Notes from the Underground - Part II: Chapters IX and X Summary & Analysis

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Part II: Chapters IX and X Summary

Liza appears and the writer invites her to sit then goes to Apollon. He gives him his wages that are due then instructs him to go get tea to serve Liza. When the author returns to Liza, he rails against Apollon and tells her of the servant's faults. He then bursts into tears and realizes that he's in a frenzy and must appear ridiculous. Apollon leaves the tea and neither the writer nor Liza are comfortable enough to serve. They sit in silence and the author notes that he's being mean and that it makes Liza sad. He then begins to scream at Liza, asking her why she'd come and telling her that he'd sell the world for a kopek if it would only gain him a little peace.

Liza looks hurt and the author suddenly realizes that she is in love with him and that she's recognized something only a woman in love could know—that he himself is unhappy. She reaches for him and they fall into each other's arms, crying. Finally, the author is lying on the couch, his face buried in the cushions, and he realizes that he's going to be terribly embarrassed to look at Liza. He says that when he does look at her, he's immediately caught by an emotion that was both passion and revenge. Liza was afraid for only a second, then they embraced.

The author notes that Liza is crying but all he feels is impatience. He says that he knows she's aware that his passion was nothing more than revenge and that it's the final insult to this woman. He says that he didn't hate her, he just wanted her to be gone so that he could be in peace. As she leaves, he considers following her and does yell her name down the stairs before she leaves the building. But he admits that he could never have made her happy and that her leaving was likely for the best.

The author writes that the memory—even after the passage of years—is distressing and that it might be a good time to end the "Notes". He says his story is no uncommon because "we all limp", though some to a larger degree than others. He also points out that the person writing this diary might be unacceptable because he's the opposite of a hero—he's an antihero.

The tone abruptly changes for the final paragraph with Dostoevsky saying that there is more but that he believes it's time to simply stop.

Part II: Chapters IX and X Analysis

The writer notes that he's greeting Liza exactly as he'd imagined in a prior fit of depression—in his tattered robe and without any dignity. He notes that Liza is embarrassed and believes it's because of his appearance and situation, though there's nothing to say that's absolutely the case. He immediately says that a person can be "poor but honorable". Just minutes later he tells her that he's ashamed of his poverty and yells at her for seeing it.

As is the case before, the sexual encounter is not described at all. After their embrace, the author is next pacing as Liza remains behind a screen, apparently crying.

The author says that he is incapable of love but that it's because he can't keep from flaunting his moral and intellectual superiority. He closes by saying that if the world were to "give us more independence", then "we'd all stamp our feet" and seek someone to exert control. Then he reverts back to the literary method and says that the reader would say that it's acceptable for this antihero to say such things but not to say "we" or "us". The author says that his own life is an example of what any life could be. The difference is that he's lived to that extreme while others have not.

The author addresses the "underground" one last time by saying that he doesn't choose to write anymore from the underground. If one believes that the underground is a conscious emotional state such as this writer has described, it could follow that he plans to change his life.

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