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Aspects of eros in Emile Zola's Germinal 1990

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ASPECTS OF EROS IN EMILE ZOLA'S GERMINAL By LUKE HESTON SANDFORD B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1988 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of French We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA February 1990 Luke Heston Sandford, 1990 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of French The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date February 12, 1990 DE-6 (2/88) i i ABSTRACT According to c l a s s i c a l Greek mythology, Eros was one of the f i r s t beings to a r i s e out of Chaos and represented the concepts of harmony and union necessary i n c r e a t i n g the world and i t s c r e a t u r e s . The primary f e a r that Zola addresses (and e x p l o i t s ) i n Germinal i s the f e a r of anarchy and of s o c i a l chaos. This i s accomplished thanks to a r e l e n t l e s s t e x t u a l i n s i s t e n c y on e r o t i c i s m . T h i s emphasis on human s e x u a l i t y , along with Zola's ground-breaking treatment of the working c l a s s , r e p r e s e n t s the breaking of the two g r e a t e s t l i t e r a r y taboos i n n i neteenth century French l i t e r a t u r e : the v i v i d d e p i c t i o n of b o d i l y urges and the minute examination of the p r o l e t a r i a t . Our t h e s i s i s t h a t the r e v o l u t i o n a r y impact and the i n c o n t e s t a b l e l i t e r a r y l o n g e v i t y of Germinal stem l a r g e l y from Zola's s u c c e s s f u l s h a t t e r i n g of these timorous t r a d i t i o n s - - t h e l o g i c a l e x t e n s i o n of r e i g n i n g bourgeois m o r a l s - - v i a h i s p e r s i s t e n t d e p i c t i o n s of the c o r p o r e a l and the e r o t i c . T h i s essay, t h e r e f o r e , i s an attempt to analyze, t o d e s c r i b e , and to r e c o n c i l e the d i v e r s e and c o n t r a d i c t o r y elements which comprise the e r o t i c sub- t e x t i n Zola's most famous n o v e l , t h a t i s t o provide an e r o t i c r e a d i n g of Germinal. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS A b s t r a c t i i Table of Contents i i i Acknowledgements i v I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Chapter One E r o t i c Faces of the P a t r i a r c h a l Male 5 Chapter Two E r o t i c Faces of the Female Under P a t r i a r c h y 38 Chapter Three E r o t i c Deviance 69 Chapter Four E r o t i c i s m and C l a s s R e v o l u t i o n 106 Concluding Remarks 142 Notes 145 Works Consulted 150 i v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The r e a l i z a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s comes very near to t h e end of four years of study and r e s e a r c h i n the Department of French at U.B.C. For t h e i r e n l i g h t e n i n g and agreeable courses, I thank a l l those Department members who have taught me over those four years, and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , Jocelyne B a v e r e l , whose superb t e a c h i n g of French 302 i n s p i r e d me i n my reacquaintance with French language and 1 i t e r a t u r e . A g r a t e f u l s a l u t e to Dr. Ralph Sarkonak, whose p a i n s t a k i n g e d i t o r i a l t a l e n t s and p r o p i t i o u s l y P r o u s t i a n prunings of the preposterous proved both e- and p r o v o c a t i v e . In a d d i t i o n , I extend my h e a r t f e l t thanks to my t h e s i s a d v i s o r , Dr. Floy d St. C l a i r , a su p p o r t i v e and generous i n s t r u c t o r , a warm and e b u l l i e n t teacher, and a dear f r i e n d . T h i s t h e s i s i s dedi c a t e d to my extended f a m i l y and f r i e n d s , whose p a t i e n c e , encouragement, and love have been i n v a l u a b l e to the completion of t h i s p r o j e c t . 1 INTRODUCTION What i s naturalism? To the reader u n f a m i l i a r with Emile Zola's works, the d i c t i o n a r y d e f i n i t i o n of t h i s term giv e s some idea as t o the s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e t h a t t h i s school of thought once played as an a r t i s t i c and l i t e r a r y movement which advocated d e t a i l e d r e a l i s t i c and f a c t u a l d e s c r i p t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y as t h i s method was i l l u s t r a t e d i n nin e t e e n t h - century France i n the w r i t i n g s of Zola and Gustave F l a u b e r t . Expressed i n i t s most simple form, n a t u r a l i s m may be considered to be a search f o r t r u t h w i t h i n Nature: i t i s thus a g a i n s t a backdrop of changing seasons, storms, and sen s a t i o n s t h a t the drama of Germinal (1885) u n f o l d s , a s t r u c t u r e i n which human beings and n a t u r a l f o r c e s s t r u g g l e e n d l e s s l y , at times i n concert with and at other times i n r e s i s t a n c e to each other. S u r p r i s i n g l y , as an im a g i n a t i v e a r t i s t Zola claims an unusually p a s s i v e r o l e i n molding h i s l i t e r a r y c r e a t i o n : "Le naturalisme ne se prononce pas. II examine. II d e c r i t . II d i t : c e c i e s t . C'est au p u b l i c de t i r e r l e s conclusions.""'" The s t a r t i n g p o i n t f o r t h i s essay i s our b e l i e f t h a t Emile Zola was i n a d v e r t e n t l y l y i n g when he formulated t h i s popular q u o t a t i o n . As a l i t e r a r y d o c t r i n e , n a t u r a l i s m may not be i n a p o s i t i o n t o reach a moral " v e r d i c t " on a given q u e s t i o n , but Zola the n a t u r a l i s t n o v e l i s t most c e r t a i n l y i s : h i s a r t i s t i c and moral pronouncements may be d i s g u i s e d , but a c l o s e reading of h i s t e x t — b e t w e e n the l i n e s - - r e v e a l s that they are nonetheless b l i n d i n g l y p r e s e n t . 