Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Underground Audience

I think it’s interesting how although he claims he’s writing only for himself out of boredom and to release his pent up feelings hoping for relief, he considers the audience. He claims it makes it easier to write and keeps his ideas flowing, but he is also trying to justify his behavior and ideas. It is obvious (to me at least) that at times, the audience is a projection of his own fears of being either misunderstood, or considered stupid/foolish, or of being rejected and ignored.  The audience represents society’s opinions too.  I think he is trying to be honest with himself and come to terms with the things he doesn’t like about himself/ his actions; however his preoccupation, anticipation, consciousness of the audience’s reactions probably suppresses his complete divulgence the truth…his fears and insecurities. He writes that he addresses the audience so that he’ll “behave more decently when [he’s] writing things down.” I interpret this to mean that he’ll tell the story in the best light.  He’ll change the story he is actually telling himself to make him feel better about it and maybe the new story will become the new truth.

1 comment:

Cassidy George said...

I agree with Laura that the audience in The Underground Man plays an important mirroring role. The Underground Man's consideration of the audience's feelings and consequential effects on his writing demonstrates Dostoyevsky's powerful use of metatext. The manner in which the Underground Man views the audience serves as a mode of self-reflection, a process in which Dostoevsky's character analyzes himself and his own recordings. To extend this metaphor, I believe that Dostoevsky employs this mirror-like audience in order to strengthen his own writing. By throwing liberal ideas around an audience (or society as a whole), Dostoevsky inspired a movement of freer thinking in 19th century Russia.