Zola is the founder of naturalism, a movement that stems from realism. It advocates social determinism and expresses things as they are, as realism already did.
Thérèse Raquin tells the story of a girl born of a relationship between an Algerian woman and a French soldier during the Algerian war who has been entrusted to her aunt who lives in the French countryside. Zola describes Thérèse as a girl who has always had a feisty character and has kept her wild side in check throughout her childhood because she had to behave like an exemplary girl as her aunt taught her. She is destined from an early age to look after her sickly cousin all her life, marrying him as an adult. After enduring a dull and agonizing city in the country, her aunt decided a few years later to move to Paris and open a shop in a busy street. There again she continued to be bored as there were hardly any customers and all the passers-by were too busy to notice the little shop. Her marriage to her cousin was not a happy one either. She finds a lover and wants to poison her husband. In your opinion, has she succeeded? Has she managed to finally become happy and be herself?