2 One of the p r i m o r d i a l questions i n Zola's oeuvre i s tha t of the r o l e played by Eros i n human endeavors: but Germina1 was not w r i t t e n i n a vacuum, and repr e s e n t s the t h i r t e e n t h l i n k i n the twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart s e r i e s , the great n a t u r a l and s o c i a l novel c y c l e of a f a m i l y l i v i n g d u r i n g the Second Empire under Napoleon I I I . Within t h i s l a r g e r l i t e r a r y context, then, Germinal i s not the only e r o t i c a l l y - c e n t e r e d work of Zol a ' s ; but i t i s undoubtedly h i s g r e a t e s t . What do we mean when we r e f e r to Eros and the e r o t i c world? In Greek mythology, Eros was the son of Aphrodite and was the god of love; i n Freudian theory, Eros as l i f e i n s t i n c t governs a c t s of s e l f - p r e s e r v a t i o n t h a t tend towards u n i n h i b i t e d enjoyment of l i f e . Thus Eros has both a m y t h o l o g i c a l and psychosexual h e r i t a g e ; we s h a l l draw upon both these domains i n t h i s essay. Of course, any d i s c u s s i o n of Eros would be incomplete without corresponding a n a l y s i s of Thanatos, the an c i e n t Greek p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of death, the son of the goddess of the n i g h t , Nyx. Thanatos was the name Freud chose to rep r e s e n t what he considered to be a u n i v e r s a l death i n s t i n c t , the a n t i t h e s i s of Eros. For although the n a t u r a l and human processes of c r e a t i o n and r e g e n e r a t i o n i n Germinal are e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y p u i s s a n t , so too are the o s t e n s i b l y d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed f o r c e s of v i o l e n c e and cataclysm. Viewed from t h i s mythopoeic and e p i c p e r s p e c t i v e , Germinal 3 i s i n pa r t a s y n t h e s i s of the E r o t i c and of the Thanatonic: i f we are to a p p r e c i a t e Northrop F r y e 1 s a s s e r t i o n that "the p r e s i d i n g genius of comedy i s Eros" and that "Eros has to 2 adapt himsel f t o the moral f a c t s of s o c i e t y " then we must a l s o make allowances f o r the competing r o l e of Thanatos, the " p r e s i d i n g genius" of tragedy. In c o n j u n c t i o n with the my t h i c a l p r o x i m i t y of Eros and Thanatos i s Gaea, the goddess of the e a r t h , who bore Uranus and by him Oceanus, Cronus, and the T i t a n s . We f e e l at l i b e r t y i n i n t r o d u c i n g the no t i o n of the Earth Goddess s i n c e James Lovelock's s c i e n t i f i c theory t h a t "the p l a n e t i s a l i v e and f u n c t i o n s as a superorganism i n which l i v i n g t h i n g s i n t e r a c t with g e o p h y s i c a l and chemical processes"^ could w e l l be a d e s c r i p t i o n of the Germinalian landscape, . a n a t u r a l i s t world where s c i e n c e and r e l i g i o n are almost r e c o n c i l e d i n the study of l i f e on E a r t h . We are aware that the Gaea hypothesis has found recent favour amongst New Age p r a c t i t i o n e r s , and we wish t o emphasize t h a t i t i s by no means our i n t e n t i o n to embrace any s t e r e o t y p i c a l l y r e l a t e d notions of h e a l i n g c r y s t a l s or tr a n c e c h a n n e l i n g . Rather, i t i s t o e x p l a i n the t e r r e s t r i a l f u r y i n Germinal as a r e s u l t of the v i o l a t i v e e f f e c t s of i n d u s t r y on the n a t u r a l and human environment: although Mother Nature/Mother Earth/Gaea appears t o have r e v e r t e d t o the a r c h e t y p a l s t a t u s of T e r r i b l e Mother, we w i l l argue t h a t Zola a c t u a l l y espouses a h o l i s t i c view of Nature by b l u r r i n g the d i s t i n c t i o n s between l i f e and death and between Eros and 4 Thanatos. These b l u r r i n g s of b i n a r y d i s t i n c t i o n s give r i s e to many examples of oxymoron and i r o n y , both i n Zola's melodramatic n a r r a t i v e and i n h i s e r o t i c subtext. In f a c t , p a r t of our methodology w i l l be to focus on Zola's exact choice of words i n a l i n g u i s t i c attempt to show how the notions of thematic b l u r r i n g , oxymoron, and i r o n y are c r u c i a l to an e r o t i c reading of the n o v e l . We have d i v i d e d t h i s essay i n t o four c h a p t e r s . In the f i r s t , we analyze the e r o t i c nature of men and explore how p a t r i a r c h y and the code of machismo a f f e c t (and, i n p a r t , create) t h i s nature. In Chapter Two we d i s c u s s female s e x u a l i t y and the r o l e of women as v i c t i m s and as p o t e n t i a l r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s . Chapter Three i s devoted to a c r i t i c a l examination of e r o t i c deviance and Zola's sexual i d e a l s . F i n a l l y , in the f o u r t h chapter we i n v e s t i g a t e the q u e s t i o n of s o c i a l c l a s s and r e v o l u t i o n . A l l q u o t a t i o n s taken from Zola's novel have been r e f e r e n c e d p a r e n t h e t i c a l l y and are based on the t e x t of the Garnier-Flammarion e d i t i o n of 1968. A l l other quotations have been n u m e r i c a l l y r e f e r e n c e d . 