Parental Love and Societal Ambition in "Pere Goriot" by Honore de Balczak

Essay by karmakariUniversity, Bachelor's March 2006

download word file, 3 pages 0.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 16 times

Through the course of history, society and human nature have had its difficulties examined through the use of literature. The behavior of parents as it relates to the raising and providing for societies children has always evolved around the societal norms, values and customs. I am sure that most would agree that raising children is somewhat of a cruel experiment. Parents ultimately attempt to make choices based upon morality and society's values for the best interest of their children and usually at the expense of themselves. In the novel "Pere Goriot" written by Honore de Balczak, we will view the dichotomy of parental love and societies influences as it relates to the "bourgeois tragedy" of money, power, and despair.

The story begins in a delapitated boarding house called Maison Vauquer or Pension Vauquer in Paris in the 1800's. Balczak opens the story with a detailed description of the boarding house with its " Cupids of Paris who come to be cured at the nearby Hospital for Veneral Diseases".

This description depicts the boarding house as smelly and depressing, housing some of the outcasts or lower casts of society. Maison Vauquer will house the main characters who compromise a make shift, often dysfunctional family. The inhabitants are boarded there as a family of misfits who don't necessarily have any other place to go. The mother figure in the boarding house is Mme. Vauquer who is the proprietor. However, the major parental figure in the novel is Pere Goriot.

Father Goriot is a retired flour and pasta merchant who was once very wealthy. During the French Revolution Goriot made a fortune at the expense of other peoples misery by gauging patrons. Goriot came to the boarding house after he became a widower. He had two daughters that were his pride...