Virtue… is not divided into parts;
Either she is, or she is not.
O. de Balzac. Father Gorio
One of the themes of Honore de Balzac’s remarkable novel “Father Gorio” is the impact of the social environment on the character of a person. Creating different images, the collision of which with society led to different results. the writer makes us wonder why this happened.
One of the most interesting and controversial heroes of the novel seems to me Eugene Rastignac, raised in the province in an impoverished aristocratic family. He comes to Paris to study law. Extremely attached to his relatives: his parents, sisters, aunt – Eugene feels enormous appreciation for the fact that they “had to doom themselves to hard deprivations” in order to give him the opportunity to study and live in Paris. It seems that the young man who came to the provinces has all the best features that only can be in a person: decency, nobility, dedication, hard work. Rastignac is ready to work hard, depriving himself of many pleasures and entertainments, if only to justify the hopes placed on him by the family, and to rise to his feet. However, very quickly, “his childish illusions, his provincial views disappeared, concepts have changed,
Acquainted with her noble and rich cousin Madame de Bosean, who introduced him to the upper world, the attentive and observant Eugene remarked that the ball is not at all honest, decency, diligence, but money, connections, cunning and hypocrisy.
From conversations with Vautrin and the Countess de Bosean, the young man concluded that hard and painstaking work does not guarantee a person in the future either a good career or a significant income. In Paris, other values, and if you want to quickly succeed, you must accept them.
So Eugene Rastignac finds himself in the high society network with all his ambitious dreams of recognizing him as a society, “into which he fell, about the opportunity to quickly and easily get rich.” Brought up in completely different conditions, the young man tries to maintain his inner purity, adhere to the usual moral norms, but in a world where capital rules, it’s impossible: “My youth is still clear, like a cloudless sky, but you want to become a big man or a rich man, but does not it mean to go consciously to lie, bend, crawl, straighten up again, stit and pretend? “
When we part with Eugene Rastignac
at the end of the novel, it is still an honest and decent person, capable of resenting the injustice, spiritual callousness, cruelty of others. But his conscience is already unclean, his heart is restless. He himself admitted that he “robbed his sisters and mother” by asking them to send a large sum of money for a decent suit for appearing in the light, the idea of seducing a poor but virtuous Quiz that could become the heiress of a huge fortune, lover of a rich lady, which Eugene gladly accepted to confirm their positions in the light, not quite pious.
So, gradually falling under the influence of an imperfect society, Rastignac refuses the high moral principles that guided him before traveling to Paris. The low, vicious, devastating soul and heart of the marsh of the upper world sucked one more, and not the most stupid, sacrifice.
On the last page of the novel, Eugene challenges society: “And now who will win: me or you?”. But it seems to me that he is destined to lose, because evil and injustice can not be defeated by their own methods, and Rastignac does not know the other ways.