Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Underground Man and the Officer

The one thing that really stood out to me while reading tonight is the need for attention that the underground man possesses (or at least used to). His obsession with this officer is a little crazy. After the incident in the bar when the officer does not pick a fight with him, the Underground man proceeds to basically stalk this officer for a casual two years. He decides to then write him a letter, challenging him to a "duel," but then decides not to send it. He eventually comes up with the whole plan to bump into the officer at the park because the underground man claims that he wants to feel socially equal to the officer. (I kind of think it's more about his need for attention, though). He extensively prepares for this and finally accomplishes it after many attempts. The underground man then says that he still thinks about the officer fourteen years later. I do kind of feel bad for the guy because he's so down on himself, but I think he also needs to learn how to deal with life and get over things. He actually admits in the very beginning that the inability to get over things (his over-conciousness) is his problem, so at least he knows what he needs to work on.

5 comments:

Belin Manalle said...

I definitely agree with that, Madison. I think the Underground Man is more or less obsessed with attention from other people. I guess because he is so lonely and miserable on a daily basis that once he gets a taste of human interaction he wants as much of it as he can get. I think that's why he gets so angry with Liza as well. Although she is giving him attention, the underground man just wants more and more of it and he becomes unsatisfied with the amount of attention she is actually giving him. I believe that that is the reason that he treats her so badly. He acts like he dislikes her but in reality he is just unhappy because he wants more from her.

madison kahn said...

I think it's correct to say that he gets angry when he doesn't receive the attention he wants. This point ties in with the part about him and his old school mates too. When he goes to visit them, they make it clear that they are not interested in his company. He basically forces himself upon them by showing up at the house and then inviting himself to dinner. Because he doesn't get the attention he wants, he becomes extremely angry, which is why he tries to "humiliate" Liza. I think his life is really just an endless circle of anger and self pity. I'm under the impression that if he really wanted to, he could totally prevent his unhappiness.

Anonymous said...

I think his search for attention definitely goes along with his quest to end the emptiness that he feels inside. Like we talked about in class, the attention he longs for is not always good. He wants attention from his school friends and Lisa because he wants to feel like he is well liked and belongs, but he also searches for conflict, such as with the instance at the bar and with the officer. I think he just wants to feel some sort of emotion and some sort of power. He believes that, if someone looks at him as a friend, he has manipulated them and therefore is superior. If someone does something horrible to him, on the other hand, he has the ability to feel like he has the right to take revenge, which also puts him in control in life. He is searching for power and control, and he hasn't realized that you can't have control over anyone, which is why he is repeatedly disappointed and unhappy.

---- Madison Cummings

Jack Zheng said...

I feel like the Underground Man’s only way of finding fulfillment in life is having control over others as well. He is extremely delusional in that he feels as if he is very intelligent while in reality he has no real world experience in interacting with any kind of people. He then blames others for his failures because he has the idea that he can control others through his intelligence.
But another important thing that we need to keep in mind is that the Underground Man certainly has debilitating mental diseases that prevent him from putting down his pride and learning how to actually talk and act like a normal human being.

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I also think that his quest for attention stems from his feeling of emptiness inside, but I feels that this is more than UM just wanting attention, I feel like this is his spiteful nature taking over again as well. The fact that he wants attention from people, especially yhose he sees as above him is the driving factor of his spite. This spite once again leads him to be destructive, as he buys clothes he can't at all afford just to try to seem on a better level (he does that same kind of thing with the Simonov thing.) His spite then leads him to want to do to the officer as he did to him by pretending to not notice him and then bum him to him - as sort of a revenge plot even though the cop could not care less. He thinks he has succeeded at putting the cop in the same position that he was in, but in both situations, everything that was happening was only going on in his head and nowhere else. UM really needs some spacial awareness.