Crime and Punishment Chapter 4
Raskolnikov goes over the contents of his mother's letter and concludes that as long as he is alive, such a marriage will not happen. He despises a man such as Pyotr Petrovitch who treats a marriage like a business proposition. Raskolnikov sees right through Dounia-she is sacrificing herself for his sake. He cannot believe that his mother can be so blind as to approve. And as for Dounia, he knows that she is the type that would not sell her soul for anything, except for her loved ones. She is not unlike Sonia, Raskolnikov observes. But what right does he have to object? How can he help? He remembers Marmelodov's imploring question: "Do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn?" (p. 40). Suddenly, his thoughts return to his earlier struggles, to those terrible dreams he has.
On the street he notices a young girl, staggering drunk and looking as though she had been abused. Raskolnikov notices a gentleman across the street, seemingly eyeing the helpless girl. Angry at such a thought, Raskolnikov confronts the man until he is stopped by a policeman. Raskolnikov explains to the policeman the situation and hands him twenty copecks to aid the girl. The policeman is filled with compassion and tries to help. A sudden revulsion comes over Raskolnikov and he rebukes the policeman, telling him to let the girl be, whether she is taken advantage of by the man or not. The policeman thinks him mad. Raskolnikov walks on muttering to himself about how unfortunate the girl is, especially her inevitable future as a prostitute. Raskolnikov sneers at the social scientific notion that a certain percentage must head in that direction.
Raskolnikov is near the place where his friend Razumihin lives. Raskolnikov has few friends at the university because of his aloof and condescending nature, but he gets along with Razuhmihin the best. Razuhmihin is a good-natured giant and upstanding in many ways, simple but not lacking depth. Razuhmihin is the one friend Raskolnikov respects.