The Brothers Karamazov

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Ilyushka’s House

The house is full of boys who have come to sit with the ailing Ilyusha.  The scene is difficult to bear:  Ilyusha’s father is sick with terror that Ilyusha will die; his mother understands nothing; his poor hunchback sister is wracked by the pity that eats her heart.  Everyone but mama knows that Ilyusha might die, and everyone is tormented by grief and fear.

 

And yet, every now and then joy moves through the room, cutting though the gloom like a ray of sunlight.  Clearly the joy comes from love.  The boys love Ilyusha — that’s why they’ve come — and in their love they find an answer to the terrible suffering that has befallen this poor household.

 

Every now and then the boys whisper to one another.  They are, in their own way, taking up the eternal questions.  What they don’t know is that these questions are going to haunt them all of their lives…