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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Inna D. Gazheva
  • Pages: 137–157
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research
  • DOI:
  • EDN:

  • Year of publication: 2022
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Gazheva, I.D. “‘I Don’t Like Sunsets’: The Semantics of the Symbol of the Sunset in Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent.” Dostoevsky’s Novel The Adolescent: Current State of Research. Editor-in-Chief T.A. Kasatkina. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 137–157. (In Russ.)

Information about the author:

Inna D. Gazheva, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Illarion Sventsitskiy Department of Slavic Philology, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Universytetska 1, 79000 Lviv, Ukraine.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The article is the continuation of a study on the symbol of sunset in Dostoevsky’s works. Developing the idea of the ambivalence of the Unfading Light, the author shows how this idea is revealed in the novel The Adolescent. The originality of its disclosure is determined by the diegetic form of narration and the age-related psychology of the character-narrator, which is unique for Dostoevsky’s novels. Inclined to attach an exaggerated importance to his own thoughts and feelings, the adolescent captures and analyzes in detail his reactions to the light of the setting sun. This makes it possible to trace their dynamics, which corresponds to the dynamics of his growing up. It is noted that the semantics of the symbol of sunset is explicated not only in monologic episodes but also in the scenes that are seen through the eyes of Arkady. In these episodes, the semantics of the symbol is revealed indirectly: being hidden for the characters themselves (including the diegetic narrator), it is revealed to the reader through the description of their external actions and reactions. At the same time, the reader is prepared to comprehend the symbolic meaning of the image through the reflections of Arkady, who definitely does not like the sunset in the first part of the novel and is able to joyfully react to it after the encounter with Makar. The appearance of this character in the novel significantly increases its “luminosity”: all scenes and monologic episodes, which reveal the ambivalence of the symbols of sunset, are concentrated in the third part of the novel and prepare that major chord of universal reconciliation and incipient transformation that sounds in the finale.

  • Keywords: symbol, ambivalence, narrator, “slanting rays of the setting sun”.


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