Subject Writing Poetry and Poetry Writing


The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola
The female characters in Zola’s novel, as in real life 19th century Europe, struggled to maintain a balanced life between the new economic structure and the old. Choose TWO characters from The Ladies’ Paradise and examine their struggle with (un)balancing their daily lives and write an essay ( 4 pages). Paper should use MLA style citing and bibliography. Academic sources DO NOT include websites, internet forums; your sources must be academic journals and full length books.

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The Ladies’ Paradise discusses the development of consumerism in 19th century Paris. The effects of consumerism on the female characters are profound. Denise Baudu, the main character, is initially overcome by the appeal of working in a boutique/upper-class French department store, but eventually suffers from the advances of Octave Mouret, who intends to subdue her in similar fashion to all the other girls working at the store. Mouret was able to develop an economic and social system within the store where the women paid back into the store by buying the fashion. In response, the women needed to find a second salary, so prostitution became a common second profession. For example, Clara Brunaire becomes Mouret’s “kept woman” because she is willing to fit Mouret’s idea of a beautiful woman by wearing the fashions sold at the boutique (Schelle)....

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