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. But once he returns, he is caught by the infected atmosphere again: International students Research degrees. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. Le Ventre de Paris , another of the plebian episodes in Les Rougon-Macquart , contains references which are unmistakably pointed at Hugo. Though most of the principal novels of Les Rougon-Macquart which are set in the working class or which deal with that class in a substantial way develop this anti-romance of the people, L’Assommoir does so with particular force and will be one of the two principal novels for discussion. For Zola, religion appears to be a form of escaping the troubling realities of the world and of human nature.

That the cataclysm brought with it physical destruction made little difference since what was destroyed, was an expression of the same corrupt world. It is Charvet who redefines the peuple as entirely egoistic and who represents a new generation of revolutionary which, unlike those of the A. Both the thinker and the mode of thought—no matter whether they are found in religion, economics, or radical politics—are heavily satirized in Les Rougon-Macquart. If the Romantic vision had rested ultimately on a mythic basis, the peuple as a collective romance hero, a collective Christ or Christ-like martyr, or as a collective Prometheus, Zola changes that mythic basis and substitutes elements of the Orpheus story. There is, however, an unmistakable narrowness, dryness, and sterility about them:

You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy. A certain sterility is suggested by the failure of dissertxtion would-be romance hero’s efforts to save her from her worsening situation with Coupeau and Lantier and to get her out of Paris.

More importantly, Muche’s writing lessons symbolize plebian literacy and its grasp of revolutionary ideas in general: Zola’s portrait of the peuple can be defended in one other respect; L’Assommoir is less of a political statement—if a political statement at all—than an aesthetic one.

Though Muche enjoys his schooling, it never alters assommolr 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.


At this stage of passivity and dreaming, Florent is much like another revolutionary in Zola’s fiction, Sigismond in L’Argent.

Related to her vulnerability to a world dominated by “loups” is Gervaise’s weakness which reappears with the return of Lantier: Orpheus does not become a symbol of the peuplerather, the symbol of the romantic revolutionary who attempts to politicize them. In Germinal similarly life down in the mines is a Translation to come Literate plebian characters seem rather to suffer from their abilities: Moreover, Florent is destroyed by the marketwomen in Le Ventre when they all conspire to betray him to the police.

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.

The decline of the matriarch is a prominent component of Zola’s naturalistic scheme for the Rougon-Macquartmanifests not only in the increasing corruption of the progeny across the cycle, but primarily in the monographic depictions of the matriarchs themselves.

Translating Zola’s L’Assommoir: a stylistic approach – Durham e-Theses

The pictures are for Goujet a substitute of reality and emphasize his passivity. One other element confuses the question of progressivism in Zola’s fiction: Matthews has argued Zola’s whole outlook, “based on a confidence in the inevitability of universal progress through scientific advancement,” is obviously at variance with the Marxist idea of social progress through class conflict and revolution.

dissertation assommoir zola

It is a false star like the one seen by Gervaise. In both its visionary, transcendental aspects as well as its sociological claims Zola carries out this attack on the romantic notion of the common people, the populist romance.

Translating Zola’s L’Assommoir: a stylistic approach

In L’Assommoirit is the air of Paris, particularly in Coupeau’s case, that constantly ruins people rather than inspires them with the ideal. Press,p.

Transposed into a view of the peupleit implies a negative view of the lower classes as resistant to civilization; it implies a cyclical view of history as not progressing but as continually falling back and starting over. Etienne’s ability to win the miners to his ideas, to inspire them with dissertatjon voice to strike, and to infect them—intoxicate them, more appropriately—with his romantic, visionary revolutionism is made overtly analogous to the sweet, transforming musicianship of Orpheus.

While Etienne has little of Florent’s Orpheus-like disdain for the feminine, he is rather fastidious in relation to women, as his avoidance of Mouquette shows.

Whatever the case, it is idssertation that these communities turn on Etienne and Florent in a similar way and for similar reasons. More importantly Etienne receives a certain mythic development which symbolizes the nature of the Zola revolutionary, the nature of the peuple in Zola’s fictional world, and the relationship between those two. All levels of society in the Second Empire are marked by the same general egoism, corruption, greed, cruelty, and reckless extravagance.


Like the traditions concerning Prometheus, which Michelet found particularly expressive of his notion of the peuplethe Orpheus story is relevant to Zola’s idea of the peuple in terms of a concept zoka history, the idea of the leader of the people, and the character of nature of the people.

Zola’s romantic populists are like those of James and Gald6s in that they espouse that romantic revolutionism—at least in the earlier moments of their development before frustration drives them to more violent and radical extremes.

dissertation assommoir zola

There is the same question about the guilt of Miette’s father as there is concerning Valjean. The most important aspect of Zola’s revolutionaries, or romantic populists as they will be called here, is that they are and often feel themselves to be alien to the people.

The Roman numeral xssommoir the volume; the Arabic number indicates the page number. I hereby declare that all work contained in this thesis not otherwise referenced is to dissertatipn considered my own.

For Zola, such ideology makes no allowances for greed, laziness, selfishness, and inexplicable moral perversity in its blueprints for utopia.

This strange formula of Zola’s—that combination of a somewhat unsteady or flighty imagination, a fragmentary and jumbled education, a certain aloofness or distance from the common people—seems in Zola’s fictional world to provoke the kind of dreamy envisioning of Utopian futures which is found in Etienne:.

dissertation assommoir zola

Whatever vision of history Zola puts in its place, the peuple is no longer the chief driving force or agent. Angus Davidson, 2nd Ed. The dizzying prosperity of the early years of the Second Empire could only be followed inevitably by decay and disaster toward the end.