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4 life lessons you can learn from 19th century classic novels


Lamhamedi Cherradi Kenza.

It is well known that the best way to learn is through experience, but there is no harm in following some old words of wisdom that can save you the trouble. So here are 4 life lessons from the best 19th century classic long novels that truly inspired and changed my perception towards life.

1. The Brother Karamazov

Dostoyevsky is well known for his strong belief in Christian faith but nonetheless he freely expressed his critics on it on several occasions.

The most explicit one was in his brilliant novel the Brothers Karamazov while explaining his view on the concept of suffering, for him agony is a part of the human nature; no matter how comfortable we are in life we will always find something missing and focus all our attention to it.

Which is why the suffering never really disappears, we just shift the subject of our agony from one thing to another throughout our lives. This made Dostoevsky rethink all the Christian ideologies that makes you think that by following a bunch of instructions you get to live the happy and pain-free life, when in reality it is only natural and healthy to always thrive for a goal that you set for yourself.

Life Lesson: Don’t beat yourself too much for your failures and accept your pain as a step towards success.

2. Pride and Prejudice

Austen, through her novels, tries to reform humanity in so many levels. Pride and Prejudice starts off with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth hating each other and they realize after a while that they are in love.

Now that’s so different from other love stories where the main characters get along from the start magically, it’s a myth that Jane Austen saw to rectify in her writings, and instead she teaches the readers the concept of balance; each character should have to teach the other some lessons and benefit him or her in life in order to get the relationship between them, succeed.

If one of them is passive and intellectually impaired then the other one will tend to think of himself as a superior in the relationship which would only cause despair and an inevitable split.

Life Lesson: Be with someone who wants to improve you and is open to be improved by you. 

3. Crime and Punishment

Fyodor is really the father of Russian literature, his beautiful lucid prose that transcends to our everyday life made it easy for him to convince the readers with his exceptional philosophical ideas.

In his novel Crime and Punishment, he got us all sympathizing with Raskolnikov; a student who killed two women for money. It may sound so cruel but Dostoevsky made his character so familiar and even charming. A profile that you’d cross in the street and admire or even aspire to be like.

Raskolnikov justified his crime by implying that the rich women was so evil, harming, ignorant and ugly, on the other hand he was handsome and intelligent, he had it all except the money so he sees this situation as an injustice.

The point is not romanticizing a murderer, in fact the author wanted to teach us sympathy for others, no matter what they did. Because we may see them as monsters but they are so similar to us than what we’d like to believe, we all have devilish ideas inside of us but we manage to seal them in.

Also Raskolnikov did so much cruelty because to him it really sounded like a fair judgment to impose and just when his judgment didn’t make any sense to him anymore he redeemed himself and turned to the police.

Life Lesson: Nobody should be excluded from the circle of sympathy, even the most cruel ones because just like us they are fighting their own battle.

4. The Death of Ivan Ilyesh

Ilyesh is a proud judge who falls ill with a fatal disease, the doctors inform him that he doesn’t have much time to live and only then he starts learning about his true self.

How he is sensitive for nature and how much sympathy he got for others. He also noticed the reaction of his family who were worried about their finances after his death and on the other hand the reaction of his manservant who shows his little but meaningful acts of kindness.

Tolstoy through his books wants to explain that no matter how cold and superficial a person can be, he has got a massive human potential in him but he should wake up to it before it’s too late and to do so, mortality should continuously be in front of our eyes and inspire kindness, compassion and love for others. 

Life Lesson: Live your life with gratitude and enjoy every minute of it but always remember to discover new traces of your own personality.

This article is written by Kenza Lamhamedi Cherradi as a guest post.

Kenzi is a young writer from Morocco, he loves reading and mostly write book reviews,  his favorite kind of books are Russian psychological literature and English long novels. 

See more of his book reviews by following him on Instagram.

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