In this quote from Therese Raquin, how does  Zola's eye for minute detail combine with the scientific findings of his day to create the naturalistic novel?  "On the other side, behind a narrower...

In this quote from Therese Raquin, how does  Zola's eye for minute detail combine with the scientific findings of his day to create the naturalistic novel?

 

"On the other side, behind a narrower window, were piled large skeins of green wool, black buttons sewn on the white cards, boxes of every size and colour, hairnets with steel drops stretched across circles of bluish paper, fans of knitting needles, tapestry patterns and reels of ribbon-a pile of dull, washed-out objects that had doubtless been reposing in this same spot for five or six years. All the colours had faded to a dirty grey in this  cupboard rotten with dust and damp."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Naturalism in literature was a movement that believed the environment and social conditions that somebody lived in and grew up in had tremendous impact on their character. This was a view that was derived from Darwin's advances in science, and in particular the Theory of Evolution that placed massive importance on environment and how species adapted to suit their environments.

The quote listed in this question comes from Chapter 1 of this novel and describes the shop where the main protagonist lives. The eye for detail of Zola is important here in the use of adjectives such as "dull" and "washed-out." Note how he builds up a picture of faded squalor through the following two sentences:

...dull, washed-out objects that had doubtless been reposing in this same spot for five or six years. All the colours had faded to a dirty grey in this  cupboard rotten with dust and damp.

The alliteration in the final sentence of "dust" and "damp" emphasises the way that these materials have been abandoned and left just to sit there without being used. This of course creates an interesting parallel between these materials and the character of Therese Raquin herself, as she feels she has been left in this dingy, dark shop to turn grey and age just like the materials described in this paragraph. The poverty and faded dilapidation of her surroundings has impacted her character. Although she may have been bright and vibrant once, she fears that she will end up in the same state as these materials as she is trapped in a loveless marriage in a frustrated life.

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