Notes from Underground (Dostoevsky) – Thug Notes Summary and Analysis


What it do playa? This week on
Thug Notes we diggin deep with Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
This book’s nameless narrator say he one sick mothafu**a. But he ain’t got
the clap or anything like dat. The only thing wrong with this fool is he decked out with
too much consciousness. And cuz o dat, this fool miserable
and lonely as hell. After philosophozing about man, freedom, rationality and other real talk,
our 40 year old recluse start reminiscing bout some sh** that went down when he was
in his 20s. Back in the day, the Underground
Man decided to drop in on some old school homie named Zvertov who bout to throw a bangin
party. Thing is, ol Undie ain’t tight with any of Zvertov’s crew no mo.
In fact, when they see him lurkin round the party sippin too much sizzurp and
actin a fool, they start thinkin “What’s this fool smokin?” They even try to shake
him before bringing their sausage fest to the local poon palace. But the narrator steps
to these haters and tails em there anyway. When he arrives, he peeps some rank
lookin ho named Liza, takes her to a room, and shows her his Russian Czar, know what
I’m sayin? After doin the nasty, he try to
convince Liza not to be turn tricks no mo by gettin all up in her head and messin with
her heart. Later, when the Underground Man
kickin back at his spot, Liza rolls in all unannounced. She wanna talk real with him,
but all he wanna do is get uppity and preach to her. But eventually, dis fool can’t keep
his sh** together and starts weepin. After tappin dat ass on mo time, he
decide he gonna toss her a couple dolla billz to prove that all dat real talk was bullsh**
and that she ain’t nothin but a dirty skank. But Liza shows this fool who really got class
and tosses that paper before she leave. Realizing he actin a serious fool,
he runs after Liza to beg forgiveness. But she loooong gone.
This book right hur is widely considered the world’s first existentialist
novel. Years before Nietzche was jiving his angsty sh**, Dostoevsky was keepin it OG with
the creation of the Underground Man. Ever since the Under-G hit the
scene in 1864, righteous playas been using the term “Underground” to spit in the
face of the establishment and give all traditional forms of thought a big “fu** you!”
Cuz the Underground Man don’t think like the rest of society. Errybody else is
just fumble fu**in their way through life and never askin the big questions. But for
our boy, dat sh**’s the dank. And if that’s the way you wanna roll, you gotta open your
eyes so wide to the world around you that it hurts.
If you can do that, you playing a whole other game, B. Dat pain you feel when you beefin
with reality and get yo sh** wrecked creates consciousness.
Like our boy say “suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.” (234)
But barkin with the big dawgs comes at a cost: hyperconsciounsness.
When you can see every angle to a question, you can get so overwhelmed that
you don’t know whether to go left or right. So instead of choosing a direction, our man
doesn’t do a damn thing. It ain’t that
this fool lazy. He
ain’t even that. Hyperconsciousness has made this cat straight up NOTHING. Our boy
calls dis “conscious inertia.” The real joke up in here is that conciousness
only comes from the suffering you experience when tryin to connect
with other peeps. But when the big C comes creepin through your town, connecting with
others becomed damn near impossible. There’s the rub, blood.
And if that seems like a whack paradox to you, it’s all good cuz the Underground
Man is a livin breathin paradox. Our unreliable narrator say he love to be isolated, yet he
jonesin for human contact. He envies yo erryday playa, but he also proud not to be one. He
suffers, yet he finds pleasure in it. All this mess makin him so outta touch with society
that lies and dreams are all he got: So escape this life, dive in to a
good book, and hit me up next week, homies. Peace.

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