Here you will find a Notes from Underground summary (Fyodor Dostoevsky's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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The story revolves around a solitary, embittered man residing in St. Petersburg, Russia during the 1860s, a retired civil servant due to an inherited fortune. The narrative unfolds through his "notes," a jumbled and often contradictory set of memoirs or confessions outlining his estrangement from modern society. The story is split into two parts. The first, "Underground," is brief and set in the 1860s, when the protagonist is forty. This section serves as an introduction to the character's persona, clarifying his contrarian stance towards society. From the onset, the character identifies himself as a "sick, wicked, and unattractive man," whose intense self-contempt and bitterness have distorted him. Despite being well-read and highly intellectual, he attributes his wretchedness to these traits. He insists that all knowledgeable and conscious individuals should share his misery in contemporary society, having grown disenchanted with all forms of philosophy. He admires the romantic notion of "the sublime and lofty," yet recognizes its ridiculousness in his limited, mundane life. He holds deep scorn for 19th-century utilitarianism, a philosophical movement that sought to align man's desires with his best interests through mathematical formulas and logical proofs. He argues that humanity's primary desire is to exert free will, even when it contradicts their best interests. This explains his claim of deriving pleasure from his own physical ailments, a form of rebellion against the predictability of modern society. The second segment of the story, "Apropos of the Wet Snow," illustrates specific events from the protagonist's life during the 1840s when he was twenty-four. It serves as a practical demonstration of the abstract notions established in the first section. This part portrays the narrator's evolution from his youthful outlook, swayed by romanticism and ideals of "the sublime and lofty," to his mature perspective in 1860, which is purely cynical. This segment details his interactions with the various individuals in his life: soldiers, former classmates, and sex workers. His estrangement from society is so profound that he's incapable of normal interactions. His treatment of others oscillates between revulsion and apprehension, leading to his own humiliation and subsequent self-loathing. The story ends with the character's decision to cease his notes. However, a concluding footnote reveals that his notes extend for many pages beyond the chosen cutoff point, indicating his inability to follow through even with this simple decision.
Our main character, henceforth known as the Underground Man, presents himself as ill, morally corrupt, and physically unappealing. He has a liver issue that he purposely neglects out of stubbornness, despite knowing it causes no harm to others. The Underground Man, reflecting on his civil service career, acknowledges his ill behavior but views it as recompense for not taking bribes. He soon retracts this, admitting his mischief towards clients was limited to rudeness and intimidation, akin to a game. His early retirement from civil service came about due to an inheritance. His job was a means for sustenance rather than contentment. He is a man filled with contradictions, caught between wickedness, self-hatred, sentimentality, and disdain for others. This heightened awareness of his internal conflicts has rendered him inactive. He remains stuck in his miserable existence, incapable of action or true wickedness, hating yet applauding his intelligence and sensitivity. He suspects the St. Petersburg climate may be detrimental to his health. However, he decides to stay, again out of stubbornness. In a note, often included as an introduction, Dostoevsky outlines his motives for writing Notes from Underground. He clarifies the work's author is fictional, but such characters are inevitable in society. Discussing the novel's structure, the first part, “Underground,” is the introduction of the Underground Man and the reason behind his existence. The second part, “Apropos of the Wet Snow,” narrates real events from his life.
The Underground Man continues his self-portrayal. He sees himself as having an “overly conscious” mind and considers himself a “developed man”. He feels he possesses a level of consciousness exceeding what is needed for existence in the nineteenth century. In comparison, he views focused, active individuals as having just enough awareness to navigate their lives. While he claims not to belittle these individuals by implying they lack his consciousness level, he confessively relishes in his consciousness "sickness". He talks about how this consciousness, despite making him recognize “everything beautiful and lofty,” drives him towards corruption and “blight”- a predicament he has learned to enjoy in a perverse manner. This consciousness ultimately leads to inaction. The Underground Man believes his degradation is intrinsic to his character and unchangeable, an idea that brings him odd satisfaction. He also derives twisted pleasure from considering himself intellectually superior to others, despite his self-loathing. Consequently, he feels accountable for all his experiences, which ironically aggravates his unhappiness and makes his intellectual pride a source of embarrassment.