5 CHAPTER ONE EROTIC FACES OF THE PATRIARCHAL MALE P a t r i a r c h y i s normally d e f i n e d as a form of s o c i a l o r g a n i z a t i o n i n which a male i s the head of the f a m i l y ; as a r e s u l t , such concepts as descent, k i n s h i p , and t i t l e are t r a c e d through the male g e n e a l o g i c a l l i n e i n what i s known as p a t r i l i n e a l s u c c e s s i o n . For b e t t e r or worse, s i n c e recorded h i s t o r y p a t r i a r c h y has been the dominant system i n most Western s o c i e t i e s , i n c l u d i n g , i n e v i t a b l y , the society- d e s c r i b e d by Emile Zola i n Germinal. Within t h i s s o c i o l o g i c a l d e f i n i t i o n , however, we i n t e n d to focus on one key element of p a t r i a r c h y , i t s bedrock, i f you w i l l : male power. Male power i s one of the c e n t r a l thematic concerns i n the n o v e l : f i r s t l y , i t forms the backdrop f o r the b i t t e r r i v a l r y between Etienne and Chaval not only i n p o l i t i c a l t e r m s — f o r the l e a d e r s h i p of the s t r i k i n g coalminers- but i n e r o t i c terms as w e l l — f o r "possession" and "domination" of Catherine Maheu; secondly, i t permeates the a n t a g o n i s t i c r e l a t i o n s h i p of Hennebeau, the r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the i n t e r e s t s of c a p i t a l , and Etienne, the spokesman f o r the workers; t h i r d l y , male power i s a l s o very much at stake 6 w i t h i n the b o u r g e o i s i e i t s e l f s i n c e Deneulin, the owner- operator of the Jean-Bart mine, must t r y v a l i a n t l y to r e s i s t the m o n o p o l i s t i c designs of the Company's takeover b i d , although u l t i m a t e l y to no a v a i l ; f i n a l l y , masculine power i s used throughout the novel as a means of subjugating women; i n other words, the hegemony of the male i n Germinal ensures t h a t , f o r the most p a r t , the man w i l l have the upper hand over the woman, thereby r e l e g a t i n g her to secondary and i n f e r i o r s t a t u s , and a s s u r i n g h i m s e l f v i c t o r y - - a l b e i t temporary--in the b a t t l e of the sexes. Since Germinal i s concerned with q u a s i - m y t h i c a l heroism and i s painted with such bold and superepic s t r o k e s , i t should come as no s u r p r i s e that Zola would choose to portr a y male p r i d e i n i t s extremes. This p r i d e i s governed by the code of machismo, a value system which r e l i e s h e a v i l y on the i d e a l s of male s t r e n g t h and dominance. The macho code i s e s s e n t i a l l y a sexual one which advocates and even decrees an obdurate and i n t r a c t a b l e d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the sexes and of the f u n c t i o n s they perform: the male must at a l l times be v i r i l e and potent, i n p h y s i c a l , e r o t i c , and p r e f e r a b l y f i n a n c i a l terms as w e l l ; he must t r e a t a l l other males as p o t e n t i a l competitors, and be p e r p e t u a l l y ready t o defend h i s chosen e r o t i c domain ( h i s queen), h i s p h y s i c a l being (h i s impenetrable armour), and h i s m a t e r i a l i s t i c concerns (hi s c a s t l e ) . F i n a l l y , he must s u b s c r i b e t o the maxim of "might i s r i g h t " ( i n French, to the r u l e s of conduct that " l a r a i s o n du plus f o r t e s t to u j o u r s l a m e i l l e u r e " or that 7 " l a f o r c e prime l e d r o i t " ) . Despite the vast g u l f carved between the two warring c l a s s e s during the miners' s t r i k e , they are nonetheless l i n k e d by t h e i r mutual s u b s c r i p t i o n to t r a d i t i o n a l p a t r i a r c h a l standards i n p o l i t i c a l and f a m i l i a l matters, i n c l u d i n g the c r u c i a l pledge of a l l e g i a n c e to the macho code, with a l l t h a t t h i s s e x i s t canon e n t a i l s . The q u e s t i o n of male p r i d e and i t s v a r i o u s i n j u r i e s i s c r i t i c a l i f we are to gain an understanding of the e r o t i c i m p l i c a t i o n s of the n o v e l . What makes the e r o t i c component of the macho e t h i c i n Germinal so p i v o t a l and provoking i s that the novel's p r o t a g o n i s t , Etienne L a n t i e r , i s b e d e v i l e d by an i n t e r n a l s t r u g g l e , the terms of which i n v o l v e the p i t t i n g of the v i o l e n t f o r c e s of t r a d i t i o n a l machismo at i t s best (or worst) a g a i n s t a h e r o i c and abstemious messianism i n which Eros i s c a r e f u l l y sublimated i n t o p o l i t i c a l and s p i r i t u a l a c t i v i s m . In e r o t i c terms, then, t h i s s t r u g g l e i s Etienne's attempt to channel the powerful unconscious f o r c e s w i t h i n h i m s e l f i n t o the performance of works of s o c i a l u t i l i t y and i n t o the espousal of e g a l i t a r i a n i d e a l s such as j u s t i c e . The i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d d o c t r i n e of sexual a s c e t i c i s m has come to be a s s o c i a t e d i n the West with the Roman C a t h o l i c Church, which r e q u i r e s i t s p r i e s t s t o uphold a vow of a b s o l u t e c h a s t i t y . Since t h i s essay i s not the proper forum f o r an in-depth a n a l y s i s of C a t h o l i c orthodoxy, we i n t r o d u c e the n o t i o n of sexual s a c r i f i c e merely to e s t a b l i s h a p a r a l l e l between the e r o t i c subtext of Etienne's behavior and the B i b l i c a l temptations t h a t Jesus 8 of Nazareth underwent. In f a c t , Etienne's e r o t i c s t r u g g l e has much i n common with C h r i s t ' s attempt to come to terms with a r o l e of d i v i n e l e a d e r s h i p n e c e s s i t a t i n g sexual s a c r i f i c e i n the face of p o w e r f u l l y s e d u c t i v e temptations. In the Germinalian u n i v e r s e , as i n the C h r i s t i a n B i b l e , sexual forbearance i s an e s s e n t i a l h e r o i c t r a i t ; i n much the same way, the miners' s t r i k e i s a l s o symbolic of a b s t e n t i o n and s e l f - s a c r i f i c e f o r the b e n e f i t of the c o l l e c t i v e . As leader of the s t r i k e , Etienne's s p i r i t u a l t u r m o i l i s rooted i n e r o t i c t e n s i o n : to r e s o l v e t h i s t e n s i o n , Etienne must r i s e above the macho dictum of "defend to the death" i n an attempt to a t t a i n the i d e a l of non- v i o l e n c e as embodied i n the B i b l i c a l admonition to t u r n the other cheek. He must e v e n t u a l l y s p u r n — a l t h o u g h i n i t i a l l y succumbing - t o — t h e amorous advances of La Mouquette because she compromises