I’ve been reading Germinal all over again. I’ve come to the part where the miners form an angry mob and spend the day bent on destruction (which is exactly what the mine shreholders want).

I had forgotten about the part where the market-owner, Margait, dies. I had forgotten how bloody the description of his brain spattering out of his skull is. I had forgotten how the women defile his body, how the eldest woman tears off his penis and they run around with it on the end of a stick.

Scenes like this, written today, would bring fame onto their authors. It would still bring him on to GMA today, because not only is it outrageous and horrific, it is very well placed. This man took advantage of the pain, suffering, and drudgery of those around him. He backed women into the corner and forced them to sustain their families with their bodies. He had no mercy and was shown no mercy. It is beautifully done and placed in the book, this final act before the police come down on the protestors.

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One response to “Readings

  1. analyticali

    How to we live in such perfectly parallel universes? Without my computer, I had no idea you were reading Germinal again. I’ve been helping my roommate study for the GRE Literature test and found a synopsis of Germinal. I remember when you read it for the first time and was intrigued by how Zola had gone to the mines during the strike to see it first hand before he wrote a novel about it.

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