The Underground Man elaborates on his struggle to take decisive action, whether noble or retaliatory. This issue, he believes, stems from his extreme self-awareness. Unlike the typical man who acts on instincts without thought, the overly self-aware Underground Man, in his perception, is merely a mouse. When hurt, he is too aware of the nuances of retaliation to strike back with sureness or conviction. As a result, he retreats to his 'underground' to brood over the harm caused to him until it almost overwhelms him. Contrarily, a man of action pursues his intent to act until he hits a clear dead-end. At this point, the realization that further efforts are futile brings him comfort. The Underground Man, on the other hand, asserts that conscious individuals reject the established natural, scientific, and mathematical principles that others readily accept. Even with the awareness of the validity of these laws, the Underground Man refuses to comply if they displease him.
The Underground Man expounds on the beauty of suffering, showing how an educated, self-aware person can derive joy even from discomfort like a toothache. This joy isn't from the pain itself, but rather from the exaggerated reaction he shows to his loved ones, and the knowledge that his suffering is causing them annoyance. Following this, he addresses the assumed amusement of his listeners, clarifying that his humor is crude due to his lack of self-respect, asking: "[H]ow can a man of consciousness have the slightest respect for himself?"
The Underground Man reveals his intermittent feelings of remorse, compassion, and sentiment. He experiences these emotions often, and perceives them as genuine. Yet, he invariably concludes that these instances are mere pretensions and illusions. He tells us that his emotional distress throughout his life has emanated from monotony. To add some semblance of life to his existence, he tricks himself into believing he has been insulted, or compels himself to fall in love. These futile attempts at living are the Underground Man's remedy for the stagnation his consciousness inflicts on him. Reiterating his previous assertion, the Underground Man states that only those with limited perspectives can be truly proactive, as their lack of awareness enables them to believe in absolute laws that can justify their actions. On the contrary, the Underground Man lacks any substantial basis for his actions, not even sheer malice. He scrutinizes his actions to the point where the concept of cause and effect disintegrates. Furthermore, he overthinks his revolts against this stagnation—his blind shots at love or rage—until he despises himself for inducing artificial emotions, thus feels immobilized and becomes more stagnant than ever. He sees himself as an intelligent man solely because he has never managed to initiate or complete anything. In this sense, his stagnation is a sign of his consciousness.
The Underground Man contrasts laziness with inertia. He upholds laziness as a beneficial attribute: a lazy person can be positively labeled as a "lazybones." In contrast, the Underground Man's identity can only be recognized by what he lacks. He envisions himself as a "lazybones": his days would be filled with toasts to everything "beautiful and lofty." He'd convince himself that everything, even the most appalling things, were "beautiful and lofty," enabling him to drink more. He'd insist on deference to his views and expire peacefully, overindulging in food and drink, making him notably "positive" in a "negative age."
The Underground Man challenges the prevalent mid-19th century belief that a person, fully understanding his own interests, would always act favorably. Contrarily, he posits that humans consciously behave detrimentally, purely out of stubbornness. He scrutinizes the definition of “advantage,” suggesting the conventional catalog of benefits—wealth, freedom, peace—is derived from statistical and economic data. He hints at a unique “strange advantage,” to be elaborated later, which doesn't fit into these categories. This "strange advantage" sheds light on why a rational person might act against their apparent interests. Further, he asserts that human behavior cannot be forecasted by logic. He refers to historian Henry Thomas Buckle’s concept that civilization refines humans to a point where war becomes unthinkable. This theory, despite being logically consistent, is contradicted by the higher incidences of bloodshed in the supposedly civil 19th century than in more primitive eras. The Underground Man foresees that in a society governed by scientifically established moral norms, individuals would get tired and eventually rebel against logic, choosing to live according to their unpredictable free will. He believes that humans prefer to act as they wish to, rather than as dictated by reason, in any situation. The earlier referenced “strange advantage” is identified as absolute free will—even the liberty to make self-damaging decisions. For him, the crucial element is that a person's freedom to choose is unlimited—even by reason.
The Underground Man debates the supposed audience's assertion that free will can be scientifically rationalized, no different from any other human impulse. He counters that despite scientific discoveries about human will, it won't alter the reality that humans reject the idea of their free will being dictated by rules. He insists that humans will go to any lengths to validate their will's independence. Ingratitude and irrationality are the only stable traits in human behavior, he claims. Humans might even choose to lose their sanity on purpose, just to assert that their free will isn't bound by logic and they can act illogically if they wish.
