A summary of Dostoevsky’s “White Nights”

The hero of the story, the Dreamer (we do not know his name), has lived in St. Petersburg for eight years, but he has not managed to make any acquaintances. He is 26 years old. Summer, everyone went to their dachas. The dreamer wanders around the city and feels abandoned, not meeting people who are used to seeing from day to day. Imperceptibly he finds himself at an outpost in the city and walks farther among the fields and meadows, feeling a sense of relief. Nature was struck by him, a half-sick city dweller. Petersburg nature in the spring reminds the hero of a stunted and sick girl, which for some moment suddenly becomes inexplicably beautiful.

Returning happy home late at night, the Dreamer notices the woman – she stands leaning over the parapet of the canal and cries. The girl leaves quickly. The hero follows her, not daring to approach. The drunk pestered the girl, and the Dreamer rushed to her aid. Then they go together. The dreamer is delighted with the unexpected

meeting, tells the girl that tomorrow night she will again come to the channel and will wait for her. The girl agrees to come, but warns the Dreamer that he does not think that she is giving him a date. She jokingly warns him that he does not fall in love with her, she is ready only for friendship with him. Tomorrow they will meet. The hero is happy.

Night Two

They meet. The girl asks the Dreamer to tell about herself. She herself lives with a blind grandmother, who two years ago began to pin her to her dress. So they all day and sit: grandmother blindly knits, and the granddaughter is reading her book. This has been going on for two years already. The girl asks the young man to tell his story. He tells her that he is a dreamer. There are such types in the hidden corners of Petersburg. In communication with people they are lost, embarrassed, do not know what to talk about, but alone such a person is happy, he lives with his “special” life, he is immersed in dreams. What he does not imagine – friendship with Hoffman, Bartholomew’s Night, the Battle of Berezina and much, much more.


dreamer is afraid that Nastenka (so, it turns out, her name is a girl) will laugh at him, but she only asks him with timid participation: “Did you really live your whole life like that?” In her opinion, it’s impossible to live like this. The hero agrees with her. He thanks Nastenka for giving him two evenings of real life. Nastenka promises that he will not abandon him. She tells her story. Nastenka is an orphan, her parents died when she was very young. Grandmother was rich before. She taught her French granddaughter and –

She taught her teacher. From the age of fifteen her grandmother “pins”. My grandmother has a house, and she passes the mezzanine to the tenants.

And now they have a young tenant. He gives his grandmother and Nastenka the novels of Walter Scott, works by Pushkin, invites Nastenka and her grandmother to the theater. Nastenka is in love with the young tenant, and he begins to avoid it. And then one day the tenant informs his grandmother that he must go to Moscow for a year. Nastenka, shocked by this news, decides to go along with him. She climbs into the room of a young man. He tells her that he is poor, can not now marry, but when he returns from Moscow, they will marry. It took exactly a year, Nastenka found out that he had arrived three days ago, but everything did not come to her. The dreamer offers the girl to write him a letter, and he will give it. Nastenka agrees. It turns out that the letter has already been written, it remains only to carry it to such and such an address.

The night of the third

The dreamer recalls his third date with Nastenka. He knows now that a girl does not love him. He took the letter. Nastenka came ahead of time, she is waiting for her beloved, she is sure that he will come. She is glad that the Dreamer did not fall in love with her. The hero is sad at heart. Time goes by, but there is no tenant. Nastenka is hysterically nervous. She tells the Dreamer: “You are so kind… I compared you both, why is it not you? Why is he not like you? He is worse than you, even though I love him more than you.” The dreamer calms Nastenka, assures her that the one she expects will come tomorrow. He promises to go to him again.

Night Four

Nastenka thought that the Dreamer would bring her a letter, he was sure that the Resident had already come to the girl. But there is no letter, not the Tenant himself. Nastenka desperately says that she will forget him. The dreamer is explained to her in love. He would have wanted so that Nastenka would fall in love with him. He cries, Nastenka comforts him. She tells him that her love was a deception of feelings, of the imagination that she was ready to marry the Dreamer, and suggested that he move to the grandmother’s mezzanine. They will both work and be happy. Nastenka, it’s time to go home. And then the Resident appears. Nastenka rushes to him. The dreamer watches as they both leave.


The dreamer receives a letter from Nastenka. She asks for his forgiveness, thanks him for his love, calls him his friend and brother. No, the Dreamer is not offended by Nastenka. He wants her happiness. He had a whole minute of bliss… “Is this not enough for even a lifetime human.”

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A summary of Dostoevsky’s “White Nights”