If Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment Went Through Sorority Recruitment
On an exceptionally cool evening early in January a young man came out of Elder Hall in which he lodged on Sheridan Road and walked briskly with great anxiety towards the sorority quad. He had successfully evaded meeting his Wildcat Welcome hook up on the staircase. The hook up, who provided him with ten minutes of light conversation and a dance floor make out, lived on the hall next to his, and every time he went out he was obliged to pass by her room, from which the stylings of Taylor Swift invariably played, with especially obtrusive volume on Thursday evenings. And each time he passed, he had a sick, frightened feeling, which made him scowl and feel sick and frightened. He was hopelessly repulsed by his Wildcat Welcome hook up, in her leggings and oddly snug crop top considering her body type, and was afraid of seeing her.
This evening, however, on coming out into the street, he became acutely aware of his fears. Sorority recruitment was approaching. He had given up attending to matters of practical importance; he had lost all desire to do so.
The cold on Sheridan road was terrible: and the students walking everywhere, the gray, wet sidewalk, the familiar Evanston wind, the theatre students with their elaborate scarf wear, all worked upon his nerves as he continued south. He was, by the way, quite attractive, average in height, with a face, yes, quite attractive for Northwestern standards.
He had not far to go; he knew indeed how many steps it was from the side door of Elder to the sorority quad. He had counted them once when he returned home after an evening spent in Fran’s attempting to sort through economics set problems but instead lost in cruel nightmares of PHA t-shirts and five minute conversations, of the potential new members lined in front of the houses like cattle, the snow that would crunch beneath their boots as they took one step and then another and another toward their irreversible fate.
He walked toward the sorority quad. He continued walking toward the sorority quad. He was almost at the sorority quad. “I am almost at the sorority quad,” thought he. But he was not quite at the sorority quad. Then he was at the sorority quad.
He joined the other potential new members in line. His nerves were terribly strained by now. He waited a moment and then, with sudden intensity, the door to the sorority house swung open and the line began to shuffle inside. All at once he became acutely aware of his appearance, “If my hair is the least bit unruly,” he thought to himself, “I hope they do not notice.”
A young woman in tight jeans with an ample amount of wrist jewelry rested her hand gently upon the young man’s back and guided him toward a group of women lined up by a staircase.
“Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, this is our President Katie.” she said, gesturing for him to shake the first woman’s hand.
“Katie, this is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov.”
He was immediately overcome with an uncontrollable jealousy for he had never held the title of president in his life. He shook the girl’s hand. “Oh, but could I possibly? How could I think of such matters? But to be president…no! But how could such an atrocious thing come into my head?” he muttered aloud to himself.
“Ok….” The woman continued.
“Raskolnikov, this is Sabrina,” she said gesturing to a girl standing beside her, eyeing him with a puzzled stare.
“Hi Raskolnikov,” said Sabrina. “Let’s sit over here.”
She led Raskolnikov into the foyer and with a rapid glance he scanned everything in the room. There was nothing exceptional about it. It looked not unlike most living rooms, with a large television along the center of a wall, and seating around it, a cotton sofa with a floral pattern and matching chairs, wooden coffee tables scattered about, and a few simple, floral paintings on the walls.
The noise was unbearable. It felt as though a thousand people were speaking in the room warm, stuffy room.
“What a pity that they talk,” Raskolnikov thought to himself. “But surely say nothing.”
“So, what made you want to rush a sorority?” shouted Sabrina over the static.
“I do not know,” he replied.
“That’s ok! I did it for the sisterhood.”
“What a waste it all is, Sabrina.”
“How does one become your president?” he said.
“Oh, well, you have to run for president, if you become a member.”
“And be elected?”
“The fool!” thought Raskolnikov. “That she thinks one must be elected! Surely there is another way…but how abhorrent of an idea.”
At that moment another woman came up behind Sabrina and tapped her on the shoulder.
“Hi Katie, this is Raskolnikov. We were just talking about why he decided to rush.” “It was nice to meet you, Raskolnikov.”
Sabrina walked away.
“Hi Raskolnikov. What groups are you involved in on campus?” asked Katie.
“Not much,” he said.
“The hopelessness. What I am planning. The horror! But I cannot go back now,” thought Raskolnikov.
“What kind of music do you listen to?”
Suddenly he became quite dizzy and no longer felt inclined to partake in conversation. He was in a hurry to get away, and was relieved when he heard the sounds of someone banging on a piano. The chatter in the room began to settle, and the women began flowing toward the room’s exit.
“Good day, Katie.”
Raskolnikov fought his way through a sea of clapping, stomping, singing women, and burst out into the sorority quad in confusion. The confusion became more and more intense. The brick and snow and nametags and ponytails spun in a nauseating vision before him until he felt as though he was sure he was going to lose consciousness.
“How loathsome, how terrible it all is!” He said.
“Atrocious nonsense! Rubbish…”