Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Idiot, part 1, chapters VII-XVI

In this second section, it’s become clear that all of the plot’s action revolves around Nastasya Filippovna.  Ganya has been courting her out of greed as Totsky has evidently promised him seventy-five thousand rubles to marry her, though Ganya has attempted to get out of the marriage.  Soon after the prince finishes speaking to Elizaveta Prokofyevna and the three Epanchin daughters, Ganya gives Myshkin a note to give to Aglaya that essentially says that he will break off the coming engagement to Nastasya Filippovna with only a word of assurance from her.

Both Aglaya and Nastasya criticize Ganya for his need for guarantee in this.  Aglaya to the prince about him:

He knows, however, that if he broke it all off, but by himself, alone, not waiting for a word from me, and even not telling me about it, without any hope in me, I would then change my feelings for him… But his soul is dirty: he knows and yet hesitates; he knows and still asks for a guarantee.  He’s unable to make a decision on faith.    (84)

And Nastasya to Ganya directly as she taunts him and the prince at the end of Part 1:

And you, Gnachka, you’ve missed Aglaya Epanchin; did you know that?  If you hadn’t bargained with her, she would certainly have married you!    (169)

Torn between financial necessities created by his fallen family (his father is shown to be entirely mentally unstable and unpredictable, and they’ve resorted to renting out their insufficient apartment as a boarding house) and love for Aglaya, Ganya misses both.

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