The problem of greed for power and enrichment in the interpretation of Emile Zola

29 Apr

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All parents screw up their children.

House M.D

Emile Zola wanted to unite both physiological and social aspects in order to reveal the history of the society. So the task of the “La Fortune des Rougon” was to study the question of heredity and environment following the example of one family. Zola believed in the obligatory heredity, which “has its own laws” but he also took into consideration the fate.

The founder of the Rougon-Macquarts was Adelaide Fouque. During her life she had two husbands, which she had children of. They passed their features of character on their children, who became their images. It’s well-known that copies always differ from the original.

Neither Adelaide, nor Macquart, nor Rougon had time to spend for their children, so they were raised themselves. So the parents corrupted their children. Antoine, Pierre and Ursule also passed their features of character on their children.

“The typical features of Rougon-Macquarts, the group, the family I’m going to study were irrepressible longings, our restless time, which aspire to pleasures of the life.” – Emile Zola.

The whole family, all generations were longing to an easy way of enrichment and couldn’t agree to less. All of them were corrupted by heredity and bringing up. They weren’t interested what the world would look like, they weren’t interested in any kinds of philosophy either, they were ready the follow the way, which would lead to material goods.

Time has changed. Nowadays world views differ from the ones during the Second Empire. Those days it was typical to be crazy about money, as for today such people are said to be weird, negative. To prove the truth of the idea about children corrupted by parents I’d like to bring the example of Pascal, the son of Pierre, who was the eldest son of Adelaide. He liked science, he didn’t need money, he studied people’s physiology. That was the reason why he was thought to be weird. But now we bow to such people, glorify them. So Pascal was corrupted by not being corrupted. He got his own point of view, independent from the society. Probably the character of Pascal was the symbol of the possibility of a still remediable situation, that there could be people who didn’t touch the “Golden Fever” of Rougon-Macquarts.

Adelaide understood who were their children, who she was in the times when she lost everything. The children left here alone in an old house so she could take a stock of the satiation from her own side. Adelaide realized she had given birth to creatures not better than wolfs.

E. Zola interprets the greed for power and enrichment as a biological process “adjusted” by people. And it has its own laws. Well, the writer was a symbolist, it is well-known. But to my mind he examined this problem in a too narrow way. Motives aren’t meaningful. Only the result is meaningful. It means, again according to my point of view, that heredity means nothing; it doesn’t matter why they were willing to catch an easy gain, and the only important thing here is what they reached. Personally I respect the family of Rougon-Macquarts in sense of the fact that they were fighting for what they believed in. And they won.

Of course it is not right to divide the world into “good and bad”. Good and evil are always together. However everybody has its own opinion. I don’t think we have a right to judge any person for its lifestyle. Yes, I agree that money is quite important in our life, but there is no way it can become the main life purpose. If to regard our life as art, I can cite Sandra Starukaite who said “Where money begins, there art ends up”. People are programmed to search for the easiest ways of solving the problem. So would it be objective to judge the family of Rougon-Macquarts for the appropriated with nature activity? As Emile Zolasaid, “you can’t fight the nature.

So it means his work was just to depict the epoch, taking into consideration his point of view. No matter how much the author wanted to avoid “appreciating what he depicts” he didn’t manage, ‘cause we can see the opinion of the writer for money.

This problem is senseless, ‘cause money has always influenced people. It’s not necessary to write a novel just to say how ugly and crippled the world is being healthy physically. The question of willing an easy gain is controversial. Of course it is so grim when money influence who we are. But people will either realize it, or not.

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