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IlanaSimons
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"The Double": Chapters 7-10

[ Edited ]
The story thickens, as Golyadkin tries to win his superior’s daughter and deals with his double. In this space, we’ll talk about chapters 7-10.

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 03-04-200710:55 AM




Ilana
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Chapter 7: Ego Ideal.

One way of thinking of Golyadkin's Double is as "ego ideal." This was Freud's term--and it just means an alter-ego who does what you _wish_ you could do. A sports hero can be a kid's ego ideal: The kid grows by chasing that ideal. The ideal is useful because it sets a model for successful living.

In places, Golyadkin Junior is Golyadkin Senior's ego ideal. Junior is more assertive, more popular, and more successful than Senior. He has better social skills. Senior wishes he could live like this shadow self.

...But Junior doesn't start off so strong. His first day in Golyadkin Senior's house, we get this, below. He's crying, kissing-up, paying dues. We'll see how Junior goes from obsequious to assertive as the story progresses. That's the course Golyadkin Senior _wishes_ he could take:

"Moreover, the visitor [Golyadkin Junior] begged for protection, wept, railed at destiny, seemed such an artless, pitiful, insignificant person, with no craft or malice about him, and he seemed now to be ashamed himself, though perhaps on different grounds, of the strange resemblance of his countenance with that of Mr. Golyadkin's. His behaviour was absolutely unimpeachable; his one desire was to please his host, and he looked as a man looks who feels conscience-stricken and to blame in regard to some one else. If any doubtful point were touched upon, for instance, the visitor at once agreed with Mr. Golyadkin's opinion" (70).


Thoughts from anyone reading chapter 7?



Ilana
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Jimbo1580
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Re: Chapter 7: Ego Ideal.

That definitely seems to be the case. Junior is definitely the alter-ego of Senior. I was a little confused as to why the alter-ego started off seeming so inferior to Mr. Goliadkin Sr, and then quickly became so superior in the next chapter.
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Re: Chapter 7: Ego Ideal.

Yes.
And there's also the question of how we see ourselves at different times. Sometimes we're kind to ourselves--at peace with who we are, friends with our alter egos. But the next moment we can feel like our own enemies. You can see this in the book: Golyadkin is sometimes loving of his Junior, sometimes spiteful and paranoid.




Jimbo1580 wrote:
That definitely seems to be the case. Junior is definitely the alter-ego of Senior. I was a little confused as to why the alter-ego started off seeming so inferior to Mr. Goliadkin Sr, and then quickly became so superior in the next chapter.





Ilana
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chadadanielleKR
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Re: Chapter 7: Ego Ideal.


IlanaSimons wrote:
One way of thinking of Golyadkin's Double is as "ego ideal." This was Freud's term--and it just means an alter-ego who does what you _wish_ you could do. A sports hero can be a kid's ego ideal: The kid grows by chasing that ideal. The ideal is useful because it sets a model for successful living.


Strangely enough, I was relieved to discover that Golyakin Senior did not recognize his own past in the story of Goliakin Junior. I was beginning to feel sorry for him. Goliakin Senior is already so much disturbed when he discovers that he has a double who looks just like him that a double with a similar past would have been too much to bear. Therefore, this way, the story can go on.
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Re: Chapter 7: Ego Ideal.



chadadanielleKR wrote:

IlanaSimons wrote:
One way of thinking of Golyadkin's Double is as "ego ideal." This was Freud's term--and it just means an alter-ego who does what you _wish_ you could do. A sports hero can be a kid's ego ideal: The kid grows by chasing that ideal. The ideal is useful because it sets a model for successful living.


Strangely enough, I was relieved to discover that Golyakin Senior did not recognize his own past in the story of Goliakin Junior. I was beginning to feel sorry for him. Goliakin Senior is already so much disturbed when he discovers that he has a double who looks just like him that a double with a similar past would have been too much to bear. Therefore, this way, the story can go on.





Hmmm.... Is he making up a new "back story" for himself?
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Chapter 7: Ego Ideal.

That's an interesting comment, Laurel. I wonder how alive people think Golyadkin junior feels. He does at times seem like a truly different character. Doestoevsky doesn't settle the case as to whether this man's imagined or not.

