Poor People, Dostoevsky’s first published fictional work, was written in the form of an epistolary novel. It tells of the hopeless love of Makar Alexievitch Dievushkin, a poor, timid clerk, for Barbara Alexievna Dobroselova, a poor young girl who lives across the way from him. Despite Dievushkin’s frantic efforts to save Barbara, interspersed with the clerk’s despairing bouts of drunkenness, Barbara is married to a wealthy landowner who carries her away. The work is remarkable for the vivid characterization, especially of Dievushkin, solely by means of his letters to Barbara and her answers to him.
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