Eugenie Grandet

Eugenie Grandet Analysis

Honore de Balzac’s novel "Eugenie Grandet" was for the first time published in 1833. Artisic issues of the work consist of two antagonistic subjects - love to money and love to man.

Talking about contemporary society, Balzac emphasizes its mercantile nature. The life of most people, according to the writer, is limited to the purely material interests. Mr. Grandet, one of the main characters in the novel, is the personification of the power of money. Balzac shows the consequences of the human love of money on the example of his character and life story. On the one hand, we see the careful and economical attitude to things, on the other - an unreasonable restriction of himself and his family in the essentials.

Mr. Grandet spends his money only on those things that he cannot get-away: consecrated bread, clothes for his wife and daughter, payment for their chairs in church, lighting, salary for their only maid Nanente, tinning of saucepans, taxes, repairs of buildings and the costs of his enterprises . The farmers, sharecroppers supply Grandet with capons, chickens, eggs, butter and wheat, the tenant-gardeners - with vegetables. Fruit are their own, but the best of them are not for their home table, but for the market. Fowl appears in Grande’s menu just after he buys forests.

Papa Grandet appreciates not the power and the opportunities that money can offer, but the money itself. He loves everything that is connected with them - earnings, augmenting, capital investments in one or another enterprise, storage, movement, admiring (as in the case of gold coins, that he gives to his daughter Eugenia to every birthday) and even awareness of the existence of money itself.

Mr. Grandet sees money in people, and people in money: gold coins live and swarm, like people: go, come, sweat and increase. In conversation with Charles hero feels compassion not to the fact that the nephew lost his father, but to the fact that he lost the state. For Papa Grande devastation is the hardest misfortune, which can happen to a person in the earth.

The hero does not think about his future life the same way as the majority of the surrounding merchants and aristocrats do not think about it. Balzac explains the spiritual callousness of the XIX century with changes in social mores that swapped future life on the present, full of earthly joys and pleasures. On the eve of his death Papa Grandet reaches out his hand not to the crucifixion of Christ, but to its gilding. Instead of giving a blessing the hero calls upon the only daughter to take care of gold, because then she would have to give him a report on the other world.

Eugenie Grandet could be called the exact opposite of her father, if there’s not one "but": she has inherited from him his main character trait - the inner stubbornness. The writer periodically emphasizes commonality in the behavior of the father and the daughter: he puts gold in profit, she – in a sense; trick of characters driven by their primary, inner passion – Eugenie’s love and Grandet’s miserliness; old niggard is willing to sacrifice the sake of loving daughter for some extra plates of gold, Eugene is ready to give her life for travel bag, that was given her for storage by her beloved.

Papa Grandet intuitively feels similarity with his daughter, but his advanced age and his heart, rooted in a passion for gold, does not allow him to see the true nature of Eugene, meanwhile, she is well aware of who her father is.

She does not think about the money as long as she does no need it. As soon as love breaks into Eugenia’s life, her mind wakes up too: a quarter of an hour passed since the arrival of his cousin, and she has more thoughts than since she appeared in the world.

The girl is attracted to Charlet’s each trait: refined beauty, fashionable clothes, and, unusual for the province, manners. When something bad happened to him, it foments in Eugene natural for her sense of compassion for a fellow creature.

Formation of love in the heart of the main character is drawn by Balzac psychologically subtle and calibrated: in the beginning Eugenie unconsciously seeks to please her cousin and wants to draw his attention with her appearance, then she rebels against the established father’s order at the house and at the same time conceals her thoughts and feelings from others.

Against the background of confrontation between the materialistic and spiritual the minor characters of the novel are stereotyped in some way: the Cruchots and de Grassenovs are the kind of pulverized “Papas Grandet”," Ms. Grandet is a classic image of the God-fearing woman who obeys her husband. Charles Grandet is a young man with a noble heart quickly learns unprincipled public morality, which not just changes, but corrupts his character. Only Eugenie remains herself – a pure, kind, forgiving and infinitely loving girl.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.