But that's also interesting: the way different sides of ourselves can seem so utterly "other."



Laurel wrote:


chadadanielleKR wrote:

IlanaSimons wrote:
One way of thinking of Golyadkin's Double is as "ego ideal." This was Freud's term--and it just means an alter-ego who does what you _wish_ you could do. A sports hero can be a kid's ego ideal: The kid grows by chasing that ideal. The ideal is useful because it sets a model for successful living.


Strangely enough, I was relieved to discover that Golyakin Senior did not recognize his own past in the story of Goliakin Junior. I was beginning to feel sorry for him. Goliakin Senior is already so much disturbed when he discovers that he has a double who looks just like him that a double with a similar past would have been too much to bear. Therefore, this way, the story can go on.





Hmmm.... Is he making up a new "back story" for himself?





Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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IlanaSimons
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Chapter 9

Hi all. I don't know who's stickin' with this book and reading on, but I'm interested in that letter Golyadkin senior writes to Golyadkin junior in chapter 9.

Dostoevsky uses a neat device here--in which Golyadkin kind of writes a letter to himself. I'ts like "getting in touch with yourself" made physical.
Does anyone want to comment on the letter, or draw connections to other books?



Ilana
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saltydog
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Re: Chapter 9


IlanaSimons wrote:
Hi all. I don't know who's stickin' with this book and reading on, but I'm interested in that letter Golyadkin senior writes to Golyadkin junior in chapter 9.

Dostoevsky uses a neat device here--in which Golyadkin kind of writes a letter to himself. I'ts like "getting in touch with yourself" made physical.
Does anyone want to comment on the letter, or draw connections to other books?



__________________________________________________________________________________

I too have been wondering if everyone else has given up on our selection. Having finished the story I went back and read the introductry comments. This did give the story a little more prespective and confirmed some of my thoughts, that for instance, Dostoevsky tended to be "long winded." However, I still fail to see the symbolism of Golyadkin's "dualism" with a duality of St. Petersberg; of St. Petersberb's being emblimatic of Western Civilization; etc." In other words I guess I do not see the story as being as profound as the reviewer did. But that is probably due to the fact I know little of Russian literature and of the relationship of Dostoevsky's writing to Pushkin, Gogol, etc.

With respect to the letter from Golyadkin Sr. to Golyadkin Jr - It is almost as though Golyadkin Sr. recognizes he is sinking into madness and is attempting to pull himself out of the depths of his own fantasies. It might be likened to a modern therapist having a client engage in journal writing or in writing letters that are never mailed as a device for understanding their inner conflicts.
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Laurel
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Re: Chapter 9

I'm still here! One of me is, at least. I just read chapter 9, and I don't know what to think of the letter, or of the answer from the clerk. I'll keep reading.



IlanaSimons wrote:
Hi all. I don't know who's stickin' with this book and reading on, but I'm interested in that letter Golyadkin senior writes to Golyadkin junior in chapter 9.

Dostoevsky uses a neat device here--in which Golyadkin kind of writes a letter to himself. I'ts like "getting in touch with yourself" made physical.
Does anyone want to comment on the letter, or draw connections to other books?


"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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chadadanielleKR
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Re: Chapter 9

Saltydog wrote:
With respect to the letter from Golyadkin Sr. to Golyadkin Jr - It is almost as though Golyadkin Sr. recognizes he is sinking into madness and is attempting to pull himself out of the depths of his own fantasies. It might be likened to a modern therapist having a client engage in journal writing or in writing letters that are never mailed as a device for understanding their inner conflicts.



True, whith this letter, Golyadkin Sr. tries to get hold of his life. He states clearly what his griefs are regarding Goliakin Jr's behavior. But by doing so, he sinks more and more in his confusion. He clearly admits that there is a second Golyadkin whose work performances and whose audacity in a public place are much better than his own. Of course, the whole letter implies that he whishes so much to be the other one but he just can't be the other one; which is a very frustrating position.
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Re: Chapter 9

Good comments. I also see the letter as Golyadkin's attempt to solidify his sense of self. He's got a couple identities in action, and wants to bring them into step with one another.
There's good psych research about how weaving narratives is the key to healing. That is, we all "write letters to ourselves" as we introspect, weaving an interior dialogue to make sense of our world.



chadadanielleKR wrote:
Saltydog wrote:
With respect to the letter from Golyadkin Sr. to Golyadkin Jr - It is almost as though Golyadkin Sr. recognizes he is sinking into madness and is attempting to pull himself out of the depths of his own fantasies. It might be likened to a modern therapist having a client engage in journal writing or in writing letters that are never mailed as a device for understanding their inner conflicts.



