In Germinal, how does Zola compare the lives of the miners to the mine owners?

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Emil Zola's novel Germinal is a Naturalistic novel which illustrates the power and importance of nature. Repeatedly personified, the mine (the center image of the novel) is referred to as a beast which swallows the miners like food. Outside of the comparison of all who enter the mines as being food for the beast, not much between the miners and the mine owners is similar.

In fact, the miners are repeatedly referred to as animals: "they were dragging their feet and slipping on the mud, like some grim herd of animals struck down by some fatal disease" (192). Like...

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