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Discuss Zola(TM)s use of setting in Chapter one of Thr->se Raquin.

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Discuss Zola's use of setting in Chapter one of Th�r�se Raquin. In the first chapter of the book "Th�r�se Raquin" Zola creates a detailed description of the setting, creating an atmosphere that is some what less then desirable. We are instantly taken into the bleak "dark narrow corridor..." that runs between "the Rue Mazarine and the Rue de Seine." Out of this sinister atmosphere that is created we are then introduced to mysterious characters that dwell in the "the darkness..." that is "...at home in the middle of the day." Zola creates a tight, claustrophobic, almost suffocating atmosphere, with the narrowness of the arcade; and the stifling dust that clings to everything, sensory images are created with the description of the "acrid-smelling damp..." that seems to linger and encapsulate every section of the narrow passage. There is an overwhelming feeling of oppression throughout the chapter even the sunlight on a fine summer's day is described as beating down oppressively. ...read more.


The thick dust that hangs heavily on all objects is grey and dismal, with "strange greenish reflections" shining on the merchandise, much like the description of the flagstones the reflections on the merchandise are not strong in colour Zola describes it as being "greenish" hinting now all vibrancy has been sucked out of the atmosphere leaving it almost like a forgotten world, with the inescapable dominant colour of black that is prevalent throughout. Long flowing sentences are used describing one thing at a time, in extensive detail which helps to create the never ending austere atmosphere. It is almost like once you are in it, it is so confining that there is no possible escape but to keep going forward. There is no rush or urgency in the way that Zola describes the setting in chapter one, he is precise and defuse in his linguistic techniques using comers and semi-colons, however, still manages to create an unnerving atmosphere, where if you were in that position of walking through such a passage would add haste to your step. ...read more.


They appear to be slaves to their every day routine imprisoned in a gloomy world. The young girl would "gaze vacantly" at the "coarsely rendered wall which reached high up into the sky..." we are told that she does this regularly and would stand there for a few minutes, this can indicate that she is bored of her surroundings and there is a possibility that she aspires for a way out of the oppressing atmosphere, however, the towering wall trapping her which indicates that there is no real way out, she is forced to exist in the dark, damp dull house, looking out of the grimy windows at the imprisoning wall. From the very beginning the ominous atmosphere that Zola creates indicates that the book would be about a tragedy of some sort with menacing elements that are consistent throughout the book. It prepares the reader for characters that should be similar in some way to the atmosphere that is created creating an element of expectation as to what should happen in the plot. Farrah Laborde ...read more.

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