O Brother, Where art thou?
If Raskolnikov is the anti-hero of ‘Crime and Punishment’, surely the hero of the piece is the good friend he calls brother, Razumikhin. Explorations of close female friendships are ten a penny in the novels I’ve read, but I’m struggling to think of a literary male friendship that has moved me quite as deeply as the one between these two young men.
Despite Raskolnikov’s frequent bouts of rudeness and erratic behaviour, Razumikhin displays extraordinary devotion, not only being a tireless listening ear, but supporting him, nursing him, counselling him, and he even goes clothes shopping for him – now that is surely beyond the call of duty! Best of all, Razumikhin always gives his friend the benefit of the doubt even when circumstances suggest otherwise. Frankly, Raskolnikov doesn’t deserve him!
Not only is Razumikhin kind, but he is intelligent and honest. The only times he seems to lose his temper is when confronted by idiocy and pretense, and then he ridicules with wit and abandon. When introduced to the primped and pompous Luzhin, with his charming lilac gloves, he is quick to silence his parroted platitudes.
I opened my mouth with a purpose, but all these self-indulgent bits of chatter, all these constant, incessant cliches, the same thing over and over again, have become so obnoxious to me during the past three years, that I swear to God I blush when other people, let alone myself, utter them in my presence.
I absolutely love him! He’s the perfect embodiment of my ideal best friend – well, as long as he liked football. We could watch matches together and have nice chats about books and ideas, wearing matching frayed grandad shirts, waistcoats, navy reefer jackets and fingerless gloves. Best of all, I’ll get to read and relax in a cafe while he happily trawls the secondhand shops, whenever I’m in need of a new outfit!