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View Full Version : Thoughts on Therese Raquin?



Debrasue
04-24-2007, 04:55 PM
I've read this story many times over the years and I find as I get older my perspective of this story changes slightly. I would love to know what other reader's thoughts are!

Debrasue;)

bazarov
04-25-2007, 03:29 AM
I've read it years ago, and only once; comparing with you, and I like it.
But, I find naturalism maybe too harsh on people. I know theory of it, but I think it's maybe a little pretentious.

Debrasue
04-25-2007, 04:26 PM
From reading the preface I gather that Zola was heavily criticized for his depiction of the main characters. Zola defends his work by stating that it was a "study of temperament and not character." Therese & Laurent did seem to be lacking in any sort of ambition.......desiring only that their baser needs be met with as little effort on their part as possible. The most ambitious action I can see is Laurent putting so much effort into the killing of Camille! I feel no sympathy for Therese & Laurent....only pity. Every time I read this story I hope I'll discover some redeeming quality about them...but I don't. I think Zola was being a little facetious with the title "A Love Story"!

rosa
01-03-2008, 08:24 AM
I read this book several times and found that Zola is a vary powerful writer.I believe that Therese is a character like many others we meet everyday in life.Her approach to life is presented here as extreme. I trust this to be an important component of Zolas style. Therese is extreme in her senses and general behaviour and this makes the character absurd almost unreal.In reality the fact of being extreme is there only to underline that that particular type of person exists and we all have to accept its existence.We all have to live with some people like Therese even if we do not notice the intensity of their extreme feelings.Extremism here is a magnifying glass to introduce the reader to a specific behaviour enlarged to the extreme.Presented in this way we cannot miss it.So in some way it is an eye opener.Am I the only one out there to see it in this way?

kiki1982
05-15-2011, 01:24 PM
Ok, this is reviving an age-old thread which was not alive in the first place anyway, but here goes.

I started reading this book a few days ago (SPOILER! am just after the murder SPOILER OVER) and was expecting something similar to Hardy. None of that. It's really peple who are in no trouble whatoever, but who lead miserable lives because they are too lazy to do anything about their mental misery or, haven't done anything to prevent it in the first place. It almost moved me to laugh very loud at a certain point in the beginning, until SPOILER! Laurent and Thérèse hooked up together SPOILER OVER!. Then, I started to perceive Camille as being in the way and annoying.

Actually, during the SPOILER murder SPOILER OVER chapter, just hefore they get in the boat, he boasts that it was Thérèse who is scared now, despite himself being a chicken too. I found that so toe-curlingly disgusting, so much misinterpretation of his wife's thoughts from his side (a wife he has been married to for at least 5 years), that I suddenly found him insufferable and for a brief moment I thought that Thérèse would really be better off without him. Whether he has to die for this is the question, though, but how otherwise, in a 19th century society, does one have to get rid of someone without literally losing everything (including any possible job if we may believe what Hugo wrote)?

Actually, up till now, Zola has used the words 'selfish', 'useless/without purpose' and 'childish' several times in connection with Camille, and I think that starts to get into you as a reader and maybe starts to make you appreciate Laurent and Thérèse's relationship better than her loneliness in the beginning. Oddly, SPOILER when they are making love in the room upstairs while moter-in-law is downstairs in the shop and Camille at work SPOILER OVER, I did not see that as something unforgiveable as I would do normally, but mainly a necessity. How otherwise is someone supposed to carry on in life? Laurent admittedly was also described as being 'without purpose' and lazy, but that changed a bit after he enticed Thérèse. At first he was doing it SPOILER because he needed his carnal lusts satisfied,SPOILER OVER but then he started to love her and was himself surprised by that.

I find it weird that I think that, but I suppose it is what Zola aimed for. I think his purpose was to make people realise that SPOILER murder SPOILER OVER is not always straightforward and nasty so that the guilty party must be punished, but sometimes it is a crime of passion It does not make it more forgiveable, but it makes it less black and white as 19th century science put it in phrenology and physiognomy....

wessexgirl
05-15-2011, 02:33 PM
Ok, this is reviving an age-old thread which was not alive in the first place anyway, but here goes.

I started reading this book a few days ago (SPOILER! am just after the murder SPOILER OVER) and was expecting something similar to Hardy. None of that. It's really peple who are in no trouble whatoever, but who lead miserable lives because they are too lazy to do anything about their mental misery or, haven't done anything to prevent it in the first place. It almost moved me to laugh very loud at a certain point in the beginning, until SPOILER! Laurent and Thérèse hooked up together SPOILER OVER!. Then, I started to perceive Camille as being in the way and annoying.

Actually, during the SPOILER murder SPOILER OVER chapter, just hefore they get in the boat, he boasts that it was Thérèse who is scared now, despite himself being a chicken too. I found that so toe-curlingly disgusting, so much misinterpretation of his wife's thoughts from his side (a wife he has been married to for at least 5 years), that I suddenly found him insufferable and for a brief moment I thought that Thérèse would really be better off without him. Whether he has to die for this is the question, though, but how otherwise, in a 19th century society, does one have to get rid of someone without literally losing everything (including any possible job if we may believe what Hugo wrote)?

Actually, up till now, Zola has used the words 'selfish', 'useless/without purpose' and 'childish' several times in connection with Camille, and I think that starts to get into you as a reader and maybe starts to make you appreciate Laurent and Thérèse's relationship better than her loneliness in the beginning. Oddly, SPOILER when they are making love in the room upstairs while moter-in-law is downstairs in the shop and Camille at work SPOILER OVER, I did not see that as something unforgiveable as I would do normally, but mainly a necessity. How otherwise is someone supposed to carry on in life? Laurent admittedly was also described as being 'without purpose' and lazy, but that changed a bit after he enticed Thérèse. At first he was doing it SPOILER because he needed his carnal lusts satisfied,SPOILER OVER but then he started to love her and was himself surprised by that. I find it weird that I think that, but I suppose it is what Zola aimed for. I think his purpose was to make people realise that SPOILER murder SPOILER OVER is not always straightforward and nasty so that the guilty party must be punished, but sometimes it is a crime of passion It does not make it more forgiveable, but it makes it less black and white as 19th century science put it in phrenology and physiognomy....

I love this book, but it's been some time since I read it, so maybe I am remembering it wrongly. However, hold that thought which I have bolded until you get further on. I don't recall it being love, and there is a gradual disintegration of their relationship, which I see as two people hating or at least resenting each other as their lives spiral ever downward. They are trapped by what they have done, and it's a bleak, bleak picture that is painted by Zola, for everyone concerned, with the physchological meltdown of the characters. It has a stunning ending too. Zola is magnificent.

kiki1982
05-15-2011, 03:14 PM
I get what you are saying (I know the plot already :D), but the fact that they start fearing Camille's spectre and are tortured day by day because they believe that François the cat is in fact Camille who is staring at them, does not change their passion for each other.

Yes, it is destructive love, it is doomed, it is incredibly selfish, like Romeo and Juliet they are destined to die and unite in death, but on the other hand, it only makes their story the more tragic.

crusoe
07-28-2012, 01:06 PM
I read it twice and once in a while it haunts me in the weirdest moments.