Therese Raquin

Zola's "Scientific" Method in the Presentation of Thérèse 11th Grade

Throughout the novel Thérèse Raquin, it is apparent that Zola has chosen a particular light in which he wants the reader to view each of his characters. He did so with the theme and idea of naturalism with the focal points being temperaments and bestiality through a third person narration. In the preface to the novel, Zola states 'my aim has been above all scientific' (Preface to the Second Edition 1868, page 4). Thérèse in particular is portrayed to have gone through the most adversity and is set with the biggest of challenges in the novel. It is her response that the reader is most accustomed to in how she deals with these obstacles being the environment, influences and having a lack of control over herself, as subsequently, she is at the pinnacle of all that takes place.

In consideration of this basis of his study, he created four characters based on four elements (of temperaments) that doctors in the time of the 19th century believed made up the human body: Thérèse who is nervous; Laurent who is sanguine; Camille who is lymphatic; Mme Raquin who is bilious. The constructions of these characters influenced Zola and so he 'chose to set [himself] certain problems and to solve them' with the instance of experimenting and...

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