Le père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac

Balzac is one of the fathers of the literary movement of realism. In his book ”le père Goriot”, the father Goriot, there is a lot of description of the places and environment in which the characters grow up. There is also a lot of description of the characters and their ways of being. This allows us to dive into the story and to know what is going on.

If you want to know what Paris was like in the 19th century, Balzac takes you on a journey through time and describes every street corner the characters took. The story begins with Rastignac, a young man from the French gentry, who arrives in Paris and wants to make his fortune but not get tired of working. His distant cousin Madame de Bauséant helps him to understand Parisian words and the mechanism of society. Thus he starts to flirt with rich and powerful women, most of them married. He then learns the mores of this society and in contrast meets Father Goriot. Father Goriot sacrifices himself for his daughters, who in return offer him nothing but contempt. They have both made a success of their lives and are now ashamed of their former father, whom they see as incompatible with society and the people they now associate with.

Through the descriptions of Father Goriot and the other characters’ thoughts we are left with all his feelings and the sad situation he is leaving. The ending is simply incredible, and the book is worth reading for its ending.


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