The novel takes place in Paris and tells about the life of several heroes for twenty years.
Night. A young woman, Gervaise, is waiting for her lodging partner in her wretched room. She is slim, “with delicate features, already battered by the harsh life.” Gervaise limps on one leg. Two sons sleep in a room: eight-year-old Claude and four-year-old Etienne. Lantier returns in the morning, talking with her very rude. She takes Gervaise’s clothes to get money for her. Later, when he came to the laundry, Gervaise found out that Lantier had left the house: he left with Adele in the beautiful cabbage he had hired for money received from Gervaise’s clothes.
In the laundry there is Virzhini, whom Gervaise saw with Adele.
The scene of the fight is described in a very naturalistic manner, the replicas of the heroines are the selective Parisian swearing. Girls do not separate: “the laundry was enjoying.” Finally, Gervaise grabs Virgini’s skirts, tears off the pantaloons and rubs her on the buttocks with a roll for knocking out the underwear. The vanquished Virginie, sobbing, leaves.
“Trap” is a tavern, where many heroes of the novel drink and spend time.
It is there that Roofer Kupo confesses in his tender feelings towards Gervaise and makes her an offer.
They go to visit his sister and her husband (Lorilla), who live with her mother (Ms. Kupo). Mr. Lorillé is a chain-business master, making ornaments of gold. Mrs. Lorille – an absurd, envious woman, immediately disliked Gervaise.
Wedding of Gervaise and Cupo.
The invited people are people constantly gossiping, scolding, envious. Mrs. Lorille gives Gervaise the nickname: “Lame”.
The guests get drunk. And one of the guests, a drunken Uncle Bazuzh, begins to rant: “When a man died… this is for a long time.”
Four years of life of Gervaise and Cupo were in hard work. Gervaise gave birth to a daughter. The scene of the delivery is very naturalistic: Gervaise gives birth, not stopping the usual cases, because she needs to work and prepare food for her husband: “The cutlets were already in the skillet when the fights began again.” Tears streamed down her eyes, but she continued to stagger at the stove; she turned the fries, but what if she gives birth? It does not mean that you need to leave Kupo without dinner, but she barely managed to put a bottle of wine, she did not have enough strength to get to the bed, – she fell to the floor and gave birth here right, on the mat. ”
Kupo is very careful about Gervaise and his little daughter, who was called Nana.
The second apartment upstairs was occupied by two residents – the mother and son of Gusja. My mother was engaged in repairing lace, and my son, a blacksmith, worked at a nail factory.
The savings of the four Coupos reached six hundred francs. Since that time, Gervaise has lost her peace. She was possessed by an ambitious dream – to open her own laundry and hire the workers herself.
But until her dreams come true. Working, Kupo falls from the roof: “His body described an easy curve, two times turned in the air and with a deaf sound, like a knot of linen thrown from a height, collapsed in the middle of the street.” Kupo at death. Gervaise spends all the savings on his treatment. The envious Lorilele is happy with this scenario.
However, Gouget, secretly in love with Gervais, invites her to borrow money from him – 500 francs, and open the laundry. Guger himself put them off for the wedding, as his mother desired.
Gervaise opened the laundry and hired female workers: Curve Augustine and lanky Clemence. Lorilla finally quarreled with Gervaise. Mrs. Lorilele openly accused Zherves of having an affair with Gouges. Gervaise became even more beautiful and was happy: her dreams came true.
And Kupo began to get drunk often, pestering the washerwomen. However, Gervaise forgave him.
The son of Gervaise Etienne works as an apprentice to Gouge in the smithy, Gervaise sometimes comes to them to take their underwear and admires the way Gouge works.
On the stairs, once, Gervaise meets Virginia, and between them a conversation begins, which has become the beginning of a crony friendship. Virginie said that Lantier threw Adele and he had nowhere to live.
June 19 is the birthday of Gervaise. All the guests are assembled, there is not only Kupo – he drinks in “Zapadne”. And a little later he, drunk, comes home in an embrace with Lantier.
Kupo suggests Lantier to live with them. Lantier settles down and begins to behave very freely with Gervaise. One day, during one of Lantier’s harassment, Gouze finds them with Gervais: he decided that Gervaise was sleeping with Lantier. But Gervaise dissuades him: she would never do so. Gutier invites her to go to Belgium, which Gervaise denies. Yes, she loves him. But she has a husband, children, laundry.
