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However, viewing her primarily in relation to her profession, rather than her faith, as one normally tends to, has given me a different perspective. This is nothing like a fully worked out idea, but it may have possibilities…. University of California Press, The title tells you how important the image of Sonia is in discussions of the topic of prostitution in Russia, which makes it slightly curious that Dostoevsky scholarship has not really given much attention to the question.
The picture Laurie Bernstein paints is of a battle between prostitutes and police-medical authorities. This can hardly be seen as a surprise, given the horrifying-sounding regime of health examinations prostitutes were subjected to. More to the point, the yellow ticket replaced all other identity documents, which not only created difficulties in practical matters such as obtaining accommodation, but effectively made it impossible for women to take up any other occupation — in other words, if you were working part-time as a prostitute to supplement your income but got caught and were forced to register, it became your full-time career.
David McDuff, Penguin, , p. Assumedly on one of her early ventures out onto the street, she was seen or caught by, or tried to, solicit someone in or connected to the house.
One might simply assume, as indeed Bernstein does p. Bearing this in mind, it seems to me that although Marmeladov depicts the process of registration as involuntary, his vagueness rather implies the opposite. Bernstein points out that the yellow ticket was tantamount to civil death p. And it seems to me that if we view Sonia as someone who, having being forced into this situation, can see no alternative other than to heap shame upon herself, and put herself in a position from which she cannot return, because she feels she has done something irrevocable, she makes a lot more sense as a character with faith in God than the rather fantastical holy sinner we are accustomed to thinking about.
Time for a reinterpretation, I think. Thanks for the essay. I googled out Sonya and yellow card to understand what it was, and found your interesting interpretation. Very, very interesting read and I must admit that I found the interpretation to be rather inspiring.