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She is a smart, decent girl, in desperate straits, and he condescends to her, lectures her, fears her.Will she come to him at home, make a man out of him? Bourgeois sentimentalist that I am, I wanted the two of them to save each other, even if only for a few years, but, if I wanted that to happen, I could not have been reading as carefully as I should have been.In the first part of the novel, the underground man, after introducing himself, complains, in his ejaculatory, stop-and-start way, about the spectacular Crystal Palace built in London (this was back in 1851).
Individualism as a value includes the right to screw yourself up. He recounts some strange incidents from his social life.
What about wealthy liberals in favor of higher taxes on the rich?
Do people making terrible life choices—say, poor women having children with unreliable men—act in their best interests? What if our own interest, as we construe it, consists of refusing what others want of us? It can’t even be known, except by novelists like Dostoevsky.
Having given us a rant, the underground man offers experience. For years, he harbored a grievance against an officer who had casually picked him up and moved him out of the way in a tavern.
The moment was nothing, but his resentment knew no bounds.