Teach English in Mexico


A list of great crime and punishment essay topics

Yes, students still read Dostoevsky’s tome Crime and Punishment. Yes, students still write essays about this monstrous book. The book is still selected for classrooms because of the variety of themes, the character development, and the history attached to the book. While you probably will not see this book on the reading list for ordinary literature courses, you could see it on the list for advanced courses. The instructors will expect students to read and understand the book, then write a thoughtful, interesting essay. If you need some topics, here are a few that you can use for Crime and Punishment:

  • What makes a crime a crime? Explain.
  • Is an internal or external punishment more effective? Why?
  • Do the characters behave in realistic ways? Explain.
  • What does it mean to die with dignity? Did Svidrigailov die with dignity?
  • What is the value of freedom?
  • How are women viewed in the book? Explain.
  • Include Ample Support for Your Topic
  • When you select a topic for an essay for Crime and Punishment, you should be sure to support your ideas with thorough examples from the text. If you are unable to support the topic, then you should choose one that you understand better. The text is so large that you do not want to spend hours searching through the book for support for a topic that you selected without much thought.

  • Take Note of the Page Number
  • After you have found the support, be sure to note the page number. When you write literary essays, you always need to cite the source, which includes the page number. No student wants to dig through a text more than once for support for a detail and unfortunately, too many students forget this simple task.

  • Choose an Argument that You Can Actually Argue
  • When you are presented with a topic in the form of the question, it is always in your best interest to include the question in your thesis statement. For example, if you choose to write about Svidrigailov and whether or not he died with dignity, you should include Svidrigailov’s name and a phrase about death and dignity. You might not believe that he did die with dignity and there is nothing wrong with proving the negative side of the question. In many cases, the negative side of the argument tends to be more interesting to write and to read.


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