The novel “Red and Black” is a true narrative about the society of the Restoration period in France. This is a socio-psychological novel, based on the conflict between the individual and society. The path of the main character Julien Sorel leads to the idea that in the era of Napoleon, he could become a hero, and in the era of Restoration, he must either adapt or perish.
Julien Sorel – representative of the generation of the early 20-ies of the XIX century. He has the features of a romantic hero: independence, self-esteem, the desire to change destiny, the desire to fight and achieve the goal. He is a bright personality, everything is higher than norm: the power of the mind, will, dreaminess, purposefulness.
Our hero is the son of a carpenter. He lives in a small provincial town of Verrieres with his brothers and father and dreams of escaping from here into the big world. Nobody understands him in Verrieres. “All the household despised him, and he
hated his brothers and father…” The young man was delirious from his early childhood military service, his idol was Napoleon. After much meditation, he decides: the only way to achieve something in life and break out of Verrier is to become a priest. “To pierce the road for Julien first of all meant to break out of Vierrier, he hated his homeland. Everything that he saw here froze his imagination.”
And here is the first victory, the first “appearance”. Julien invites the mayor of Verrieres, Mr. de Renal, to bring the children to his home. A month later the children adored the young educator, the father of the family respected him, and Madame de Renal felt for him something more than mere respect. However, Julien felt alien here: “he felt only hatred and disgust for this higher world, where he was admitted only to the edge of the table…”
Life in the house of M. de Renal was filled with hypocrisy, a desire for profit, a struggle for power, intrigues and gossip. Julien’s conscience began to whisper to him: “Here it is – this dirty wealth,
which you can attain and enjoy, but only in this company. About Napoleon! How wonderful was your time! .. “Julien felt lonely in this world.” Thanks to the patronage of the cure of Shelana, Sorel enters the Besançon theological seminary. “If Julien only hesitates, let him perish, and if this man is brave, let him make his way,” – said the abbe Pirard, and Julien began to make his way.
He studied diligently, but kept himself away from the seminarians. Very soon I saw that “knowledge here and in pennies is not put,” because “the advance in science seems suspicious.” Julien realized that he was encouraged: hypocrisy, “ascetic piety.” No matter how hard the young man tried to pretend to be a fool and a jerk, he could not like the seminarians, nor the heads of the seminary – he was too different from the others.
And finally – the first increase: he was appointed a tutor for the New and Old Testaments. Julien felt the support of the abbot of Pirard and was grateful to him for this. And suddenly – an unexpected meeting with the bishop, who decided his fate. Julien moved to Paris, the house of the Marquis de La Mole, and became his personal secretary. Another victory. Life begins in the mansion of the Marquis. What does he see? “In this mansion, there were no flattering comments about Beranger, about the opposition newspapers, about Voltaire, about Rousseau, about anything that at least gave a little free-thinking and politics.” The smallest living thought seemed rude. “
A new light opened before him. But this new light was the same as the light in Verrieres and Besancon. Everything was based on hypocrisy and profit. Julien takes all the rules of the game and tries to make a career. A brilliant victory awaited him. But the affair with the daughter of Marquis Mathilde upset all of Julien’s plans. Matilda, this satiated secular beauty, attracted in Julien his mind, his eccentricity and unlimited ambition. But this love was not at all like the bright and bright feeling that connected Julien with Madame de Renal. The love of Mathilde and Julien rather resembled a duel of two ambitious men. But she might well have ended up with a marriage, if not for the letter of Madame de Renal, written under the influence of the Jesuit brothers. “How many magnificent plans – and now in an instant… all this crumbles to dust,” thinks Sorel.
The letter of Madame de Renal destroyed all of Julien’s plans and put an end to his career. Seeking revenge, he commits a foolish act – he shoots Madame de Renal in a faith church.
So, everything that so long and purposefully sought Julien, argued that he was a Person, was destroyed. After that there will be a prison, a court, a verdict. Long thinking in court, Julien realizes that he has nothing to repent of: the society where he was so eager to get, wanted to break it, in his face it decided to punish those young people of low estate who dared to penetrate into the “good society”. Julien finds the courage to face death with dignity. So die smart and uncommon person, decided to make a career, not bent on any means.