This study examines the representation of women in Emile Zola’s famous series Les Rougon-Macquart. Critics have described Zola’s novels and their presentation of women as misogynist, yet this judgment obscures many of the textual details establishing the female protagonists’ relationships to industrial capitalism and the rapidly changing social landscape in late nineteenth century France. This study reexamines the narrative synthesis between Zola’s naturalist “objective” narrator and his female protagonists. It also highlights one particular pairing that of Adelaide Fouque and her opportunist daughter-in-law, Felicité Puch: Whereas Adelaide, the biological matriarch of the family who figures in each of the twenty novels, does not have an active voice, Felicité as maternal protectrice of the family speaks frankly, even aggressively. Zola uses this pairing to link one generation to the next, a key structural element of his naturalist project. Ultimately, Zola’s representation of women is more complex than might otherwise be understood.
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Comparative literature, Romance literature, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Female protagonists, Naturalism, Nineteenth century science and literature, Ninteenth century feminine discourse, Patriarchy, Zola, Emile|
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