Part 6, Chapter 2 Summary

Everything is buried in a sheet of frozen snow. Not a wisp of smoke can be seen in Village Two Hundred and Forty and the villagers are beyond cold. At the Maheus’, little Alzire is dying and her mother waits for the Company doctor. Several of the Maheu children are out begging for change and old Bonnemort appears to be asleep. Only Maheu is moving, bumping blindly around the house as if he is in a daze.

Anger and gossip are always part of the miners’ lives, but hunger has “sharpened everyone’s grudges” and arguments between two women might end in fights to the death between two men. The Levaques and the Maheus are furious at one another because of disgusting lies La Pierronne has told each woman about the...

(The entire section is 805 words.)