Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Profound Ideas of Honore de Balzacs Pere Goriot Essay -- Balzac P
The Profound Ideas of Honore de Balzacs Pere GoriotHonore de Balzac published Pere Goriot in 1834 (1), one of the outstanding novels in his birds-eye study of Parisian life, the Human Comedy. Throughout Pere Goriot, Balzacs narrator oscillates among the roles of social historian and moralist. Although the presence of both observer and commentator may initially be mutually exclusive, it also is a large part of what makes this novel interesting and entertaining. Balzacs readers, as flesh-and-blood humans, do not segregate perception and judgment routinely in their everyday lives. By packaging profound ideas in a way similar to natural human expectation, Balzacs narrator achieves an especially comfortable and effective plangency with readers. One of the central threads of Pere Goriot is the story of Eugene de Rastignacs rise from provincial obscurity to success in Paris. Along the way he learns much just about Parisian society and human nature. In the following passage from Pere Go riot, Rastignac pursues success through fashionable dress Eugene had begun to realize the influence a tailor can workout over a young mans life. He is either a mortal enemy or a friend, and alas, there is no middle term between the two extremes. Eugenes tailor was one who understood the paternal aspect of his trade and regarded himself as a hyphen between a young mans past and future. The pleasurable Eugene was eventually to make the mans fortune by one of those remarks at which he was in later years to excel I know two pairs of his trousers that take hold each made matches worth twenty thousand francs a year. Fifteen hundred and fifty francs, and all the clothes he cared to have At this chief the poor southerner felt all doubts van... ...ank and the English mathematician Charles Babbage developed the analytical engine, precursor to the modern computer. 2 This quote from Henry Reeds 1962 translation, pages 99-100. (Honore de Balzac. Pere Goriot. raw(a) York Penguin Books, 1 981) 3 The strain is mine. 4 Daedalus was a great inventor in Greek mythology who escaped from prison with his son, Icarus, by flying away on wings of feathers and wax. Not heeding the advice of his concrete father, Icarus dared to fly close to the glorious sun. The wax wings melted, and Icarus plunged to his death in the sea below. 5 A corollary is that no one who hasnt been to the provinces knows a thing about human life, for a person who lives only in the city will also have a skewed perception. Work CitedHonore de Balzac. Pere Goriot. Translated by Henry Reed. New York Penguin Books, 1981.