True, whith this letter, Golyadkin Sr. tries to get hold of his life. He states clearly what his griefs are regarding Goliakin Jr's behavior. But by doing so, he sinks more and more in his confusion. He clearly admits that there is a second Golyadkin whose work performances and whose audacity in a public place are much better than his own. Of course, the whole letter implies that he whishes so much to be the other one but he just can't be the other one; which is a very frustrating position.





Ilana
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Laurel
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Re: Chapter 9

Thanks to the three of you, I think I'm getting a grip on it? Or is that the other I?



IlanaSimons wrote:
Good comments. I also see the letter as Golyadkin's attempt to solidify his sense of self. He's got a couple identities in action, and wants to bring them into step with one another.
There's good psych research about how weaving narratives is the key to healing. That is, we all "write letters to ourselves" as we introspect, weaving an interior dialogue to make sense of our world.



chadadanielleKR wrote:
Saltydog wrote:
With respect to the letter from Golyadkin Sr. to Golyadkin Jr - It is almost as though Golyadkin Sr. recognizes he is sinking into madness and is attempting to pull himself out of the depths of his own fantasies. It might be likened to a modern therapist having a client engage in journal writing or in writing letters that are never mailed as a device for understanding their inner conflicts.



True, whith this letter, Golyadkin Sr. tries to get hold of his life. He states clearly what his griefs are regarding Goliakin Jr's behavior. But by doing so, he sinks more and more in his confusion. He clearly admits that there is a second Golyadkin whose work performances and whose audacity in a public place are much better than his own. Of course, the whole letter implies that he whishes so much to be the other one but he just can't be the other one; which is a very frustrating position.





"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Chapter 9



Laurel wrote:
Thanks to the three of you, I think I'm getting a grip on it? Or is that the other I?



ha!



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Re: Chapter 9

I'm still here, I'm just struggling! I can't read more than a few pages at a time, it makes my head hurt! I'm finding the posts here and the intoduction to the book very helpful. I have to keep reminding myself that the two men are the same man. When his servant is with them when Jr. "sleeps over", what does he see? Sr. talking to himself all night? What do the people in his office see? It's silly, but I just start cringing every time he starts to talk and wondering how this can possibly all end?
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Re: Chapter 9



KristyR wrote:
I'm still here, I'm just struggling! I can't read more than a few pages at a time, it makes my head hurt! I'm finding the posts here and the intoduction to the book very helpful. I have to keep reminding myself that the two men are the same man. When his servant is with them when Jr. "sleeps over", what does he see? Sr. talking to himself all night? What do the people in his office see? It's silly, but I just start cringing every time he starts to talk and wondering how this can possibly all end?




Kristy, I think your reaction is exactly what Dostoevsky wanted, because that is how you would react to the real Mr. Golyadkin (or one of him, anyway). I can't tell who sees what when--I think Dostoevsky might want to leave that ambiguous.

Well, we're off to read chapter 10 to each other!
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Chapter 9

I agree, Laurel: The two-faces are ambiguous. We've been posting notes in this discussion group as if the two Goyadkin's are definitively the same man, but it's not the case. Dostoevsky is just disorientating us, playing. So: we can also read the two men as two.



Laurel wrote:


KristyR wrote:
I'm still here, I'm just struggling! I can't read more than a few pages at a time, it makes my head hurt! I'm finding the posts here and the intoduction to the book very helpful. I have to keep reminding myself that the two men are the same man. When his servant is with them when Jr. "sleeps over", what does he see? Sr. talking to himself all night? What do the people in his office see? It's silly, but I just start cringing every time he starts to talk and wondering how this can possibly all end?




