In which Dostoevsky appears to learn from his error…

Upon further reflection, there are two novels by Dostoevsky in which the ending involves a main character going off to prison. In Crime & Punishment we are explicitly told that yes, Raskolnikov does attain redemption by his stay in prison. In The Brothers Karamazov though, we are not told what happens to Mitya when he sent off to Siberia. It appears that in the decade-and-a-half between the two books, Dostoevsky decided that the redemption of his criminals must be left ambiguous.

The reply to this might be that The Brothers Karamazov was conceived of as the first book in series. I’m not sure though what Dostoevsky had in mind for Mitya. One of the things that I do find striking though was that he revealed in his personal correspondence (as reported by Edvard Radzinsky in his biography of Alexander II) that he planned to have Alyosha become radicalized and, in the final book, assassinate the Czar. Even if we got a redeemed Mitya out of subsequent novels, it would be at the expense of a fallen Alyosha. In the same correspondence though, Dostoevsky appears to believe that this fall would be inevitable for Alyosha’s type in 1870s Russia.