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Germinal
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Germinal (Sep 2020) > Germinal - Parts V and VI (spoilers!)

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message 1: by Pauline B (Dancing Lawn) (last edited Aug 06, 2020 11:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pauline B (Dancing Lawn) (dancing-lawn) | 37 comments Mod
This is a discussion thread for Parts V and VI of Germinal. Please comment your thoughts here!


Laurane Macquart (petitcailloubleu) | 15 comments Pfieuw.. I don't really know what to think of these two parts.. So much anger, violence and desperation. When the miners come together and walk around being angry they become less and less human, which makes total sense because of the hunger and mob mentality. But even seeing the thoughtful Maheus slipping down that stream is hard to watch.
I sort of liked the scene in which Chaval is kind to Catherine, it was good to show more of why she stays with him. It's easy to judge when you aren't in a violent relationship.
I feel for Deneulin, who loses more than 'the company' and is sympathetic. On the other hand we have Hennebeau who in a very short time goes from desperation to accepting his wife is having an affair with his nephew.. That goes right over my head. I think it would have been nice to have him react irrationally. It would be of way of showing that the bourgeois aslo act in anger. Now only the miners loose themselves in emotion, even the educated Etienne only looses control when he is drunk. And for a Macquart descendent that was a short drinking session (I am allowed to say ;) )
Jeanlin is now officially a little psychopath. 'I felt like killing him'. I don't think education has anything to do with those impulses.

And that ending.. I read Germinal last November as well and had forgotten all those people die. Especially Maheu. Still can't believe it.

These two parts really showed the situation of the miners is not going to get any better. The struggle, they fight. And it's all for naught..


Pauline B (Dancing Lawn) (dancing-lawn) | 37 comments Mod
Wow, I'm still shaken by the end of part 6, man this was hard to read. Like you Laurane, I found it particularly difficult to see how the Maheu have tipped over the edge and are fighting like they have nothing more to loose... because they don't. I mean they have sold everything down to the wool blankets that are supposed to keep them and their children warm.

The scene in which Étienne is with Jeanlin after the kid killed the soldier was particularly interesting. You can really feel how Étienne has trouble articulating how disillusioned he is with the "revolution" he was so invested in a few months prior and has convinced so many of his comrades that there is no going back and no stopping the violence.

It's my first time reading Germinal but I already knew of the mutilation scene, though I didn't know in which context it was going to come. Shit, I wasn't prepared for it. While I can't help but commiserate with all the women and girls Maigrat abused, I wouldn't wish the treatment his body was subjected to on my worst enemy. You can really feel how the strikers are reduced to animals by their extreme circumstances, leading to extreme consequences.

I noticed that a lot of the drastic actions are taken by women, which are referred to as "Furies" several times. I wonder what you guys make of it. I feel like this is the typical 19th century rhetoric of sensationalism when women do drastic things because "it's not in the womanly nature so when it happens it's particularly disgusting". Men committing violent acts are not put under that much scrutiny. But really, the violence that comes from misery transcends gender. Women have just as many (if not more) reasons to be angry and want vengeance.

Also, what do you make of the character of Savarine? I don't really know what to make of him. He seems to be throwing words of destruction and anarchy around but he remains very on the sidelines of the conflict, his excuse mainly being that they are not doing their strike/riot right. I kind of despise him honestly :'D


Laurane Macquart (petitcailloubleu) | 15 comments I really like Savarine! He has strong beliefs and only does the things he sees that are in line with that. Very unlike Etienne that is against the strike but still leads is. But I might be biased towards Savarine because he has a bond with the rabbit 0:) And I like the idea of anarchy (sort of, not in practice, just the romantic idea of it)


Lana | 10 comments I knew there was going to be a lot of violence, but didn't see the mutilation scene coming. Their actions went beyond simple retaliation, it was as if they took all their frustrations that they'd kept for so long and taken them out on Maigrat's body. Probably for these women he represents all the things they had to suffer by his hand, as well as the hand of other men, which is why they took their revenge on his body. It was not easy to read this part.
I was not surprised by Jeanlin's actions though.
I still don't know what to think about Savarine. I can't say I hate him, can't say I like him either. I still haven't read part VII, don't know if he has any other part to play by the end of the novel. We'll see.


message 6: by Jess (new) - added it

Jess Foley | 5 comments O, my Gosh I need to catch up!


Laura | 4 comments Hi everyone,

I’m just leaving a comment to say that I’m still here and reading. I’ve fallen behind a little bit and only manage to read part 5 this week. I will read parts 6 and 7 next week to finish off the month. I don’t want to read any of your comments yet as I still have to read part 6 but boy part 5 was intense and action packed... when they put Maigret’s penis on a stick! Anyone else notice how the women are always described as being slaves to their emotions and to mob mentality, uncontainable and vicious.


message 8: by Iza (new) - rated it 5 stars

Iza Brekilien (izabrekilien) | 13 comments I already read the book many years ago, but still remembered the mutilation ! After all, Maigrat abused women, it's not very surprising that they should exert some revenge, though it was gruesome, I agree.
I can't say I like Savarine much, he stays apart from the miners, seems to be looking upon their action with some kind of haughty amusement - maybe he has read more, learned more, seen more than them ? Is more educated ? But doesn't propose much to them by way of action.
It's funny, I've begun to read a French comic that is called "Animal castle" (in reference to George Orwell, of course) and the subject is more or less the same, how to resist oppression. But, unlike Savarine and the others, they decide to do it using laughter and ridicule :)


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