In Naturalism

In Naturalism, characters do not have free will; external and internal forces, environment, or heredity control their behaviour. Zola displays this lack of free will in his character, Therese. The passage particularizes this fact. The movement of the Raquin’s to Paris was the central focus of the passage.

Therese had a life full of suppression: sexual, monetary and intellectual. She felt as if she were dead. The emptiness in Therese’s life reflects upon the vacuity in her family. Therese’s emotions are generally suppressed, she cannot even cry when she moves to Paris. (“Her hands were numbed and her breast was bursting with sobs but she could not cry.”)

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It is obvious that the narrator is a third person and is omniscient. The all-knowing character (of the narrator) and the ability to slip in and out of characters as no human being possibly could were prominent. The narrator reports the thoughts and feeling of Therese, for example,” A sort of nausea seized her in the throat and she shuddered.” The passage shows that the narrator is not neutral. He does not obliterate the thoughts and actions of the characters.

The writer wants the reader to feel sympathy for Therese. The image of death that the writer uses to describe Therese’s feeling clearly wants us to feel sympathy for Therese. The writer says,”.. She felt as though she were going down into a newly dug grave.”

The style of the writer immensely contributes to the effect of the passage. The language used is fairly literary but the writer does use formal diction occasionally, for example, “, …and these bare unfurnished rooms were terrifying in their solitude and decay.”

The passage does have some literary devices, which are used at very precise moments in order to contribute to the effect of the passage . The writer uses a kind of simile when he says that Therese felt as though she were going down into a newly-dug grave.The writer also uses a metaphor when he says “…her breast was bursting with sobs…”, in order to stress on the feeling that Therese had. Some alliterations are also visible, like “the tricks of trade” and “dingy, damp arcade”

The use of direct speech is very effective in revealing characters. In this passage, direct speech is used only once and it is very effective. Madame Raquin says” Oh my dear Therese, we are going to be happy there, believe me…..We shan’t have a dull moment, I can tell you!” The usage of direct speech here imparts (on the reader) a sense of the happiness that Madame Raquin is experiencing. This is very effective since previously Madame Raquin was not happy the fact they were moving to Paris. Hence a sort of transition from dimay to euphoria is eminent.

The sentences are fairly long and sometimes descriptive, although not very complex. For instance,”She looked at the dingy, damp arcade, went over the shop,…terrifying in their solitude and decay”

Finally, the use of only one exclamation mark in the only direct speech was effective since it stressed on the surety of Madame Raquin’s beautiful prospects in Paris. “..we shan’t have a dull moment, I can tell you!”

The passage was very insightful. I feel that the writer made it very clear the opposite feelings of Therese and Madame Raquin regarding Paris. For Madame Raquin, it was the revival of her active shopkeeper’s life, whereas for Therese, it was like moving from one prison cell to the other.