the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of h i s p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s h i p by reducing him to the rank of the humble cartboys who comprise a not i n s i g n i f c a n t p r o p o r t i o n of her m u l t i t u d i n o u s sexual p a r t n e r s . In t h i s way, La Mouquette i s i n e f f e c t Etienne's e r o t i c nemesis, h i s Mary Magdalene "qui l ' a d o r a i t comme un Jesus" (272). In a d d i t i o n to o v e r t l y sexual matters, Etienne must a l s o p a r a d o x i c a l l y expunge h i s l u s t f o r v i o l e n c e by a c t u a l l y breaking the Decalogue's primary commandment—"thou s h a l t not k i l l " — i n order to make peace with h i s flawed h e r e d i t y and to e l i m i n a t e the s e l f - doubts which plague h i s own v u l n e r a b l e and i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c sense of m a s c u l i n i t y . He must t a s t e the p r i d e f u l triumph of 9 sexual s u p e r i o r i t y i n v i c t o r i o u s macho combat before he can t r u l y be a leader of men at peace with h i m s e l f ; he must give i n to h i s unconscious i n s t i n c t s before he may u l t i m a t e l y transcend them. In r e f u t i n g P h i l i p Walker's mythopoeic a n a l y s i s of Zola's n o v e l , F. W. J . Hemmings has s t a t e d t h a t "we cannot see . . . any widespread or s i g n i f i c a n t ' a p p l i c a t i o n of 4 C h r i s t i a n , C e l t i c , and Greco-Roman mythology' i n Germinal." In l i g h t of the o v e r t l y messianic elements present i n Etienne's c h a r a c t e r and behavior, we f i n d t h i s a s s e r t i o n to be egregious and f a l l a c i o u s . Etienne i s shown as having e v a n g e l i c a l z e a l (182) and the g i f t of prophecy ( 2 4 0 ) , as r e f u s i n g e a r t h l y power (241) and as being a l i g h t i n the darkness (285 ). In a c t u a l f a c t , i t i s the s p i r i t of Eros which motivates Etienne and charges h i s p o l i t i c a l ambition. Thus, even a f t e r having r e c e i v e d the a d u l a t i o n of the crowd during the night-t i m e meeting i n the f o r e s t as Vandame, Etienne s t i l l f e e l s the need t o "se f a i r e acclamer" (289) i n f r o n t of C a t h e r i n e , h i s thwarted love i n t e r e s t . T h i s glimpse i n t o the dynamics of Etienne's s o c i a l i s t i c s t e e l i n e s s and l e a d e r s h i p r e s o l v e i s i n s t r u c t i v e s i n c e i t r e v e a l s him to be all-too-human i n h i s v a n i t y and i n the i n c r e a s i n g s e l f - s a t i s f a c t i o n of h i s i n c i p i e n t embourgeoisement. I t seems c l e a r t h a t although Etienne may not be the C h r i s t r e t u r n e d , he i s at l e a s t a Mar x i s t a p o s t l e of the R e v o l u t i o n . The circumstances i n v o l v i n g La Mouquette's eventual 10 seduction of Etienne are a l s o r e v e a l i n g : i n i t i a l l y , he r e a c t s with amusement--but without d e s i r e - - t o her l a s c i v i o u s tone and to her e r o t i c a l l y - c e n t e r e d a n t i c s . " E l l e promenait ... l'indecence de son costume, d'un comique t r o u b l a n t , avec ses bosses de c h a i r , exagerees jusqu'a l ' i n f i r m i t e " (53). Note how Zola's exaggeration of La Mouquette's p h y s i c a l a t t r i b u t e s n e c e s s a r i l y borders on " l ' i n f i r m i t e " s i n c e her very s t r e n g t h and hy p e r f e m i n i n i t y - - a n d , by exte n s i o n , her erotomania--are to a c e r t a i n extent her d i s a b i l i t y and her weakness as w e l l . One may compare the preceding with Etienne's good-natured r e a c t i o n to La Mouquette's sexual advances: "Et i l d i s a i t non, amuse pourtant, mais sans a v o i r l a moindre envie d ' e l l e " (165). L a t e r on, a f t e r the outbreak of the s t r i k e , Etienne witnesses an o l d woman c o l l a p s e d i n a heap on the ro a d s i d e , almost dead from hunger. I t i s thanks to the a s s i s t a n c e and g e n e r o s i t y of La Mouquette that the woman i s saved "avec du genievre et un pai n " (258), redeemed, t h a t i s , by the miners' e q u i v a l e n t of bread and wine, the symbols of the C a t h o l i c l i t u r g y and of C h r i s t ' s u l t i m a t e b o d i l y s a c r i f i c e as o u t l i n e d i n the B i b l i c a l account of the Last Supper. T h i s n o t i o n of C h r i s t i a n c h a r i t y as demonstrated by La Mouquette i s r e i t e r a t e d i n the same chapter when she s e l f l e s s l y gives Etienne the l a s t of her potatoes so th a t the Maheu f a m i l y may eat i n s t e a d . P r e v i o u s l y , Etienne f e l t i n t i m i d a t e d "d'etre a i n s i f o r c e de r e t o u r n e r a R e q u i l l a r t " (264) s i n c e La Mouquette's concupiscent i n t e n t i o n s were so e v i d e n t . I t i s La Mouquette's p r a c t i c a l and s i n c e r e a p p l i c a t i o n of 11 C h r i s t i a n c a r i t a s which paves the way f o r the eventual sexual union of her and Etienne as a temporary couple. N e v e r t h e l e s s , i t i s with f e e l i n g s of embarrassment and shame t h a t Etienne f i n a l l y r e a c t s towards h i s c a r n a l p l e a s u r e s as t a s t e d with La Mouquette. He takes the d e c i s i o n to break o f f t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p d e s p i t e being very much aware of the c o n f l i c t between h i s own strong sexual d e s i r e s and h i s pe r c e i v e d need f o r moral s u p e r i o r i t y i n the eyes of h i s comrades: "II l u i e x p l i q u a i t . . . q u ' e l l e compromettait l a cause de l a p o l i t i q u e " (277) . In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , i t i s i n par t t h i s f e a r of go s s i p and slander that actuates Etienne's second change of e r o t i c h e a r t . The reader i s unsure whether Etienne i s s e r i o u s i n s t a t i n g t h a t " i l l a fLa Mouquette) r e v e