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    Society-Les Belles Soeurs Essay

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    All characters in Les Belles Soeurs are trapped in their society against their will. Regardless each character’s attempt to escape their impoverished society, various aspects pulls each one of them back. The aspects keeping the characters in their society are diverse with different reasoning. A comparison of Lise Paquette and Lisette de Courval- two characters on opposite ends of the wealth spectrum will be made regarding the aspects that keep them in their society, and an understanding of why they are trapped in their society will be established.

    Lise Paquette’s lack of values, sense of reality and work ethic leave her trapped in the society of a French Canadian slum. Lise evidently seems to lack ethical principles, as she will go to any lengths to acquire fame and fortune, ultimately leaving her trapped in her impoverished society. This is clearly displayed in her dialogue on p.93 as she states “Pierrette, she’s lucky. Working in the same club for ten years, making a bundle….”

    Although Lise knows the sad and cheap lifestyle Pierrette lives to earn her money, this does not influence her view of Pierrette, as she only sees her as a fortunate woman to be financially stable, regardless of her working circumstances. Lise’s moral belief that with money comes happiness, will lead her to do whatever it takes to get money. Ultimately, she has set herself up to be exploited and demoralized, as her conscience will allow her to go to any lengths to have money. Her lack of values leave her trapped in the slums of Montreal, as she will likely take the easiest route to money, subsequently leading to prostitution, which in turn will never allow her to escape her current lifestyle of poverty and desperation.

    Another aspect trapping Lise is her indolent work ethic, coupled with an obscure sense of reality. Lise states on p.88 that the father of her baby “just took off somewhere. Sure, he promised me the moon. We were gonna be happy. He was raking it in, I thought everything was roses. One present after another. No end to it. It was great while it lasted….” Through this comment, Lise’s ambiguous sense of actuality is evident, seeing as she does not make any effort to find a better job to care for herself, as she believes she requires a male to provide happiness and financial care for her.

    This also displays her extremely languid work ethic, as it never occurs to her to either find better employment or go back to school for a better education, in order to care for her child, instead of having to consider an abortion. Through Lise’s belief that she can only be happy and financially stable with a male partner, while not having to work herself, she is restraining herself from starting a life of independence away from the slums of Montreal.

    Through constantly leaning on others to support her, she is limiting herself to very few opportunities in life, subsequently leaving her in to live in the situation of poverty and despair for her entire life. Despite Lise wanting “a proper life… to make something of myself… to be somebody” (p.88), her utter lack of work ethic restraints her to very few options as she simply expects life to come together itself and fall on her lap. Lise’s life is subsequently a result of her poor decisions and morals, and therefore her own fault in which she is left to live in the Montreal slum. This comparison can be made to another character as well, who although is at the different end of the wealth spectrum, ultimately is left to live in the slum as well as a result of her own poor decisions.

    Lisette De Courval, sophisticated and now wealthy, has experienced life and travelled throughout the world. However, despite this, she still comes back to the slums of Montreal as her friends who live there trap her to their society. It is evident that Lisette has full knowledge of the revolting lifestyle her friends live as she says “They should be hidden away somewhere. They don’t know how to live! We broke away from this and we must never, ever go back. Dear God, they make me so ashamed!” p.54. Lisette understands that her friends live a disgusting and revolting lifestyle, and knows she should not allow herself to be lured back into their way of life as she has already once “broke away.” However, it is her friendship with these women that pulls her back as she does not have other people to socialize with.

    It is the pull of friendship, comfort and familiarity that pulls her to the slums. Lisette may be more refined and sophisticated, but her life started in the slums, and it is a part of her, whether she chooses to acknowledge this fact or not. Her companionship with the other women is her only ways to socialize with other women, and because of this, she is trapped into her old society and pulled back.

    Although she has the luck of being financially better of than the other women, she does not take advantage of this luck by meeting other people and removing herself from her past life. Although the aspects trapping Lise in her society are the polar opposite of those trapping Lisette de Courval, both aspects that trap them come down to their own mental mindsets and decisions. Although Lisette has the financial capabilities of escaping the impecunious slum, it is her companionship with the women, which she has difficulty breaking off, that keeps her trapped and unable to break away from the Montreal ghetto.

    In looking at the aspects that keep both women in the Montreal ghetto, it can be seen that for Lise Paquette, it is her mental mindset and morals that keep her trapped in her society. Her lack of morals and thirst for wealth, which lead her to sufferable consequences ultimately, keep her ensnared into her poor society. Lisette de Courval also suffers from not being able to make the right decisions for herself as she does not make a strong enough effort to separate herself from the women who she believes are shameful to be around. In comparing the two characters, it can be deduced that ultimately, people are responsible for the choices they make regarding their own lives, and must look at his/herself to see what changes they can make to themselves, before blaming others for their lack of success of happiness in life.

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    Society-Les Belles Soeurs Essay. (2017, Nov 21). Retrieved from

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