By Pierre F. Limouzy
This French realist novel contrasts the social growth of an impoverished yet bold aristocrat with the story of a father, whose obsessive love for his daughters results in his own and monetary break. This concise complement to Honore De Balzac's Pere Goriot is helping scholars comprehend the final constitution of the paintings, activities and motivations of the characters, and the social and cultural views of the writer.
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Extra info for Balzac Pere Goriot (Cliffs Notes)
Eugène is defeated, and although he argues with himself and feels remorse, he will exploit his mother and sisters, forget his studies, and when his money runs out, he finds himself lost, so lost that he will listen to Vautrin's criminal plot. Little by little, he makes more and more concessions. He accepts his illicit liaison with Delphine, Goriot's money, his mistress' present. And by the end of the hook, he has definitely joined the club and will successfully abide by its rules. In spite of all this, Eugène remains a sympathetic character because of his candor, his childish naivete, and his love and devotion for Old Goriot.
To what extent can it be said that Vautrin's downfall is also his triumph? 10. How do you explain Goriot's agony and death? 11. Justify Rastignac's attitude at the very end of the novel. 12. What effect on the reader has the constant switch from high society to the boardinghouse? 13. Point out the symbolic elements in Vautrin. To what extent do they explain Vautrin's attitude toward Rastignac? 14. Why has Old Goriot been called "A Christ of Paternity"? 15. Analyze and compare Anastasie and Delphine.
Vauquer, the Duchess de Langeais). Naturalism But Balzac goes beyond realism. He assesses each human being, classifying him as an entomologist or a zoologist would, comparing each one of his characters in the book with an animal of some kind. He tries to show us that man is predetermined not so much by his psychological makeup but rather by his environment, his social milieu. This scientific or pseudo-scientific approach to human reality constitutes the naturalistic elements in the novel. Subjectivism Although Balzac has taken so much care to present his characters objectively, in an objective situation, the novel is filled with subjectivity.