Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Karen Kornweibel

Committee Members

Dr. Mark Holland, Dr. Michael Jones


The majority of the academic discourse surrounding Dostoevsky and his epic, The Brothers Karamazov, has been directed toward the philosophic and religious implications of his characters. Largely overlooked, however, is the theme of laceration. In the greater scope of laceration stands the topic of self-laceration. Self-laceration refers to the practice of causing harm to the self in a premeditated and specifically emotionally destructive fashion. The cause of this experience is varied and expressed in as many ways as there are individuals. The struggle in the Russian psyche between viewing the world as fatalistic or as more of an existential experience finds resolution through self-laceration. By consciously choosing actions that will lead to an abject state, the characters take fate into their own hands. This thesis will explore the themes of self-laceration in a number of characters’ narratives and demonstrate that by utilizing emotional self-destruction they find a modicum of control.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.