Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

Each time Lantier asks one of the Le Voreux workers if there is any work to be had, they tell him no but to wait for Monsieur Dansaert, the overman. He wanders around the mine, absorbing the sights and sounds of a working coal mine until he is nearly crushed by enormous weights fixed to churning cables.

He watches the noisy, dark, dirty, repetitious, and complex workings of the mine. One thing he does understand is that the pit routinely swallows twenty or thirty miners at a time, and it does so with great ease. Each of the workers comes out of the changing room barefoot and holding a lamp; groups of five or so silently climb into empty coal carts on one of four tiers of the cage. Someone shouts that a “meat load”...

(The entire section is 779 words.)