r r a i t , r i e n qu'une p e t i t e f o i s , de temps a autre" (277) , an a s s e r t i o n h i g h l y r e m i n i s c e n t of the drug a d d i c t ' s complete renouncement of c o c a i n e — e x c e p t on weekends! The r e a l s k e l e t o n i n Etienne's c l o s e t , however, i s h i s a t t r a c t i o n t o Catherine Maheu, who u n l i k e La Mouquette i s e r o t i c a l l y i n a c c e s s i b l e by v i r t u e of her p h y s i c a l immaturity, her p a r t i a l androgyny, and her sexual thraldom at the hands of Antoine Chaval. In f a c t , e r o t i c i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y f u r n i s h e s much of the p s y c h o l o g i c a l drama i n Germinal. Furthermore, t h i s concept of u n a p p r o a c h a b i l i t y i n Catherine and Etienne's d e a l i n g s i s h i g h l y i r o n i c i f we take i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n the high frequency of sexual a c t i v i t y i n the mining community. At the o u t s e t , t h i s i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y i s r e i n f o r c e d by Etienne's 12 o u t s i d e r s t a t u s ; l a t e r on, h i s p o l i t i c a l engagement o s t e n s i b l y precludes e r o t i c involvement with a comrade. Indeed, i t i s while w i t n e s s i n g the promiscuously amorous a c t i v i t i e s of young l o v e r s amid the r u i n s of the deserted and unused mining p i t at R e q u i l l a r t t h a t the c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of Etienne's p o l i t i c a l z e a l takes p l a c e : "Jamais ca ne f i n i r a i t , s i e l l e s s ' e m p l i s s a i e n t t o u j o u r s de meurt-de- faim" (143). Here, "ga" r e f e r s t o the i n t e r m i n a b l e c y c l e of poverty and l a s s i t u d e which t y p i f i e s the miners' e x i s t e n c e . On a morphological l e v e l , Zola's choice of the name R e q u i l l a r t emphasizes the f a c t t h a t almost a l l the young people of the mining community take t h e i r p l e a s u r e i n t h i s manner, that i s by t a k i n g p a r t i n an " a r t r e q u i s " , a r e q u i r e d a r t f o r e r o t i c l i v i n g . There i s something s i n i s t e r and foreboding about the s e t t i n g f o r these impassioned a c t i v i t i e s , a c t i v i t i e s watched by Etienne l i k e an a l i e n a t e d Peeping Tom amid a background of ramshackle hovels and i n d u s t r i a l d e b r i s suggesting moral r u i n and decay. Perhaps t h i s n o t i o n of decadence i s what exacerbates Etienne's v o y e u r i s t i c sadness s i n c e he r e a c t s with the f o l l o w i n g m o r a l i s t i c thought: "Est-ce q u ' e l l e s n'auraient pas du p l u t o t se boucher l e ven t r e , s e r r e r l e s c u i s s e s . . . ? " ( 1 4 3 ) . At t h i s moment, however, the n a r r a t o r i s c a r e f u l to i n t e r j e c t : "Peut-etre ne r e m u a i t - i l confusement ces idees moroses que dans 1 ' e n n u i d'etre s e u l . . . " ( 1 4 3 ) . From t h i s moment on, Etienne's philosophy becomes one of " i f you can't j o i n them, lead them and w i t h i n the space of two chapters he 13 i s f e r v e n t l y recommending the establishment of a contingency fund and g a l v a n i z i n g the d i s c i p u l a r Maheu f a m i l y with h i s n a i v e l y p o l i t i c a l p r o s e l y t i z a t i o n s . I t i s indeed t i m e l y , then, t h a t Etienne's sexual l i b i d o i s n e a t l y sublimated i n t o p o l i t i c a l a c t i o n . Not a l l of the dramatic c o n f l i c t i n Germinal i s centered on Etienne L a n t i e r ' s i n t e r n a l e r o t i c a g o n i z i n g s . Much of the novel's a g o n - - i t s l i t e r a r y f r i c t i o n - - i s generated by the d i a m e t r i c a l o p p o s i t i o n of Etienne and C h a v a l - - a l s o an o u t s i d e r — w i t h Catherine Maheu r e p r e s e n t i n g the e r o t i c p r i z e f o r the v i c t o r . Whereas Zola p o r t r a y s Etienne as beset by doubts and c o n f u s i o n as to h i s own v i r i l i t y and courage, namely as s t r u g g l i n g to transcend p r i m i t i v e male r i t u a l s , t here i s no doubt as to where Chaval stands i n t h i s regard. The c o n t r a s t i n p e r s o n a l i t y i s mirrored by Chaval's p h y s i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n as "un grand maigre de v i n g t - c i n q ans, osseux, l e s t r a i t s f o r t s " ( 6 0 ) . Zola l a t e r mentions t h a t " £sj es moustaches et sa barbiche rouges flambaient dans son v i s a g e n o i r , au grand nez en bee d ' a i g l e " (71). What we have, then, i s the d e p i c t i o n of a d i a b o l i c a l f i g u r e drawn i n red and b l a c k , the c o l o r s of h e l l : l i k e L u c i f e r , he i s bony, t h i n , with a goatee and a l o n g , t h i n nose. The a l l u s i o n t o an eagle may be a r e f e r e n c e to the French saying "ce n'est pas un a i g l e " , a c c o r d i n g to which eagles are a s s o c i a t e d with i n t e l l i g e n c e and cunning. In a d d i t i o n , the French " a i g l e " i s u l t i m a t e l y r e l a t e d to the L a t i n " a q u i l a / a q u i l u s " , the l a t t e r term 14 s i g n i f y i n g dark and swarthy. The i l l u s t r a t i o n of p o l a r o p p o s i t e s i s thus e v i d e n t : Etienne i s C h r i s t - l i k e and has the p o t e n t i a l f o r s p i r i t u a l transcendence while Chaval i s b r u t a l l y s a t a n i c , h o r s e - l i k e i n h i s power and v i r i l i t y (Chaval = cheval = h o r s e ) , a p r i n c e of macho darkness. In t h i s regard, R a c h e l l e Rosenberg uses Jungian symbolism to e x p l a i n the a r c h e t y p a l notions of horse and d e v i l : Jung has a l s o s t a t e d t h a t the horse i s o f t e n a symbol f o r the d e v i l because the d e v i l i n f o l k l o r e and legend sometimes has a horse's hoof and takes the form of a horse. Moreover, he has explained t h a t the d e v i l ' s