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Analyze the role of light and colors in the novel

Throughout the duration of the novel, colors are a matter of importance for the whole story’s mood, setting, and theme. Black is the most prominent of all colors as Zola’s introduction immediately sets the mood for the story and further utilizes the dark/black theme as the main character, Etienne, becomes involved at Le Voreux. Through the extensive use of detailed and distinctive imagery, Zola maintains the ‘blackness’ as the story goes on.

In addition, the prominence of the color presents an ironic opposition towards the novel’s title, wherein Germinal is supposed to represent growth or hope, but the stress of dim colors in the novel provide a hopeless scenario as the main character enters the scene: “He could not even see the black soil before him, and only felt the immense flat horizon by the gusts of March wind, squalls as strong as on the sea, and frozen from sweeping leagues of marsh and naked earth. No tree could be seen against the sky, and the road unrolled as straight as a pier in the midst of the blinding spray of darkness.

” [1] This darkness represents a pressing feeling over the main character himself, where his surroundings somehow mirror his own emotions; a feeling of hopelessness and uncertainty, where one could not see the future that lies ahead. In addition, the importance of the color black provides a dim overlook for the story’s progress and the ‘dimness’ remains in the vision of the reader. One can imagine the darkness inside the mine where hundreds upon hundreds of workers continue to squint through the blackness and rely mainly on their instincts to navigate their way around it.

In relation to the title, the germinal month is usually accompanied by heavy rains and winds which culminate at the start of the harvest season. However, Germinal represents the reexamination and awakening of the worker’s consciousness as they begin to realize the oppression in their lives. The use of dark imagery represents the challenge set forth for the characters in order to see through the blindness and fully realize the hard reality that they keep on accepting without any question. Choose your favorite character and analyze him or her.

The Industrial epoch has provided this burgeoning feeling of hopelessness and emotional darkness due to the rise of new forms of technology characterized by the use of steel and steam. Essential for the growth of technology is labor, and in the light of capitalism, the poor has no material wealth to offer but their physical skill. Thus, to bring food to the table means that every poor man, woman, and child has to toil in order to bring something for the day. In the novel, the most interesting of which was Maheude.

Maheude, mother of seven, probably has the most compelling situation for the duration of the story because of her unmoved thinking in life and her recognizable maternal instinct. As observed from the following passage, we can see Maheude’s resignation over her family’s situation yet maintains her positive outlook on her life: “Oh! I didn’t want to complain. Things are like this, and one has to put up with them; all the more that it’s no good struggling, perhaps we shouldn’t change anything.

The best is, is it not, to try and live honestly in the place in which the good God has put us? ” [2] From the following passage, we can definitely feel Maheude’s contentment over her life, even as she tries to beg for food and money for the family. She implies a strict sense of family without having to aspire for money or any material object. We can also conclude Maheude’s simple outlook on life, that her will and the will of any other poor individual does not have the power to change the world or their lives.

They are bound to their fate and they are firmly established on a hard, simple life without having to air their complaints. Maheude’s role is a symbolization of women during the industrial age where women are still obligated to fulfill their duties to the family and their spouse. Reference List 1. Zola, E. Germinal. Trans Stanley and Eleanor Hochman. United States: Signet Classics: 1981. (p. 1) 2. Zola, E. Germinal. Trans Stanley and Eleanor Hochman. United States: Signet Classics: 1981. (p. 73)

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