Père Goriot
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Père Goriot
Honoré de Balzac
Literature
Aug 13, 2018
In simple outline, the book sounds like a poor man’s King Lear: A retired businessman is done in by the greed and callousness of his ungrateful daughters. What distinguishes this tale in the fullness of its telling, however, is the way in which Balzac uses Goriot’s sad circumstances to paint a dynamic portrait of a society so entangled with venal motives that even the most fundamental human emotions are perverted. The novelist ironically traces Goriot’s descent from prosperity to poverty by sending him ever higher in Madame Vauquer’s boarding house. In the end, our sympathy for old Goriot is mitigated by our awareness that he has been complicit in his own misery, ruined by the monomania that twists his parental affection into a desperate avarice. Like the fatal flaw of many of Balzac’s memorable protagonists, his obsession is neither unimaginable nor obscure, and all the more terrible for its familiarity.
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Oct 28, 2018
I had to read this for college, and I learned that I am not a fan of Balzac or his writing
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Nov 28, 2018
I loved this in French in college.
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