By Pierre F. Limouzy
This French realist novel contrasts the social development of an impoverished yet bold aristocrat with the story of a father, whose obsessive love for his daughters ends up in his own and fiscal smash. 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 resources for Balzac Pere Goriot (Cliffs Notes)
In Anastasie, we find the cold, calculating egoism of a woman who has been consciously bleeding her father and ostracizing him at the same time and whom Balzac punishes greatly for it, as she will see her fortune and her children taken away from her and will have to come back to her father to humiliate herself in the last part. In the end, she has lost everything, even her father, but we don't doubt that she will continue, as preconditioned, to put up a front to the world. Delphine also displays that egoism, but it is presented to us as brought on by passion, and, in her outbursts of emotion, Delphine shows herself so naive that we cannot deny feeling compassion for her.
Vauquer, Mlle. Michonneau, old Poiret, and young Rastignac. 4. Why does Balzac find it necessary to give us such a lengthy exposition? 5. Compare Mme. de Beauséant's criticisms of society with those of Vautrin. What effect do they have on Rastignac? com 6. Analyze the evolution of Mme. Vauquer's attitude toward Goriot. 7. How does Balzac prepare us to understand and accept Old Goriot's extreme love for his daughters? 8. Cite some incidents which are decisive in starting Rastignac's psychological change.
With his physical and mental strengths, Vautrin will assume the role of the diabolical tempter. A keen psychologist, he has soon discovered the latent ambitions in Rastignac, whom he tries to convert to his side by his powerful comments on society, to make of Eugène an instrument of revenge. But to Vautrin, Rastignac is more than a mere instrument; he becomes a sort of alter ego. Vautrin feels a genuine interest in, and love for, the young man, in whom he can see the attributes he lacks: an aristocratic charm and elegance, allied with a spontaneous naivete.