The Underground Man hints that his previous accounts were meant to be sarcastic. Still, he questions whether it's beneficial for humans to act out of self-interest. While he concedes that people have a strong desire to create, he notes that they are equally driven to destroy. Unlike animals that revel in their creations, like ants in an anthill, humans only find joy in the act of creation, not the final product. People fear the void that comes after achieving their goals and are therefore terrified by the complete clarity logic provides. Subsequently, the Underground Man ponders if suffering isn't as crucial to humans as the comfort gained through reason. He proposes that suffering is the source of awareness. Despite his earlier grievances about consciousness, he now considers it superior to reason. Reason may resolve global issues, but it leaves humans idle. Consciousness, on the other hand, paralyzes humans but gives them the chance to "occasionally whip" themselves, adding some excitement to their lives.
The Underground Man derides the infatuation for the concept of the crystal palace, a symbol of reason and indestructibility. His fear stems from his inability to mock or ridicule it. He further states that if the palace were a mere chicken coop, it would serve as shelter, but he would never elevate it to a palace. He desires the splendor of a crystal palace, unwilling to settle for less—like ordinary city lodgings. If his desires are disregarded, he still has his refuge in the underground. Abruptly, the Underground Man wishes us to disregard his prior dismissal of the crystal palace. He contemplates whether his frustration stems from having nothing to mock. He questions his longing for grandeur like crystal palaces when ordinary apartments should satisfy him, suspecting his desire might be a cruel trick. He notes that people like him, who inhabit the underground, once they commence speaking, do not cease, despite years of silence.
The concluding part in the "Underground" section commences with the Underground Man's assertion that the "conscious inertia" of the underground exceeds the life of the average person. Yet, he finds himself in a constant state of envy towards the ordinary man. Almost immediately, he claims he has been untruthful and that everything he has written is not a true reflection of his beliefs, despite having thought so at the time. An imaginary audience then berates him for his inconsistency, lack of honesty, refusal to endorse his own thoughts, and general moral decay. Responding to the supposed audience, the Underground Man reveals he fabricated their responses. He questions whether they are genuinely naive enough to think he would allow these notes to go public. He ponders why he even addresses them when he has no intentions of letting them view his notes. He reveals that his notes are a way of facing his buried thoughts and recollections. The supposed audience is just a writing technique. He comes to the conclusion that he might use this fictional audience out of fear or to "behave more decently" in his writing. Regarding his reasons to write, the Underground Man sees writing as a therapeutic activity, providing an escape from his lingering memories. It alleviates his monotony and gives him a sense of purpose. He transitions to the next segment of Notes from Underground with the sight of the dreary, wet snow outside his window. This sight triggers an unforgettable story from his past, compelling him to share his tale "apropos of the wet snow."
As a 24-year-old, the Underground Man is already struggling with depression and social anxiety. His work life is clouded by self-loathing, and he alternates between feeling superior to his dull peers and acutely inferior. Despite feeling alienated, he sometimes momentarily integrates with his coworkers, attributing his usual aloofness to Romanticism. The Underground Man elaborates on the concept of Russian Romanticism. Unlike the idealistic Romanticism of Germany or France, it emphasizes clarity of perception and practicality. A Russian Romantic maintains a balance between upholding ideals and self-preservation, exhibiting a peculiar mix of high-minded honesty and sly cunning. Returning to his personal narrative, the Underground Man reveals his reliance on reading as a distraction from his inner chaos. His need for contrast and contradiction leads him to frequent seedy, disreputable places for secret debaucheries. One night, after witnessing a tavern brawl, he yearns for a similar encounter. However, when an officer dismissively shoves him aside, the Underground Man's lack of moral courage prevents him from responding, fearing public humiliation. He becomes fixated on revenge, resorting to stalking the officer. His plan is to simply refuse to step aside when they cross paths, forcing the officer to acknowledge him. To achieve this, he borrows money to buy a new wardrobe, hoping to present himself as an equal. Despite several failed attempts, he eventually succeeds in walking into the officer, who doesn't even acknowledge the encounter. Initially triumphant, he later feels a familiar sense of shame, reflecting on the officer's fate and wondering about his current victims.
