Germinal: Analysis

1944 WordsSep 3, 20078 Pages
Miner Triangle Emile Zola tells the tale of poverty stricken miners in a small French town called Montsou. Germinal begins with Etienne, a mechanic without a job, as he stumbles through the night and comes across Le Voreux, a coalmine outside Montsou. Germinal is about people's lives and struggles. Throughout Germinal Zola describes the lives of the miners and touches upon a few main themes. Etienne along with the other main characters face the issues of socialism, social justice, human nature, and relationships. Throughout the book the miners change and evolve. Their ideals and values develop and progress. Etienne, Catherine, and Chaval exhibit the effects of these themes through their actions and lives. Their relationships…show more content…
When reading Germinal one must ask if the actions of the miners are natural? Or, are their actions due to their environment and economic situation? I argue that the miners are results of both ideas. They act like humans naturally would, but some actions are modified by their poor living condition. Human nature comes out in the relationship between Catherine and Etienne. He respects her the first day in the mine and does not take her into a kiss. He feels jealousy when Chaval takes Catherine to be his girlfriend, this is also a natural feeling. When he sees Catherine and Chaval together on the road he thinks how she swore to him she was single, yet now she is with a man (p. 131). His jealous feelings from the mine continue to grow. The situation between Catherine and Etienne is intensified when Etienne becomes a border at her house. Zola describes their sleeping arrangements in great detail. They were forced into intimate proximity at every moment, for he took the elder brother's place at every turn, sharing Jeanlin's bed beside his big sister's. When he got up in the morning and went to bed at night he had to get dressed and undressed alongside her, and watch her while she put on and took off her own clothes. (p. 162) This intimate situation is a product of their lives. As Zola said, they are forced into proximity, which creates awkward situations between a man and woman. This also brings
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