Kristy, I think your reaction is exactly what Dostoevsky wanted, because that is how you would react to the real Mr. Golyadkin (or one of him, anyway). I can't tell who sees what when--I think Dostoevsky might want to leave that ambiguous.

Well, we're off to read chapter 10 to each other!





Ilana
Check out my book, here and visit my website, here.


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KristyR
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Re: Chapter 9



Laurel wrote:


KristyR wrote:
I'm still here, I'm just struggling! I can't read more than a few pages at a time, it makes my head hurt! I'm finding the posts here and the intoduction to the book very helpful. I have to keep reminding myself that the two men are the same man. When his servant is with them when Jr. "sleeps over", what does he see? Sr. talking to himself all night? What do the people in his office see? It's silly, but I just start cringing every time he starts to talk and wondering how this can possibly all end?




Kristy, I think your reaction is exactly what Dostoevsky wanted, because that is how you would react to the real Mr. Golyadkin (or one of him, anyway). I can't tell who sees what when--I think Dostoevsky might want to leave that ambiguous.

Well, we're off to read chapter 10 to each other!


Well, at least I'm reacting as Dostoevsky wanted, it's a start! You're right, in real life I would avoid Mr. Golyadkin. I don't even like to watch movies where the main characters are embarassing themselves all the time!
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saltydog
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Re: Chapter 9



KristyR wrote:


Laurel wrote:


KristyR wrote:
I'm still here, I'm just struggling! I can't read more than a few pages at a time, it makes my head hurt! I'm finding the posts here and the intoduction to the book very helpful. I have to keep reminding myself that the two men are the same man. When his servant is with them when Jr. "sleeps over", what does he see? Sr. talking to himself all night? What do the people in his office see? It's silly, but I just start cringing every time he starts to talk and wondering how this can possibly all end?




Kristy, I think your reaction is exactly what Dostoevsky wanted, because that is how you would react to the real Mr. Golyadkin (or one of him, anyway). I can't tell who sees what when--I think Dostoevsky might want to leave that ambiguous.

Well, we're off to read chapter 10 to each other!


Well, at least I'm reacting as Dostoevsky wanted, it's a start! You're right, in real life I would avoid Mr. Golyadkin. I don't even like to watch movies where the main characters are embarassing themselves all the time!




_____________________________________________________________________

I was having the same problem Kristy. I was constantly struggling to remember that Golyadkin Jr. was not real. However, now that I've finished the story and re-read some parts I'm convinced Golyadkin Jr. and everything he did was a figment of Golyadkin Sr's imagination and that eventually those around him came to realize he had become, in fact, mad.

Salty Dog
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Laurel
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Re: Chapter 9



saltydog wrote:


KristyR wrote:


Laurel wrote:


KristyR wrote:
I'm still here, I'm just struggling! I can't read more than a few pages at a time, it makes my head hurt! I'm finding the posts here and the intoduction to the book very helpful. I have to keep reminding myself that the two men are the same man. When his servant is with them when Jr. "sleeps over", what does he see? Sr. talking to himself all night? What do the people in his office see? It's silly, but I just start cringing every time he starts to talk and wondering how this can possibly all end?




Kristy, I think your reaction is exactly what Dostoevsky wanted, because that is how you would react to the real Mr. Golyadkin (or one of him, anyway). I can't tell who sees what when--I think Dostoevsky might want to leave that ambiguous.

Well, we're off to read chapter 10 to each other!


Well, at least I'm reacting as Dostoevsky wanted, it's a start! You're right, in real life I would avoid Mr. Golyadkin. I don't even like to watch movies where the main characters are embarassing themselves all the time!




_____________________________________________________________________

I was having the same problem Kristy. I was constantly struggling to remember that Golyadkin Jr. was not real. However, now that I've finished the story and re-read some parts I'm convinced Golyadkin Jr. and everything he did was a figment of Golyadkin Sr's imagination and that eventually those around him came to realize he had become, in fact, mad.

Salty Dog




I'm thinking that perhaps there really was a new employee who shared his name, and that was what set him off. He seemed to be suffering a lot of guilt or shame about the German woman, and I suppose that made him susceptible to delusions.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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