I am stuck trying to figure out something from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. In the following passage:

The young man stepped into the dark entry, which was partitioned off from the tiny kitchen

which is from the first chapter of the 4th page, in the Dover Thrift edition of the novel. It is describing Alyona Ivanovna's apartment. I am troubled by the outline of her apartment. Where is this kitchen? We have the landing, the thin, dark, passageway, and then a door to her parlor, but where is the kitchen? Is the kitchen a shared kitchen in the landing where Raskolnikov is standing? Does it branch off from the passageway into its own tiny subsection, separate from the parlor? Is it part of the parlor? In any case, can anyone provide some sort of interpretation of this to stop my annoyance at not understanding where this damned kitchen is!

  • This question is fine here. It's about analysing/understanding something in a work of literature. Welcome to the site!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 13, 2020 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


There is no mention of a "thin, dark, passageway", at least in the original. This description refers to the backstairs, before the landing and apartment itself.

Immediately behind the apartment threshold, there is a [dark] entry. The kitchen is separated from the entry by a partition; that is, there is no 'substantial' stand-alone kitchen per se; it's just a corner in the entrance area. This simply indicates very modest if not scanty conditions.

The door to her room is also just there: she was able to point to it right from the entrance door, inviting Raskolnikov to enter.

  • Oh, on page 219 of Dover edition it says 'it was very dark and empty in the passage, as though everything had been removed,' and so I assumed it was a thin, dark, passageway, but I guess that the kitchen could have been behind a screen, or something, in this entry area? Anyway, thanks! Mar 13, 2020 at 13:45
  • Well, yes. In the beginning of the novel where it is all described, there is a reference to "thin and dark", but this is about the backstairs. Then Raskolnikov climbs to the 4th floor and rings the bell. He also reflects on "these tiny apartments always having such [weak] bells".
    – Zeus
    Mar 15, 2020 at 23:40

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