Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 222
As the story opens, the unnamed first-person narrator describes the mysterious old inhabitant of the de Lantys’ home in detail in a long paragraph. He also calls the elderly man
a creature for which no human language has a name, form without substance, a being without life, or life without action.
When Sarrasine first beholds La Zambinella onstage, he sees in her the ideal beauty he had vainly sought.
She displayed in her single person, intensely alive and delicate beyond words, all those exquisite proportions of the female form which he had so ardently longed to behold, and of which a sculptor is the most severe and at the same time the most passionate judge.
Sarrasine finally learns that La Zambinella is not a woman but a castrato. Disillusioned and enraged, he swears off love.
"An end of love! I am dead to all pleasure, to all human emotions!"
As the narrator’s story concludes, Madame de Rochefide learns that the elderly man is none other than La Zambinella, and is not pleased that the narrator has burdened her with this story. Although Paris welcomes all types of people, even monsters, she does not feel part of the city. She sums up his story’s conclusions by applying it to all emotion.
"are not all human sentiments dissolved thus, by ghastly disillusionment?"
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