Rachel Terry's Reviews > Eugénie Grandet

Eugénie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac
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Sep 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classics
Read in September, 2009

It's not quite as good as Pere Goriot or Lost Illusions, but I really liked Eugenie Grandet. I can hardly believe that Balzac wrote nearly a hundred of these novels. Balzac's powers of description are superb. He can compare a woman to a piece of dried fruit, and you can see her perfectly in your mind. Who would think of comparing a person to dried fruit? But it works.

You could call this a morality tale: avarice leads to unhappiness. Eugenie's father is the epitome of greed. Even on his deathbed, he is mesmerized not by the experience of dying but by the silver on the crucifix the priest has brought. It's interesting to see how Balzac shows the effects of this man's greed on his wife, daughter, friends, and relatives. They are affected so differently based on their strength of character.

And thanks to Melani for teaching me how to pronounce "Eugenie."
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message 1: by Deanna (new)

Deanna So now I'm very curious to hear you say "Eugenie"! I've never read any Balzac -- it was never assigned in school, and then there's that famous line from Music Man where Balzac is cited by the town biddies as being a "dirty book" in the library. I love a good morality tale -- I'll put this one on my ever-growing list of future things to read.


Rachel Terry Balzac a writer of "dirty books," eh? How times have changed. In this book, Eugenie asks the priest if it's a sin to marry a man and never live with him.


message 3: by Deanna (new)

Deanna And here are the lyrics:

Music Man
Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little lyrics

Alma:
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

Alma and Ethel:
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,
Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

All the ladies:
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little,
Talk a little, cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

Maud:
Professor, her kind of woman doesn't belong on any committee.
Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but she advocates dirty books.

Harold:
Dirty books!

Alma:
Chaucer

Ethel:
Rabelais

Eulalie:
Balzac!

Maud:
And the worst thing
Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but-

Alma:
I'll tell.

Ethel:
The man lived on my street, let me tell.

Eulalie:
Stop! I'll tell.
She made brazen overtures to a man who never
Had a friend in this town till she came here.

Alma:
Oh, yes
That woman made brazen overtures
With a gilt-edged guarantee
She had a golden glint in her eye
And a silver voice with a counterfeit ring

Just melt her down and you'll reveal
A lump of lead as cold as steel
Here, where a woman's heart should be!

Eulalie, Ethel, Maud, Alma, Mrs Squires:
He left River City the Library building
But he left all the books to her

Alma:
Chaucer

Ethel:
Rabelais

Eulalie:
Bal-zac!

Ladies:
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep
Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep
Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep
Pick a little, talk a little, cheep!


Rachel Terry Wow!


message 5: by Melani (new)

Melani So here is a K12 related question: When do you get to read?!?


Rachel Terry It's a short book, I rechecked it out of the library as many times as I could, and I still paid a late fee.


message 7: by Krisette (new)

Krisette Spangler How do you pronouce Eugenie?


Rachel Terry ooo-zhen-ee


message 9: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great pronunciation guide -- I can see myself today on the subway saying "ooo-zhen-ee" over and over.


Rachel Terry I hope there isn't a Eugenie sitting nearby on the subway while you repeat her name over and over again. She'll get really freaked out.

I don't get any credit for that pronunciation. I just copied and pasted it from Melani's email.


message 11: by Melani (new)

Melani what are the chances of meeting a Eugenie?


Rachel Terry slightly worse chances than meeting a Eugene? How do you say Eugene in French?


message 13: by Melani (new)

Melani We should go to France and find out. I am bored of studying lessons today. And its cold here now. Maybe it is still warm in France and our research on linguistics would be better than my studies of "Solutions that produce gasses."


Rachel Terry Excellent! If the weather is better in Italy than in France, we could work on Eva's lesson, "The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius."


message 15: by Deanna (new)

Deanna I vote for a trip to France!! I am also very tired of studying statistics and medical research studies today and would like to renew my high school French skills. Oui, oui!! Bonjour!! Comment t'aller vous? Tres bien, merci, et vous?

"ooooh-zehn" Which would make your father, "when-dehll ooooh-zehn toll-mehn".


Rachel Terry Dad's name sounds very sophisticated in French.


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