sexual p a s s i o n i s sometimes imparted ^o the horse with which he i s a s s o c i a t e d . V i r i l i t y i s i n e f f e c t one of the f i r s t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to be a s s o c i a t e d with Chaval's persona. During Etienne's f i r s t day i n the mine, Maheu i s exasperated by Chaval's purported absence: "Que f a i t - i l done, c e t t e rosse de Chaval? Encore quelque f i l l e c ulbutee sur un tas de p i e r r e s ! " (55) . From the s t a r t he i s portrayed as a powerful and sexual c r e a t u r e , the f i r s t t o "se mettre l e t o r s e nu, pour a v o i r moins chaud" (64) i n the s c o r c h i n g underground heat. A l s o s i g n i f i c a n t i s the f a c t t h a t during t h e i r f i r s t meeting Etienne and Chaval f e e l an i n s t a n t contempt f o r each other, "une de ces haines d ' i n s t i n c t q u i flambent subitement" (60); a n i m a l i s t i c i n s t i n c t i v e r e a c t i o n goes on to p l a y the primary r o l e i n t h e i r i n i m i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p . Chaval's i n a b i l i t y t o r i s e above b r u t i s h n e s s means th a t Etienne must lower h i m s e l f to Chaval's l e v e l i n order to f i n a l l y emerge v i c t o r i o u s . He must triumph 15 acc o r d i n g to the law of the jungle i n order t o s a t i s f y h i s own preconscious a n i m a l i s t i c yearnings. The most conte n t i o u s of the i s s u e s s e p a r a t i n g Etienne and Chaval i s the qu e s t i o n of r e l a t i v e v i r i l i t y , e s p e c i a l l y as t h i s a t t r i b u t e r e l a t e s t o the "possession" and "domination" of Cat h e r i n e . Etienne's i n i t i a l a t t r a c t i o n t o Catherine i s almost i n s t a n t l y threatened by Chaval's e x h i b i t i o n of domineering b r u t a l i t y i n v i o l e n t l y k i s s i n g C a therine. Etienne i s thwarted by raw machismo: "II y a v a i t , dans ce b a i s e r , une p r i s e de po s s e s s i o n , une s o r t e de d e c i s i o n j a l o u s e " (71). As Chaval and Etienne's r i v a l r y a l s o extends to the competition of p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s h i p , we concur with C o l i n Smethurst, who has s t a t e d that "from t h i s viewpoint, the s t r i k e i s a v i r i l i t y drama. Chaval, however, can only o f f e r Catherine access to the most p r i m i t i v e and v i o l e n t r i t u a l i s t i c d i s p l a y s of l u s t s i n c e at heart he has the g r e a t e s t contempt f o r women. This contempt i s expressed more o f t e n than not i n jeal o u s o u t b u r s t s and v i o l e n t a c t s . On Etienne's f i r s t day i n the mine, Chaval e x c o r i a t e s h i s r i v a l ' s l a c k of experience and s t r e n g t h , growling t h a t "ca n'a pas l a f o r c e d'une f i l l e " (67), a most i r o n i c a s s e r t i o n c o n s i d e r i n g the b r u t a l l y hard work t h a t g i r l s and women a l s o perform i n the mines i n Germinal. Although Chaval's misogyny i s shared by most of the other male c h a r a c t e r s i n the nov e l , even Etienne i s g u i l t y on o c c a s i o n , whether through e r o t i c f r u s t r a t i o n or through sexual j e a l o u s y , of an u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c lapse i n t o 16 machismo. Consider, f o r example, h i s r e a c t i o n upon f i n a l l y d i s c e r n i n g Catherine as being one of the l o v e r s he s p i e s on at R e q u i l l a r t on that s p r i n g a f t e r n o o n : "Quelle c a t i n ! et i l e p r o u v a i t un f u r i e u x besoin de se venger d ' e l l e , sans m o t i f , en l a meprisant. . . . e l l e e t a i t a f f r e u s e " (147) or h i s s e l f - r i g h t e o u s and i n s e c u r e d i s m i s s a l of Catherine as a t r o l l o p a f t e r Chaval s p i t e s him: "Assurement, e l l e l u i a v a i t mentis . . . car e l l e a v a i t deja l e dehanchement d'une gueuse" (78). Yet as the novel u n f o l d s , Chaval comes to represent machismo, alr e a d y a code of extremes, pushed to even g r e a t e r excess. Although capable of some tenderness and compassion, as seen during h i s f i r s t s eduction of Catherine and at the moment of ber c o l l a p s e i n the mine from heat p r o s t r a t i o n , such d i s p l a y s of v u l n e r a b i l i t y and concern on h i s p a r t are by f a r the e x c e p t i o n than the r u l e . Even then, h i s tenderness i s only a prelude to a one-sided " p r i s e de p o s s e s s i o n " and i s t i n g e d with the notions of swallowing and death: C a t h e r i n e i s " s i tendre q u ' i l l ' a u r a i t mangee" (145), and when embracing Catherine Chaval " l a t u a i t de c a r e s s e s " (189). Zola's use of the verb "manger" i s c l e a r l y used to equate sex, food, and triumphant engulfment. While "manger" i s used i n the above example w i t h i n a context of h e t e r o s e x u a l misogyny, the author i s a l s o c a r e f u l t o i n s i s t upon i t s use w i t h i n the very context of Etienne and Chaval's own venomous r i v a l r y . As Etienne confesses to Catherine, 17 " j e ne peux pas a v a l e r deux p e t i t s v e r r e s sans a v o i r l e besoin de manger un homme" (68). Although t h i s h ardly seems an o v e r t l y homosexual statement, such c o n f e s s i o n s do indeed add to the (homo)erotic undercurrents which inflame Etienne and Chaval's c o m p e t i t i v e n e s s . "Manger" i s a l s o f r e q u e n t l y used by the omniscient n a r i a t o r and not j u s t by the novel's predominately o r o c e n t r i c c h a r a c t e r s . During a f i g h t between Etienne and Chaval at the Avantage bar, Zola s t a t e s b a l d l y t h a t " rjrrf] a i n t e n a n t , i l f a l l a i t que l'un des deux mangeat l ' a u t r e " (239). In the o p i n i o n of David B e l l o s , "the s u b s t i t u t i o n of the terms f o r e a t i n g and k i l l i n g . . . g i v e s symbolic