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Guilt in a Married Couple

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Introduction

Guilt in a Married Couple World Literature Assignment 2 April 18, 2008 Their memories were unleashed. Once Camille's ghost had been raised, he came to sit between the two newlyweds, opposite the blazing fire. Therese and Laurent could sense the cold, damp smell of the drowned man in the air that they breathed. They felt that there was a corpse beside them and they looked carefully at each other without daring to move. And now the whole dreadful story of their crime unfolded in their minds. The victim's name was enough to fill them with the past and force them to relive the horror of the killing. They looked at one another without opening their mouths, both having the same nightmare, at the same time, and both reading the same cruel story in each other's eyes. This terrified exchange of looks, and the silent account of the murder that they were about to give to each other, caused them a feeling of acute, intolerable apprehension. Their fraught nerves threatened to break: they might easily cry out or even come to blows. To drive the memories away, Laurent violently subdued the horrified fascination that held him in the grasp of Therese's eyes and walked a few steps around the room. He took off his boots and put on some slippers. Then he came back and sat beside the fire, trying to talk about things of no importance. ...read more.

Middle

"The man quickly started to talk about the roses, the fire, anything he could see. The young woman made an effort, answering in monosyllables, so as not to let the conversation flag" (Zola 115). Therese, although avoiding silence altogether, is only answering in monosyllables, showing that she would rather avoid talking at all. Talking to Laurent brings back the murder and Therese does not want to think about it. By complying with Laurent's need for conversation, despite her reluctance, she is showing that she does care, to some extent, for Laurent. Her wish of silence shows her reluctance to face her guilt, which she faces when talking to Laurent, is shown by answering his monologues with one word answers. Both members of the guilty couple are avoiding facing their guilt which eventually drives a wedge in between them. The existence of guilt in a couple has the ability to drive a wedge between the two people so that they grow apart. This occurs between Laurent and Therese. Camille was killed because Laurent and Therese believed that they were in love. Once he was dead the guilt that they drowned in drove the two apart. This is evident at the beginning of the passage when they started remembering everything. Therese and Laurent are sitting next to each other across from a fire. "Once Camille's ghost had been raised, he came to sit between the two newlyweds, opposite the blazing fire" (Zola 115). ...read more.

Conclusion

Another time where Laurent and Therese's guilt brings them terrifying memories is when they start to remember everything about Camille's murder. The couple did not want to move because they were scared what their guilt, represented by the illusion of Camille, would do to them. "And now the whole dreadful story of their crime unfolded in their minds. The victim's name was enough to fill them with the past and force them to relive the horror of the killing" (Zola 115). The only reason that Laurent and Therese relived the murder of Therese's previous husband was because of the presence of Camille, or their guilt. The guilt was so much that it has caused them to relive the murder numerous times previously in their dreams. But, now that the two are together, Therese and Laurent have to relive the memory again in painful detail. Being their first night together as a married couple, they feel extreme guilt over the fact that Camille is dead because they wanted to be together. The dominant effect of this passage was guilt. Therese and Laurent felt huge amounts of guilt about the murder of Camille. The newly married couple avoided facing the guilt by trying to avoid any real discussion. Therese and Laurent were not as close as they had been before Camille's death because of their guilt and the guilt brought back painful memories and caused them to imagine things. Laurent and Therese's guilt about the murder was their eventual downfall. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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