A Comparison between the First Chapters of Oliver Twist and Therese Raquin Oliver Twist and Therese Raquin are written by Charles Dickens and Emile Zola respectively. Oliver Twist is a critism towards the Victorian Times where classification among the high, middle and low classes was very strict. In the novel, the orphan, Oliver uses humour to get back on the society. Therese Raquin is set in Paris in the 1800s. The plot revolves around Therese Raquin who has a loveless marriage with a sickly weak man, Camille. She falls for his friend Laurent and they plot to kill Camille, resulting in a nightmare.Order now
Oliver Twist and Camille Raquin are both the main male characters experiencing low standards of living. Their sufferings bring about the miserable lives of other characters, this sense of depression in the novel is introduced in the openings. In Oliver Twist the first sentence directly hints the consequences that is about to come, “into this world of sorrow and trouble…it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all”. Already the opening suggests an issue. The difficulty of the babies birth mentioned emphasizes the sorrow and trouble mentioned earlier in the line. By describing this situation, it also hints to the reader that more issues relating to this new born child will come.
In contrast to Oliver Twist the sense of trouble in Therese Raquin is not introduced by a situation but a description of the environment. Zola uses pathetic fallacy for the majority of the first chapter, “On fine days in the summer, when the streets are burning with heavy sun, whitish light falls from the dirty glazing overhead to drag miserably through the arcade.” This second paragraph illustrates the association between positivity and negativity. The whitish light from summer gives a positive feeling while the misery gives a negative feeling. Even though it is a fine day, the whitish light falls will always carry misery with it. It is hinting that the joy of removing a trouble may be followed or ‘drag’ more troubles along with it. For example, later in the novel Laurent and Therese gets rid of Camille but in return it haunts their relationship.
This association is also made in Oliver Twist, however in a different way. The positive feeling is not emphasized by imageries but the sense of life in characters. Dickens has done this by giving details to characters using speeches, for example, the joy of the surgeon is expressed by, “It’s all over, Mrs. Thingummy!” This technique makes the reader feel as if they are experiencing the situation first handed. Compared to Therese Raquin the characters feelings are not expressed but described only, this makes the reader feel as if they are experiencing the situation second handed.
Zola uses descriptions of larger locations, slowly narrowing down to a smaller place. The passage to the Arcade of Pont Neuf is followed by the shop’s interior descriptions to introduce the characters. In comparison to Oliver Twist, the baby is introduced before the workhouse location and the characters there during his birth.