Summary of “Career Rugons” Zola

In the first novel in this series, Zola talks about the origins of the Rugon family and the Makkarov family, as well as the emergence of the Second Empire in France, which provided great opportunities for bourgeois speculation and adventure.

The narrative begins with the author’s foreword, in which Zola clearly articulates his task as a naturalistic writer:

“I want to show how one family behaves in society, developing, giving life to ten or twenty individuals.” At first sight, they do not look alike at all, but as analysis shows, they are very closely connected. And, like the power of attraction, it has its own laws. “

Already at the very beginning of the novel we get acquainted with the son of the artisan and one of the main characters Silver, who waits for his beloved girl Mietta. When the workers are going to oppose the monarchy, young people are at the forefront of the column. Zola with obvious sympathy draws a beautiful portrait of the

young man and his delicate skin.

Then follows a detailed description of the provincial French town of Plassin, where the main events of the novel unfold. Its inhabitants Zola divided into three groups: the nobility, the bourgeoisie and artisans. An assessment is given to each estate in the light of the coup d’état of 1851, as a result of which the republican system was replaced by a monarchical one. Representatives of each of the groups behave in this situation in a special way.

In parallel with Sylvester’s line goes the story of the founder of the family – Adelaide Fook. It came from wealthy philistines, but was not pragmatic and did not seek a life partner in its own environment. In the blood of this woman a passion for carnal pleasures raged, and so she was drawn to the robber and smuggler McCar, who did not want to be bound by marriage. Thus, their children, Antoine and Ursula, were in full swing because of their illegitimate status.

After the death of her lover Adelaide cooled to much, even to children. Partially withdraw it from this state was managed by a man named Rugon.

From their already legitimate marriage, Pierre was born. Having inherited a peasant’s grip from his father, he paved the way to the legacy of his mother with dignity. Adelaide, however, lived out her life in a small house on the outskirts of Plassan, which she inherited from McCar.

The marriage of Pierre Rugon with Felicite brought great offspring. In the first five years, this fragile woman gave birth to three sons (Eugene, Aristide and Pascal), and then two more daughters. Zola describes in great detail the sons of Pierre, who inherited the traits of his father. He also places a lot of space on the characterization of Pascal, although he, perhaps, was an exception to the rules. There was not in him “the proprietary feature of the Rugons” – an unrestrained desire for enrichment. On the eve of the February Revolution of 1848, three sons of Pierre were in Plassana.

On the example of the genus Rugonov Zola gives a description of the average stratum of society and how the political picture in the country was reflected in their capabilities. Using political events in their own interests, the Rugons capitalized. Participating in all stages of the political crisis, they rose on the ruins of freedom. And when the republic fell, they took a direct part in its division.

Zola makes a thorough analysis of the political forces of Plassan, who played a role during the revolution of 1848. The nobility and the bourgeoisie united their hatred of the republic, and only artisans and peasants really protected it.

After a long period of service, Pierre’s elder brother, Antoine, returns to the army. Soldier’s life quite strongly corrupted this man, who became a drunkard and lazy. Antoine wants to sue Pierre for the inheritance, but does not find support in his relatives. He has three children: Lisa, Gervaise and Jean.

Meanwhile, the political events of 1851 continue to rapidly unfold and reach Plassan, radically changing the lives of its inhabitants and the fate of the heroes of the novel. Silver and Mietta join the detachment of insurgent workers. Antoine McCar, whom the proletarians consider his own, is in collusion with Pierre Rugon. He entraps the Republicans, in whose ranks and his nephew Silver. The price of treason in 800 francs Pierre undertakes to pay him. During the battle, Mietta perishes. Silver is shot by gendarmes.

But to Rugonam these same events open the way to success. In their yellow salon you can hear the thunder of applause. Felicite does not hide her enthusiasm. Pierre raises a glass for the emperor!

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Summary of “Career Rugons” Zola