The role of artistic details in the story “Gobsek” by O. de Balzac

The fidelity of the artistic detail is a characteristic feature of Balzac’s realism. Creating the image of Gobsek, the writer uses a number of definitions that allow to emphasize and show the reader a psychologically complex character. Due to the grotesque, Balzac achieves a special expressiveness of the image, in which the Balzac synthesis of romantic and realistic principles is organically manifested. Thus, in the description of the image of Gobsek, definitions appear: “person-bill”, “automatic man”, “boa constrictor”, “fantastic figure, personification of the power of gold.” Moreover, even the name of the protagonist, pronounced in the title of the story, is such a definition: “Gobsek” in translation means “Zhivoglot”.

The artistic detail plays an exceptionally important role in the creation of the portrait character of the Balzac heroes. As a rule, the writer gives first a general portrait of the

hero, then complements it with separate characteristic details scattered throughout the narrative. So, for example, in the novel “Gobsek” artistic details not only supplement and clarify the shape of the usurer, but also reveal some features of his character that are very important for understanding Gobsek’s inner nature.

This same goal is served by details characterizing Gobsak’s “amazing, extraordinary sight”. Thus, the eyes of a moneylender under the pen of a brilliant artist become a mirror of his soul, reflect his inner world: “impassive,” “cold,” “penetrating into the very soul,” “fading,” “dull,” “metallic.”

In the story “Gobsek” many pages are devoted to describing the life of the heroes, surrounding their surroundings. And in these descriptions, the details accurately captured by the writer reveal the characters and circumstances in which the heroes are located. Particularly expressive descriptions of the room and store room Gobsek, bedroom Countess Anastazi de Resto.


room and pantry of the usurer: “The room was cluttered with expensive furniture, silver utensils, lamps, paintings, vases, books, excellent prints without frames, rolled up with a tube, and a wide variety of rarities… In the pantry and rotting pates, and piles of various supplies.. oysters and fish covered with plump mold… cotton bales, sugar boxes, kegs of rum, coffee, indigo, tobacco – a whole bazaar of colonial goods. “

The Countess de Reste’s bedroom: “A beige satin of white slippers gleamed with a weary woman after returning from the ball glittered at the bearskin spread by the bronze lions supporting the mahogany bed… Flowers, diamonds, gloves, bouquet, belt were scattered all over the room and other accessories of the ball gown. There was a smell of fine spirits… And already poverty, threatening this woman or her lover, lurking behind this luxury, raised her head and showed them her sharp teeth. “

In these descriptions, we are visibly presented by two worlds: “a world of unreasonable, turning into an end in itself and thus of meaningless wealth” and “a world of insane, ruinous, menacing luxury.”

Due to the “fidelity of details”, Balzac in his descriptions “achieves such a picturesque expressiveness, which can only be compared with the paintings of old masters.” Therefore, it is not by chance that Balzac ends the characterization of Gobsak with the words: “A Dutchman worthy of Rembrandt’s brush”.

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The role of artistic details in the story “Gobsek” by O. de Balzac