Form and Content
Eve Curie’s Madame Curie: A Biography describes the life of her mother, a woman who faced a constant uphill struggle against odds that most people would find overwhelming. The Poland into which Marie Skodowska was born, in 1867, existed only in the mind of her patriots. In the closing decades of the eighteenth century, the nation of Poland was absorbed into its neighbors, chiefly Russia, and had ceased to exist. Yet the dream of nationhood did not die. The underlying theme of Curie’s discoveries, in addition to the betterment of humankind, became a contribution to the intellectual life of Poland.
Madame Curie is divided into twenty-seven chapters, arranged in three major parts. Curie initially chronicles her mother’s childhood and early schooling. Marie Curie was the youngest of five children born to Vladislav Skodowska, a physics teacher in Warsaw. She dealt early with tragedy, as first her sister and then her mother died before Curie was twelve years old. Forced from his job by an autocratic system, her father had to struggle to rear the family. From necessity, Curie spent six years as a governess, learning science in her spare time from books.
The narrative then passes into her years of success. Curie’s life brought her to Paris, where she entered the Sorbonne and earned degrees both in physics and in mathematics. It is also there that she met and married Pierre Curie. Through letters, the reader follows their...
(The entire section is 462 words.)