Once the euphoria of his triumph fades, the Underground Man is hit with guilt and remorse, similar to his experiences in "Underground". To avoid these negative emotions, he immerses himself in vibrant, captivating dreams where he turns into a venerable hero. All his sarcasm melts into "faith, hope, and love," and he daydreams of a future filled with exciting ventures. Occasionally, amidst his dissipation, the Underground Man experiences glimpses of the "beautiful and lofty", which contrast sharply with his debauchery, leading to a bittersweet agony. He experiences love in his dreams, yet he doesn't feel the need to incorporate it into his reality. His dreams typically end with dramatic moments borrowed from literature. His dream scenarios mix elements from Napoleon's life and Lord Byron's Manfred, a poem about a moody, arrogant hero. He feels embarrassed as he thinks his audience might find his dreams common and vulgar, and he resents having to defend his fantasies. After three months of daydreaming, the intense euphoria makes the Underground Man yearn for human connection. He is compelled to "rush into society." His only social engagement is with his department head, Anton Antonych Setochkin. He can attend tea parties at Setochkin's place on Tuesdays with Setochkin's daughters and a couple of other invitees. However, he often feels stuck during these social interactions, unable to contribute to the conversation. But once he returns home, he feels satiated with social interaction for some time. One particular Thursday, his loneliness pushes him to visit Simonov, an old schoolmate, instead of waiting for the next Tuesday. Even though he equates his school days to "penal servitude" and has severed ties with most of his classmates, he maintains a relationship with Simonov, considering him to be more open-minded and truthful. However, the Underground Man is unsure whether his presence disgusts Simonov.
The Underground Man finds himself in Simonov's flat along with two other old schoolmates. They are arranging a send-off dinner for Zverkov, a former classmate who's now a military officer. Zverkov was a figure of envy for the Underground Man during their school years, being attractive, self-assured, affluent, and well-liked. However, the Underground Man saw him as crass and detested his braggart nature. Since school, Zverkov has seen success in his military career and love life. He now disregards the Underground Man entirely. Simonov's other two guests, Ferfichkin and Trudolyubov, admire Zverkov. Despite being snubbed by the trio, the Underground Man invites himself to the farewell dinner, hoping his monetary contribution will gain their respect. Simonov begrudgingly allows him to attend. When the others leave, Simonov makes an excuse to escape, and the Underground Man leaves awkwardly. Later, the Underground Man regrets his actions, aware he wasn't wanted at the dinner, despises Zverkov, and can't afford the meal. But he knows he will still attend. It's as if the more inappropriate it would be for him to be there, the more drawn he is to go. He decides to misuse the money meant for his servant, Apollon, on the dinner. The Underground Man recollects his school years that night. As an orphan sent to school by distant relatives, he was ridiculed for being different. He despised his peers who were success-obsessed and mocked everything fair. To avoid their scorn, he focused on academics, earning respect from teachers, and gaining knowledge. He had one friend but treated him poorly. Post school, he cut off all connections with his past and even left his trained profession for a modest career. The following day, the Underground Man spends his time anxiously anticipating the dinner. He imagines it as a life-altering event. A stain on his pants worries him as he fears it will make him look ungraceful to his dinner companions. He envisions their contempt in vivid detail, bemoaning the mundanity of his plight. However, he aims to show his bravery to the others, fantasizing about winning them over with his wit. Simultaneously, he asserts that his concerns are trivial. Anxiously waiting until his clock strikes five, he spends his last pennies on a carriage to the dinner.
The Underground Man reaches the Hotel de Paris late, yet he is the first guest present. He's uncomfortable as he waits, because he feels the waiters are judging him. The other guests arrive with Zverkov. The Underground Man is offended by Zverkov's superior attitude. The other guests are polite but make unkind remarks about his income and looks. The Underground Man defends himself fiercely, angering the others. Trudolyubov hints that the Underground Man is not welcome. Overwhelmed, the Underground Man silently consumes sherry as the others enjoy themselves. He feels out of place and contemplates leaving. Eventually, he offends Zverkov with a pointless speech. Ferfichkin threatens him, leading to a duel challenge from the Underground Man. They all mock him, assuming he's drunk. The Underground Man suppresses his feelings again, but secretly desires to reconcile with the others. The Underground Man observes the others as they drink and converse. He walks around the dining room noisily for three hours, but they pay him no attention. He reflects on his self-inflicted humiliation, believing that the others can't comprehend his sensitivity and sophistication. He reacts disdainfully when they occasionally acknowledge him. When the others prepare to leave at 11 pm, the Underground Man pleads for Ferfichkin's forgiveness. He promises to let Ferfichkin shoot first in the duel, and to intentionally miss his own shot. The others respond with derision and leave, intending to visit a brothel. The Underground Man forces Simonov to lend him money so he can join them. Simonov reluctantly complies and leaves. The Underground Man resolves to force the others to appreciate him, by hitting Zverkov if necessary.