access to . . . a s u b s t r u c t u r e of meaning i n the t e x t and i n the reading of i t " . ^ But Zola i s a c t u a l l y p r a c t i s i n g a t r i p a r t i t e s u b s t i t u t i o n : i t i s through the equation of terms r e l a t i n g to e a t i n g , k i l l i n g , and sexual a c t i v i t y t h a t an e r o t i c t e x t u a l s u b s t r u c t u r e i s i n f a c t c o n s t r u c t e d . The l i f e - s u s t a i n i n g f o r c e s of food and sex are oxymoronic s i n c e each term c o n t a i n s i t s own a n t i t h e s i s : e a t i n g at once r e p r e s e n t s the e x t e n s i o n of the l i f e of the consumer and the death/disappearance of the consumed. S i m i l a r l y , macho sex i s at the same time the reinforcement of male domination and the p e r p e t u a t i o n of women's enslavement through tyranny and v i o l e n c e . Put more b l u n t l y , Zola's e t h i c s t a t e s t h a t sexual a c t i v i t y i s c r e a t i v e and e r o t i c only when i t i s p r o c r e a t i v e and enshrined i n the r i t e s of f e r t i l i t y . But Eros becomes l i n k e d with the f o r c e s 1 8 of Thanatos when mating borders on v i o l e n t rape, a term which a c c u r a t e l y d e s c r i b e s the sexual misconduct of Chaval during h i s i n i t i a l s e d u ction of C a t h e r i n e : "Non, non, je ne veux pas! Je te d i s que je s u i s t r o p jeune" (146). Etienne's hidden presence at t h i s scene of de f i l e m e n t spurs him on to vengeance, i n an attempt not only t o a s s e r t h i s own confused and threatened v i r i l i t y but a l s o t o somehow rep u d i a t e the macho mindset of rape. For t h i s hero c e r t a i n forms of v i o l e n t behavior may at times be acceptable or necessary, but never i n the context of male-female sexual r e l a t i o n s , which are s a c r o s a n c t . Etienne i s not reduced to using f o r c e i n order to prove h i s e r o t i c appeal to anyone; Chaval, h i s d i a b o l i c a l macho nemesis, i s . C r u c i a l t o the n o t i o n of a t a v i s t i c macho behavior i n Germina1 i s the d i s r u p t i v e presence of a l c o h o l . Whereas Chaval o f t e n becomes v i o l e n t at the s l i g h t e s t p r o v o c a t i o n , Etienne o f t e n needs a d r i n k or two i n order f o r the f u l l f o r c e of h i s i n h e r i t e d and i n t e r n a l demons to be unleashed. A l c o h o l thus becomes one of the primary — though not e x c l u s i v e — t r i g g e r s f o r Etienne's rage i n the n o v e l . As we know, a l c o h o l o f t e n weakens a person's judgement by b r i n g i n g to the s u r f a c e elements of p e r s o n a l i t y t h a t are normally repressed at an unconscious l e v e l and thereby t u r n i n g loose the b e a s t l y elements w i t h i n a normally t r a n q u i l c h a r a c t e r . A l c o h o l a f f o r d s us a glimpse i n t o the dark recesses of Zola's c h a r a c t e r s ' monstrous and subconscious f o r c e s . I t i s t h e r e f o r e s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t two of the three c l a s h e s between 19 Etienne and Chaval occur on the premises of the Avantage, the pub run by Rasseneur and h i s w i f e . (In f a c t , the t h i r d of these c o n f l i c t s , which culminates i n Etienne's murder of Chaval, takes p l a c e underground, an i d e a l l o c a t i o n f o r the r e l e a s e of unconscious urges.) The main source of a l c o h o l f o r the mining community i s the p r i n c i p a l forum f o r a n i m a l i s t i c d i s p l a y s of e r o t o - c o m p e t i t i v e behavior where the "beast w i t h i n " may be t e m p o r a r i l y unchained f o r a l l to witness. As Maarten Van Buuren maintains, these d i s p l a y s of ra g i n g v i o l e n c e w i t h i n " l a bete humaine . . . exprime'nt une combinaison de passions e r o t i c o - m e u r t r i e r e s qui est sans g e x c e p t i o n a s s o c i e e au mal et a l a mort". As w e l l , on these occasions there i s a ready-made audience f o r Etienne and Chaval's f i s t i c u f f s , an audience which helps to fan the flames of male p r i d e during these c o n f l i c t s . Indeed, there i s a s t r i k i n g l y d i r e c t Z o l i a n l i n k between the f i r e s of the subconscious and the subterranean, as evidenced i n the f o l l o w i n g p a r a l l e l passages. F i r s t , we have the d e s c r i p t i o n of a f i g h t at the Avantage: "On e n t e n d i t l e ronflement de l e u r h a l e i n e , t a n d i s que l e u r face rouge se g o n f l a i t comme d'un b r a s i e r i n t e r i e u r , dont on v o y a i t l e s flammes, par l e s t r o u s c l a i r s de l e u r s yeux" (396). Compare the preceding with the f o l l o w i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of Le T a r t a r e t : "La n u i t , l e s braves qui o s a i e n t r i s q u e r un o e i l a ces t r o u s , j u r a i e n t y v o i r des flammes, l e s ames c r i m i n e l l e s en t r a i n de g r e s i l l e r dans l a b r a i s e i n t e r i e u r e " (303). Revealing are the r e p e t i t i o n s 20 " b r a s i e r i n t e r i e u r / b r a i s e i n t e r i e u r e " , "flammes", " o e i l / y e u x " , and " t r o u s " . In the f i r s t d e s c r i p t i o n , we are a f f o r d e d a glimpse i n t o the h e l l of h e l l s , reserved e x c l u s i v e l y , a c c o r d i n g to miners' legend, f o r female sexual c r i m i n a l s ; i n the second, the holes i n the ground l e a d i n g to h e l l are r e p l a c e d by burning eyes l e a d i n g t o the " h e l l " of the homoerotic competition i n h e r e n t i n the macho code. In e f f e c t , Etienne i s i n the throes as much of h i s i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t s as he i s of h i s e x t e r n a l ones: Une voix abominable, en l u i , 1 ' a s s o u r d i s s a i t . Cela montait de ses e n t r a i l l e s , b a t t a i t dans sa t e t e a coups de marteau, une brusque f o l i