Old Goriot (Pere Goriot)by Honore de Balzac
Considered to be one of Balzac's most important works, "Old Goriot", or "Père Goriot", is the story of its title character Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac. We are introduced to the characters at Maison Vauquer, a boarding house owned by the widow Madame Vauquer. Central to the theme… See more details below
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Considered to be one of Balzac's most important works, "Old Goriot", or "Père Goriot", is the story of its title character Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac. We are introduced to the characters at Maison Vauquer, a boarding house owned by the widow Madame Vauquer. Central to the theme of the book is the struggle to achieve upper-class status in society. Rastignac is eager to achieve this upper-class standing but is unfamiliar to the ways of Parisian society. Vautrin tries to convince Rastignac to pursue an unmarried woman named Victorine, a dubious suggestion which involves the disposal of her brother who blocks the woman's fortune. The failings to achieve this upper-class status are exemplified by Goriot who has bankrupted himself to support his two well-married daughters, yet they reject him. A classic and tragic story, "Old Goriot" is one of the most pivotal works in Balzac's sweeping novel sequence "La Comédie Humaine", which endeavors to depict the effects of society on the entirety of the human condition.
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Father Goriot by Honore de Balzac is one of the works of La Comedie Humaine. The plot of the story is rather complicated, but as the novel approaches the end, everything starts falling into its proper place. Both wealthy and poor classes are analyzed in the novel through the actions and interests of individuals. Vice characterizes the nature of Parisian society; for this reason, vice opposes and also prevails over virtue. Of course, in order to create the drama of the novel, vice is used to represent a large section of the people living in Paris at the time. The novel illustrates a large segment of the human condition during the first half of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, the powerful evil over good theme of the novel is rather devastating.
I read this book for an application project on the five themes of geography. It was somewhat hard to follow and only vaguely related to the five themes. I liked much of Balzac's writing style, although I sometimes got lost in long descriptions and explanations. Balzac seems to want you to feel sympathy for one of the characters, Old Goriot. I felt that some of the characters were overly dramatic. Although Old Goriot was somewhat hard to follow, the overall story was interesting to me.