When reading Therese Raquin, how can Romanticism be related to any of the characters?

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

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This French classic by Emile Zola is widely recognised as being one of the best novels representing naturalism, a literary philosophy that saw consequences resulting entirely from the actions committed by the characters themselves. As such, the narrator becomes a mere observer as they narrate events and watch consequences unfold. However, it is clear that this school of literature was impacted greatly by Romanticism, and in particular the way that Romanticism favoured the imagination and expression of emotions over cold, logical reason. Any quotes that refer to this aspect in a character could be resonably used to support an exploration of the impact of Romanticism on this text. Consider, for example, the way that Therese herself is introduced in Chapter 2. Although she outwardly adopts the character of a chronically ill individual, it is clear that internally she is a very different person:

But, when she raised an arm, when she advanced a foot, it was easy to perceive that she possessed feline suppleness, short, potent muscles, and that unmistakable energy and passion slumbered in her soporous frame.

References to the "unmistakable energy and passion" that is within her is a clear reference to Romanticism, and in particular to the way that in Romantic literature characters were shown to not fit in easily to their culture and possess passions and emotions that make them unsatisfied with what normal life has to offer.

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