Certain aspects of the anti-populist romance, however, are less fully developed in this novel, and the focus must shift briefly at times to other plebian episodes— La Fortune des Rougon , Le Ventre de Paris , and particularly Germinal. All levels of society in the Second Empire are marked by the same general egoism, corruption, greed, cruelty, and reckless extravagance. The few generous, sympathetic, good-hearted plebian characters that do exist in the working-class episodes of Les Rougon-Macquart are such because they are unique individuals and not because of any class membership. In Germinal similarly life down in the mines is a Translation to come One of the most important narrative patterns that continually appears in the episodes of Les Rougon-Macquart involves the romantic revolutionary’s ignorance or shock of recognition of the true nature of the peuple. Of course anyone from Belgium would be suspect, that country supplying the strike breakers to France’s coal mining region.

Press, , p. Like Madeleine in Hugo’s novel, whose name becomes synonymous with a benevolent moralistic capitalism which sees to workers’ every need, this mining corporation in Zola’s novel provides housing for its employees and pensions, but beyond that it is an impersonal, voracious monster. It is Charvet who redefines the peuple as entirely egoistic and who represents a new generation of revolutionary which, unlike those of the A. His efforts to civilize are thus only partially successful, and when they fail, it is disastrous for him. Move your mouse pointer over French or Spanish text to see translations.

Whatever vision of history Zola puts in its place, the peuple is aseommoir longer the chief driving force or agent. Although it may seem contradictory to label Zola’s revolutionaries, whom many critics have observed to be conspicuously similar, romantic populists at all, their careers and their characteristics are quite unlike those of Michelet’s own life or of Hugo’s revolutionaries. Just as Florent is thought a Translation to come This opinion toward the middle of the novel when Etienne’s campaign for the relief fund is under way, becomes widespread; he grows in the esteem of all the coal miners as a Translation to come Angus Davidson, 2nd Ed.

decheance matriarcale chez Zola: “L’assommoir” et “Germinal” |

In L’Assommoirit is the air of Paris, particularly in Coupeau’s case, that constantly ruins people rather than inspires them with the ideal. Specifically, the elements of the Orpheus story, though present in L’Assommoir rather unobtrusively and in rather unusual combination, are carefully developed in Le Ventre de Paris and Germinaland it is to that latter novel this study must conclude with an analysis of its Orphic elements.


Although he controls his hereditary alcoholism throughout the novel, it is a symbol at the same time of the “ivresse” that marks his headlong, overly enthusiastic behavior and dissertatioh marks his family in general.

dissertation assommoir zola

Literate plebian characters seem rather to suffer from their abilities: The Maheus sit spellbound accepting the most miraculous and far-fetched of ideas, Translation to come Of course, Cosette was not the real child, of Valjean though she was certainly cared for in that manner zssommoir the fugitive, but Valjean is indeed haunted throughout the novel by his alleged guilt as murderer and thief.

As a destructive force which would sweep away the diswertation of the Second Empire, the peuple in Zola’s fiction possess a certain value. Orpheus also has the traditional reputation as a missionary of civilization, and in fact Etienne conceives of himself in certain respects in that light.

That the cataclysm brought with it physical destruction made little difference since what was destroyed, was an expression of the same corrupt world. And of course Gervaise’s fall into utter abject misery is interpreted by the neighborhood as entirely deserved; none of that readiness to help the unfortunate appears here. Instead L’Assommoir rejects in almost categorical way the crucial elements of the romantic sociology of didsertation peuple.

L’Assommoir was considered at the time of its publication quite an insult to the working classes, despite Zola’s own efforts in subsequent prefaces and introductions to present it as a sympathetic contribution to the effort to arouse concern for the social question among the powerful.

Translating Zola’s L’Assommoir: a stylistic approach

zoa Popular education, the effort of the working class to educate itself, and plebian literacy in general, as mentioned before, are in large part responsible for the genesis of this character type. As Etienne “begins to experience the hardship and injustice of the miners’ lives, as his mind begins to boil with that fragmentary jumble of socialist, anarchist, nihilist ideas fed him by Souvarine, Pluchart and others, he begins his efforts to rouse the miners.

Victor Hugo was in Zola’s estimation simply the literary figure who Translation to come Of course anyone from Belgium would be suspect, that country supplying the strike breakers to France’s coal mining region.


Thus, entirely without education, without literacy, the people was considered fit to rule, even more fit to rule than its urbane, sophisticated social counterparts. The people and popular revolution are not in themselves, however, the regenerative agents.

dissertation assommoir zola

Hugo had formulated romanticism in the way a powerful intellect Translation to come In the first one of these, we map out the basic methodological template of the thesis. The Lorilleux, her husband’s relatives, refuse to help her in her worst need and throw her out:. Though Muche enjoys his schooling, it never alters his egoistic character; at the end of the novel, when Florent is being hauled away by the police for his efforts to organize a revolution, Muche joyously partakes of the spectacle and jeers along with the other market people.


As noted earlier, as miserable and reprehensible as they are depicted in Les Rougon-Macquartthey are no worse than any other sphere asssommoir society. Deposit Guide Policies About. For Michelet the “humble life” was poetic; poverty and necessity instilled a stronger morality and higher values. Orpheus to the Romantics represents Translation to come Like the traditions concerning Prometheus, which Michelet found assimmoir expressive of his notion of the peuplethe Orpheus story is relevant to Zola’s idea of the peuple in terms of a concept of history, the idea of the leader of the people, and the character of nature of the people.

Related to this is the tradition that Orpheus was torn apart by the Thracian women because after the death of Eurydice he refused to have anything to do with women. Miette becomes a servant who does not have to be paid instead of a child to be taken care of; she is poorly cared for, fed, and.

While Michelet had held that it was the peuple who would invariably help the needy, particularly orphaned children, in even the hardest of times, in contrast, the world of Zola’s working class is often singularly lacking in sympathy, compassion, generosity, or pity.