The Underground Man hires a local coachman to speed him to a brothel, intending to regain his honor by assaulting Zverkov. As he travels, he envisions the ensuing altercation at the brothel. He foresees himself striking Zverkov and receiving a beating in return from everyone present, even Olympia, a prostitute who previously mocked him. He believes he will inevitably end up dueling with Zverkov. Despite realizing this will cost him his job, he contemplates how he'll afford the necessary weaponry and secure a second. Lacking close friends to request, he convinces himself that anyone he asks would feel obligated to assist. His journey is fraught with doubt, despite his urgings for the coachman to hasten. Thinking further, he decides that if Zverkov declines the duel, he'll bite him and willingly face exile to Siberia, only to nobly pardon Zverkov upon his return. Suddenly, he realizes his narrative mirrors popular Romantic tales and contemplates abandoning his quest. However, he ultimately chooses to proceed, driven by a sense of fate and inevitability. His impatience leads him to strike the coachman as the carriage plows through the snow, making his impending confrontation with Zverkov seem unavoidable. Upon reaching the familiar brothel, he finds the parlor deserted, realizing his companions have each paired off with different women. He ponders his next move, pacing the room until he's interrupted by a serious-faced, young prostitute. The Underground Man, intrigued by her, decides to sleep with her. He catches sight of his disheveled state in a mirror but decides he doesn't mind if she's repulsed by him. He even prefers it.
Awakening in a dilapidated room after a night with a young prostitute, the Underground Man is flooded with remorse. The woman beside him, looking at him in a detached manner, raises feelings of revulsion within him towards the concept of sex devoid of love. They engage in awkward silence, which he breaks by asking her name, Liza. His inquiries about her past are met with resistance and he spins a tale of a prostitute who died alone, followed by a sermon on the disgrace of her profession. Liza is visibly perturbed by his narrative and this affects the Underground Man greatly, making him feel a sense of power over her. Concurrently, he finds himself genuinely intrigued by her and his own emotional stability begins to wobble. He speaks emotively about familial affection and the hypothetical love he would feel for his own daughter. When Liza insinuates that her own family may have forced her into prostitution, he extols the virtues of marriages and the joy it can bring. He concludes his monologue expressing his adoration for children and presents a heartwarming image of a young couple with a chubby, blushing baby, hoping this will convince Liza to abandon her profession. However, he fears ridicule from her once he has finished speaking. Liza's eventual response is less than favorable; she thinks his monologue sounds staged and bookish. He is hurt by her reaction. Looking back, he convinces himself that her derision was a protective mechanism and that his words did touch her. However, at that moment, he is yet to come to this realization and is consumed by a “wicked feeling”.
The Underground Man counters Liza's claim that his words are rehearsed, insisting they stem from his intense reaction to the deplorable condition of her life as a prostitute. He confesses that he finds her situation repulsive, but in another life, he could potentially fall for her and give her the dignity not afforded to a woman of her occupation. He reminds her of the grim reality - the loss of youth, innocence, and health, and the loneliness and disrespect she will encounter in death. Caught up in his harangue, he takes time to notice that Liza is sobbing uncontrollably. He is shocked and begins to prepare his exit. Before he leaves, he hands her his address after lighting a candle and seeing her "half-crazed smile". She promises to visit him. Before his departure, she excitedly shows him a love letter she received from a medical student she met at a dance, oblivious of her profession. The Underground Man interprets the letter as Liza's proof that she isn't just a degraded prostitute but someone who has experienced genuine love. He leaves silently, confused and worn out. Nonetheless, the "nasty truth" is coming into focus.