One night, Gervaise returned with Lantier and saw that the whole room was in the vomit of a drunken Kupo. At this moment Lantier began to molest to Gervaise, she agreed: “It’s my fault.” Behind this scene, the little daughter of Gervaise, Nana, watches with curiosity.
Soon the whole quarter learned that Gervaise went to Lantier every night. “At first she felt like a criminal, disgusted with herself, she felt that she was plunged into mud.” She left Lantier’s room and rubbed her shoulders almost to the blood, as if she wanted to wash this mud away. “She would like to change men, and change the skin. “But little by little Gervaise got used to it.” It was too tiring to wash each time. ” Gervaise gradually began to throw laundry, it became worse to work.
Old woman Kupo told Gouge about what was happening between Gervaise and Lantier. Gusja fell ill with grief. Gervaise came to bring them linen – Guge asked her to leave. “Gervaise returned to the laundry stupidly, without a single thought, – so the cows return to their stall.”
After a while, the laundry went bankrupt, and Kupo prospered amid this ruin. “Positively, this accursed drunkard only got fat from vodka.” Together, Kupo and Lantier often beat Gervaise. She was already used to “in the end she resigned herself, she realized that they were simply pleased to rip her, and submissively substituted her fat back under the blows.”
Kupo’s mother died, in front of little Nana. At the funeral, all the same people come – spiteful, envious gossips and hypocrites.
Guger comes to the funeral. He tells Gervaise that she can always count on him.
Spouses Kupo moved to a miserable little room, because the money was getting smaller and smaller.
neighbor of the couple, Coupo, Bijar, slapped his wife in the stomach with a blow to his stomach. Now he regularly beats his eight-year-old daughter Lali. “Meanwhile, raw vodka” Western “began its destructive work in Kupo family. Laundress already foresee the day when her husband, like Bizharu, will take up the whip and make it” dance. “Gervaise slowly” descends “starts strong drink.
Kupo very cruelly treats his daughter Nana. Beats her, suspects that she went to the panel. In fact, Nana – just a coquette, loves to dress beautifully and look good. She is 15 years old, and she already looks like a real woman. “With all of her being, Nana was hungry for a” roll and spin “, as Daddy Kupo said.”
For Nana starts to run some old man; and one day, when the girl received another portion of the abuse from drunken parents, she leaves home.
Soon Lantier says that he saw her, well dressed, walking arm in arm with the old man.
After a while, Kupo and Gervaise saw Nana in the square, caught her, beaten and taken home. “In the end, the parents had to come to terms with Nana, let him come or not, as he wants, if only he would close the door behind him.” What to do, the habit is stronger than all, even decency! ”
Once Gervaise scolded the girl, to which she replied: “I have seen how you walked about in one shirt and stockings! Leave me alone, I should not have set an example!”
eight-year-old neighbor, Lali, dies of exhaustion and beatings of her father.
For Gervaise and Cupo, it’s time to pay for the apartment. Gervaise – in debt and starving, Kupo – drinking. From hunger Gervaise goes to the panel, where quite casually meets Guge. He leads her home, into the room of her late mother, and feeds. Goughier still loves her. And she loves him, but leaves. “She remembered her old dream: to work peacefully, to always have bread, to sleep in a clean room, to raise children well, not to know how to be beaten, to die in my bed.”
Now she did not work, starved, slept in mud, her daughter went around, husband beat her by
and there was only one thing – to die on the pavement, and if she found the courage to throw herself out of the window, it would happen now. ”
Kupo in “Zapadne” got drunk and died. Since that day, Gervaise has often been forgotten.
“That’s how Gervaise lasted for several months, she went lower and lowered herself, she endured the last humiliation, and she was dying of hunger from day to day.” Nobody knew why she died. The truth was that she died from poverty, from dirt and fatigue, from unbearable One morning in the corridor a bad smell spread, and the neighbors remembered that for two days now Gervaes had not been seen, and when they entered her room she was already decomposing. ”
Zhervezu is buried by Uncle Bazuzh with the words: “Listen… It’s me, Merry Bibi, nicknamed the Comfort of Conscience… I’m happy, Bai-bai, beauty!”