Émile Zola's 'The Belly Of Paris'

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In Émile Zola’s The Belly of Paris, the reader learns about the controversial life of a man named Florent, who was arrested and deported for standing up against the tyranny of the monarchy and the police in Paris. After an escape, he then returns to Paris where he wants to start a new life, but instead, he gets involved with a political group who wants to start a revolution. At the end the reader learns he has been captured, along with others in the group, and they are sentenced to deportation again. From this, one might think that this is a political novel, but Zola is actually being critical of the way French society is. From the markets, lower classes, and political groups, Zola is only being critical of the way lower
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They are very fast paced, and the poor and other market vendors have to get there very early to be able to get the best deals; this is usually well before daylight. The bourgeois gets to wake up later, and they buy most of the food. This is a critical point of the French society as Zola quotes Claude as saying, “. . . On mornings like that I love my vegetables more than ever. But the frustrating thing, what’s so unjust, is that those bourgeois bastards eat it all!” There is no attempt at displaying how a change should be made, but this quote is critical at the bourgeois class making them seem very selfish. It is meant to give the class a bad reputation and show that they have no heart for others who may not be able to afford food. This quote is backed up even further when Claude says, “Funny that—have you noticed that although you can always find somebody to buy you a drink, there’s never anyone who will stand you something to eat?” This goes to show that the only thing the bourgeois cares about is pleasure and not others. This quote is more critical than trying to make a political statement by putting shame on that…show more content…
As much as this might make someone want to believe this is a political story it is not. This group only mostly discusses the problems with society, and it never really goes beyond that into developing a plan. The book says they have a plan, but it never goes into detail about what it is. A political novel would do this and try to convince its readers. The book even points this out about not talking what is actually going to be done when it says, “The plot was slowly ripening. At the beginning of the summer, they were still speaking of the need to ‘do something’. . .” The book is just being critical to the point that is showing that action would be taken if change was not achieved by those in power. The book continued to show the ignorance of some of those with better social statuses, who only believed the poor deserved what they got and that they were still needed in society. It is especially down to the point because it comes from Florent’s own sister-in-law, Lisa. “It would be wrong of you to put their happiness at risk. It’s only homeless people, who’ve got nothing to lose, who want to see the shooting start,” as Lisa says to her husband and Florent’s brother, Quenu. The book is critical of her not being brave enough to stand up to those in charge and that she is only falling into their trap. This point, maybe more than any other in the book, also shows how self-centered
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