The next day, the Underground Man regrets his soft demeanor towards Liza and his decision to share his address with her. Simultaneously, he's focused on regaining the respect of Zverkov and Simonov. He borrows money from Anton Antonych to clear his debt with Simonov, asserting it's due to a night out with friends. He pens an apology letter to Simonov, maintaining a friendly tone. He takes pride in leveraging his education and intelligence to navigate sticky situations, nearly persuading himself that he's nonchalant about the previous night's events. The Underground Man takes a stroll amidst the bustling crowd but guilt and confusion increase within him. He fears Liza visiting him and judging his ramshackle apartment, impolite servant, and his attempts at politeness. He recalls his inappropriate behavior towards her but also convinces himself that he wanted to evoke noble thoughts in her. After Liza doesn't visit, he spends days in a mix of fear and expectation of her arrival. Despite cursing her innocence and sentimental nature, he dreams scenarios where he rescues her from her life of prostitution, educates her, and makes her fall for him. These fantasies end with him inviting her into his home, but also in self-loathing. His frustrations are compounded by the insolence of his elderly servant, Apollon. Apollon's vanity and pedantry irk him, and he believes Apollon considers him inferior. He is particularly annoyed by Apollon's affected lisp and resents paying him for doing nothing. However, he feels he can't dismiss Apollon due to the latter's perceived attachment to the apartment. Attempting to assert control, the Underground Man withholds Apollon's wages, hoping to compel him to ask for his due. But Apollon's repeated sighs and stares wear him down, and he usually ends up paying him. This time though, confronted by Apollon's gaze, he flies into a rage, taunts Apollon with his wages but refuses to hand them over, leading to Apollon's threats of police intervention. He blames Liza for his predicament with Apollon. Just as he's about to strike Apollon, Liza unexpectedly walks in. Overwhelmed with embarrassment, the Underground Man retreats to his bedroom until Apollon informs him that he has a visitor.
Liza attempts to leave, assuming she's bothered the Underground Man, but is stopped by his sudden outburst. He confesses he wasn't trying to rescue her from her life of prostitution but used “pathetic words” to lower her, much like Zverkov and his friends did to him during dinner. He admits his aim was to dominate her but gave her his address in a moment of vulnerability. He's been anxious for the past three days about her seeing him in his shabby attire and realizing he's not the hero she thought he was. He resents her for seeing his lowly living conditions and bearing witness to his emotional outburst. Liza is initially heartbroken at the start of his tirade but eventually realizes how unhappy he is, leading to a surge of sympathy. She embraces him and bursts into tears, which prompts him to throw himself on the sofa and sob for a quarter of an hour. The Underground Man soon feels remorse, seeing the tables have turned: in the brothel, it was Liza who wept while he lectured, but now she has become the hero and he the “humiliated creature”. When he rises from the sofa, he seeks to regain control over Liza. She misinterprets his bitterness and desire for vengeance as true passion, and embraces him.
The Underground Man is in a frantic state, observing Liza from a wall crevice in his room. Liza comprehends that his interest in her stems from a need to belittle and control her rather than genuine affection. He expresses his inability to love, viewing it as a way to torment others, and fails to recognize Liza's feelings for him as genuine love rather than a response to his grandiose speeches. His desire for tranquility intensifies as he struggles with the burdens of existence and social interaction. When Liza decides to leave, the Underground Man spitefully shoves money into her hand, seeking to degrade her further. He insists his need to disparage her wasn't genuine, but a literary-inspired act which he later regrets. After Liza's departure, he discovers the money discarded on the table, indicating she left it behind. The realization of her noble act leaves him stunned and he chases after her in vain. He longs to apologize and claims he won't forget this incident. He then convinces himself that his insult will cleanse and uplift Liza, while simultaneously feeling embarrassed for focusing on the literary value of his thoughts instead of Liza's well-being. The Underground Man, reflecting back, feels his recollection of events isn't entirely accurate. He contemplates ending his notes, questioning their necessity, describing them as "corrective punishment" rather than "literature." His reclusive lifestyle doesn't captivate interest, particularly as an antihero who fears life. He argues his readers share his issues but are afraid to confront them. He proposes he may be more alive than his active readers. He believes that contemporary men shy away from the realities of their lives, favoring abstract ideas instead. He, therefore, decides to cease writing his notes. A final note by Dostoevsky reveals the Underground Man failed to maintain this vow, continuing to write obsessively. Dostoevsky ends the novel here, deeming it a fitting conclusion.