson is to examine the character of Myshkin.
1) As a class, read the opening of the novel, where Myshkin is introduced and interacts with Rogozhin and Lebedev on the train. Why do Rogozhin and Lebedev react to Myshkin the way that they do? Why doesn't Myshkin get upset at how he's treated? How are Myshkin's unusual characteristics related to his background?
2) Break the students up into groups. Have each group make a list of adjectives that describe Myshkin's character. Have the group find phrases or passages in the novel that support each characteristic they're attributing to Myshkin, and explain briefly how...
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