Exploring the World of Maison Vauquer in Honore De Balzacs Old Man Goriot

Categories: Le Pere Goriot



Nineteenth century European realism


Maison Vauquer-World Parallel inside and outside

In Old Man Goriot by Honore De Balzac, Maison Vauquer not only becomes the driving force but also the binding force. It becomes an important character itself where every character is brought together because of it. Maison vauquer brings all the characters under one shelter. Every character revolves around it.

Maison vauquer even has different floors for different classes. The seven floors are occupied by their respective social withstanding.

It clearly represents hierarchy within the boarding. It can also represent Paris where every class is present and they share the same city. The world outside the boarding and the world inside the boarding are parallel. The characters represent the society they belong to. Through the private lives of these characters we can perceive the psyche of the life and the people of Paris. The society is purely driven by social ambition and the hunger for wealth.

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The characters are only concerned with each others status and wealth they have no idea what is going on in their private lives. Money becomes the only medium with which they come close.

Aristocracy becomes important as a class in the nineteenth century. Everybody strives to be a part of that aristocracy and tries to climb that ladder toward the elite section. Rastignac's urge to climb that ladder does not distance him from ethics and bonds of a pure relationship. He gave up law and started analyzing people around him.

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His urge to be a part of the upper class can be because of the political privileges. He becomes the only character who balances both issues of love and wealth. He didn't gave in for Victorine's wealth even if she was more wealthy but he stood around with Delphine, maybe attraction but he did.

Through Maison Vauquer we come across the darker side of the society which is the underworld. Although it is the evil part of the society but it also comes with wealth and power which negates all its hostility. Vautrin represents that part of the society which just like him is secretive and capricious. Maison Vauquer does not represent a simple boarding house but rather a complicated one. It is present with different human emotions which enlivens the place.

Being the realist novel the most intricate descriptions of the Maison Vauquer add colours and life to the novel. Different elements like broken and old furniture, curtains, walls with different paintings is juxtaposed to idealism and rationality present in the society which is getting extinguished with time passing. With time passing Masion Vauquer will be getting blurred as most of the boarders end up leaving it because of different circumstantial results, which may mean downfall of Parisian society without any hope of starting a new life.

It also represents the idea of alienation of all the boarders from their private lives. Maids of the daughters are more updated with their lives than a father. It becomes a kind of an escape for the characters. All the characters find their own space in Masion Vauquer. Mostly everybody is surrounded only with idea of self interest. Capitalism took over it and the lives of all the characters. Ideally Maison Vauquer is a part of that society but Balzac through this boarding house has shown Paris with all its different colours.

Just like the masked characters in the novel Maison Vauquer is also pretentious. The name of the first chapter 'a respectable boarding house' is delusional. The place can be questioned of its authenticity as the characters are conditioned ro think according to their environment. Which may mean that it asserts that it is decent but it can be questioned when other characters mistakes the daughters of Goriot to be his mistresses then how come they allow that sort of activity taking place front of them? Maison Vauquer is cheap and it is not possible for all the cheap places to be honorable?

Money not only becomes the driving force of the Masion Vauquer but also the lives of all the characters. It led to crash of all the relationships in the novel. Mediocrity is not accepted by anybody, lineage and wealth becomes very important for them. When Madame Vauquer desires of being 'Madame Goriot' it certainly heightens that how a person is led to forget his/her individuality.

The empty carriages which were present in Goriot's funeral and none of the daughters show up this portrays how all relationships for them are buried with their father's body and the only relationship left to be shared by them is with money.

The difference in spaces which comes from a relation because of a realist novel. Balzac has bounded spaces in the novel through Masion Vauquer. The dark depiction of France resulted from many political factors like bourbon revolution and French revolution. Their outcome left the society disintegrated and crippling. Masion Vauquer successfully shows the different aspects of the society. It clearly showed the dark side as well as the 'fantastical' side of the society


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Exploring the World of Maison Vauquer in Honore De Balzacs Old Man Goriot. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/old-man-goriot-example-essay

Exploring the World of Maison Vauquer in Honore De Balzacs Old Man Goriot essay
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