Part 6, Chapter 1 Summary

It is mid-February of a bitterly cold winter and the poverty-stricken workers and their families are miserable. Montsou is now occupied by a regiment of gendarmes; armed guards keep watch at the mines, the manager’s house, the Company yards, and even some houses of the bourgeoisie. The only sound anyone can hear outside is the tramping of regular patrols.

Work has not resumed anywhere; on the contrary, the strike has spread. Many of the area mines have ceased production, others are losing more workers to the strike each day, and the rest are beginning to notice absentees. Faced with such an extensive military presence, the “miners’ mood is one of mute obstinacy.” Virtually no villager leaves his house; the...

(The entire section is 804 words.)