The Brothers Karamazov in Eight Memes

“Portrait of Fedor Dostoyevsky.” Vasily Perov, 1872.

Michael Bird
Feedback and Editorials Editor

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov is a cornerstone of classic literature centering on the emotional, philosophical turmoil and legal fallout of the murder and robbery of the Karamazov patriarch, Fyodor. This 700+ page saga focuses on themes of faith, morality, and freedom in small-town Russia.

And we’ve cut this epitome of Russian literary excellence down to eight memes. 

What follows is either the ultimate dumbing down of a timeless classic, or the best thing to happen to time-poor bookworms since Cliffs Notes went online.

Either way, scroll down for pretty much all you need to know about the story, themes and characters of a book which Albert Einstein called “the supreme summit of all literature.”

Leonardo DiCaprio in Great Gatsby holding up champagne glass at party meme. The text reads "I have 4 sons, Dmitri, Ivan, Alyosha, and Smerdyakov, by 3 different women. And I hate every single one of them."
A version of the Change My Mind meme. Man in blue sweater on college campus with a table, coffee cup in hand. The table sign reads "Change My Mind" at the bottom. The text labels the man as Ivan. The text above "Change My Mind" reads How can God exist if he allows children to be mauled to death by dogs?
A variation of the impossible choice/two red button choice meme. The first panel is two red buttons. The left button says "Fyodor, who is old and rich." The right button says "His son, Dmitri, who is kinda hot." The superhero chooses both buttons. In the second panel, the superhero smiles and gives a thumbs-up. The superhero is labeled as Grushenka.
A variation of the woman pointing at a cat meme. The left-hand panel shows a blond woman pointing and screaming. She is labeled The Grand Inquisitor. The text over the left-hand panel reads "Feed men first, then ask them to be virtuous." The right-hand panel shows a cat at the dinner table with a disinterested face labeled Jesus. The text over the left-hand panel reads "C'mere and let me give you a kiss."
A variation of clown makeup meme. In the first panel the man is wearing just white face makeup. The text in panel 1 reads Dmitri steals money from his ex, so he can elope with new girlfriend Grushenka. The second panel shows the man putting on clown eyes and drawing on clown lips. The second panel text reads his dad Fyodor is murdered and all his money stolen. The third panel is the man putting on the clown wig. The third panel text reads The police find cash on Dmitri. The final panel shows the man in full clown makeup. The fourth panel text reads They charge Dmitri with killing his dad.
A variation of the Office meme. The top panel shows two sheets of paper. The left-hand paper reads I wanted to kill my dad. The right-hand picture reads I have killed my dad. The bottom text of the panel reads Corporate needs you to find the differences between this picture and this picture. The second panel shows Pam labeled as Russian Justice. Pam says They're the same picture.
A variation on a Despicable Me meme. Gru is labeled as Ivan in the first panel. He is standing in front of an easel. The text on the easel reads "I preach that in a world without God, all is permitted." The text changed in the second panel to read "My family listens, including my step-brother Smerdyakov." The text changes again in the third panel to read "Smerdyakov believes in my idea that good and evil are irrelevant." The fourth panel shows Gru looking at the easel with concern. The text on the easel in the fourth panel reads "Smerdyakov confesses to killing our dad, because he says in a world without God, all is permitted."
A variation on the Finding Neverland movie meme. The first panel shows a crying little boy labeled "Ilyusha". The text on the first panel reads "When I die, put breadcrumbs on my grave." The second panel shows Johnny Depp looking at the boy. The second panel text reads "so sparrows will eat them, and I will not be alone." The third panel shows Johnny Depp hugging the boy. Johnny Depp has the label "Alyosha." The third panel text reads "I lovey you boys."


Which literary classics should we memeify next? Follow us on Twitter @BanditFiction and we’ll turn your favorite works of literature into expressions of our modern world.

About the Contributor

Michael Bird (he/him) is the interim Feedback and Editorials Manager at Bandit Fiction. He is a Romania-based writer and journalist, with stories published by Bristol Short Story Prize, Storgy, The University of Huddersfield Press and Bandit Fiction, among others. As a journalist, he has investigated the last convicted vampire hunter in Romania, Donald Trump’s dealings with Kazakh oligarchs, home-made killer drugs in Georgia, and, currently, how Covid-19 spreads among migrant workers in meat-packing factories across Europe.

One response

  1. jyvurentropy

    A Stephen Crowder meme! 😀 Okay, this post gets a like just for that. Bring the right-wing memes to the book community 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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