e de meurtre, un besoin de gouter au sang. Jamais l a c r i s e ne 1'avait secoue a i n s i . Pourtant, i l n ' e t a i t pas i v r e . Et i l l u t t a i t contre l e mal h e r e d i t a i r e , avec l e f r i s s o n desespere d'un f u r i e u x d'amour qui se debat au bord du v i o l . II f i n i t par se v a i n c r e , i l langa l e couteau d e r r i e r e l u i . . . . (398) This i s as c l o s e as Zola comes to e r o t i c a l l y d e f i n i n g the macho e t h i c of competition between males f o r c o n t r o l and f o r power, as m e t a p h o r i c a l l y encompassed i n the act of homosexual i n t e r c o u r s e . Here, Etienne's unconscious need f o r revenge and h i s innate b l o o d l u s t come to the f o r e without the emboldening and dynamogenic e f f e c t s of a l c o h o l . Chaval's treacherous use of a dangerous w e a p o n — e l i m i n a t i n g any chance of a t r u l y f a i r f i g h t — a c t s as a t r i g g e r f o r Etienne's unconscious phobias. His primary f e a r i s of death by p e n e t r a t i o n , the f e a r of male rape by Chaval's d e s t r u c t i v e p h a l l i c s u b s t i t u t e , h i s k n i f e . Keeping i n mind the e x t r a o r d i n a r y p e n i l e s i z e s a s s o c i a t e d with " l e s grands 21 chevaux" (and the f a c t t h a t Zola uses the a d j e c t i v e "grand" i n c o n j u n c t i o n with Chaval's name f o r the e n t i r e f i r s t s e c t i o n of the n o v e l ) , we conclude t h a t there i s a s u b s t a n t i a l homoerotic component to Etienne and Chaval's r i v a l r y , i n a d d i t i o n t o the more obvious heterosexual connotations of winning Catherine's love and d e v o t i o n . Part of Etienne's i n t e r n a l s t r u g g l e i s thus to prove himself unquestionably h e t e r o s e x u a l . The equating of sex and death i s one of Zola's primary manipulations of the e r o t i c i n Germinal , e f f e c t i v e l y b o r d e r i n g on the o b s e s s i o n a l . Etienne gains h e r o i c s t a t u r e by r e s i s t i n g h i s p r i m i t i v e need to rape and k i l l u n t i l he l i t e r a l l y has no other c h o i c e . T h i s i s why Catherine " s e r a i t au d e r n i e r v i v a n t " (482) during Etienne and Chaval's t h i r d s t r u g g l e , a f i n a l f i g h t to the death t h a t takes place underground. V i c t o r i o u s , Etienne i s at l a s t able to r e l i s h "un o r g u e i l , l ' o r g e u i l du p l u s f o r t " (483). According to the widespread but erroneous nineteenth century genetic theory of telegony--the supposed permanent i n f l u e n c e of a p r e v i o u s s i r e on o f f s p r i n g born by a female t o other s i r e s - E tienne i s the f i r s t man t o engage i n " r e a l " sexual i n t e r c o u r s e capable of r e s u l t i n g i n Catherine's impregnation, thereby r e l e g a t i n g C a t h e r i n e and Chaval's p r e v i o u s sexual a c t i v i t y t o i n f a n t i l e and i n f e r t i l e s t a t u s . Chaval i s u l t i m a t e l y treacherous and d i a b o l i c a l because he i s u n w i l l i n g t o renounce and transcend h i s animal nature. In f a c t , he i s a c a r i c a t u r e of the macho e t h i c gone awry, 22 j e a l o u s to the p o i n t of v i o l e n t i n s a n i t y and c r u e l to the poi n t of d r i v i n g a naked and d i s t r a u g h t Catherine from t h e i r home. Above a l l , the hy p o c r i s y of the macho code i s re v e a l e d by t h i s rampant male v i o l e n c e d i r e c t e d against women; any notions of c h i v a l r y or of g a l l a n t r y are thus swallowed up by moral and p h y s i c a l cowardice. Although Chaval i s one of the more v i o l e n t and m i s o g y n i s t i c c h a r a c t e r s i n the nov e l , at one p o i n t the Maheus' neighbour Levaque i s a l s o d e s c r i b e d as "delasse et e x c i t e d ' a v o i r tape sur sa femme" (134). In an other i n s t a n c e , before the onset of h i s p o l i t i c a l and a p o s t o l i c a l r o l e , Etienne u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y enunciates the f o l l o w i n g p e r n i c i o u s maxim: "Lorsque l e s f i l l e s d i s e n t non, c'est q u ' e l l e s aiment a e t r e bourrees d'abord" (144), as i f sexual s a t i s f a c t i o n n e c e s s a r i l y depends on the t h r e a t of imminent v i o l e n c e . J e a n l i n , as the depraved and monstrous c h i e f of h i s prepubescent c o t e r i e , " b a t t a i t Lydie comme on bat une femme l e g i t i m e " (271), having learned by all-too-common a d u l t example t h a t the "might i s r i g h t " equation a p p l i e s i n p r a c t i s e j u s t as r u t h l e s s l y t o women and c h i l d r e n as i t does to d i r e c t competition between males. F i n a l l y , a f t e r the c a s t r a t i o n of Maigrat at the hands of La B r u l e , Mme Maigrat looks down upon the bloody scene below: En haut, a l a f e n e t r e , Mme Maigrat ne bougeait t o u j o u r s pas: mais, sous l a d e r n i e r e l u e u r du couchant, l e s defauts b r o u i l l e s des v i t r e s deformaient sa face blanche, q u i semblait r i r e . Battue, t r a h i e a chaque heure, l e s epaules p l i e e s du matin au s o i r sur un r e g i s t r e , p e u t - e t r e r i a i t - e l l e . . . . (362-63) 23 In t h i s case, the w i f e - b e a t i n g misogynist and corrupted erotomaniac becomes the f i t t i n g v i c t i m of female revenge, one of the most powerful f o r c e s i n the Germinalian u n i v e r s e . As a supplement to the tyranny of Chaval's macho b r u t a l i t y , Maigrat i s a l s o r e p r e h e n s i b l e i n h i s d e s p o t i c a p p l i c a t i o n of male power. Maigrat i s the m o n o p o l i s t i c shopkeeper, the extender of c r e d i t , i n s h o r t a puppet f o r the narrow i n t e r e s t s of the mining company. His tyranny i s due not only to h i s a b i l i t y to c o n t r o l the a v a i l a b i l i t y of f o o d s t u f f s , but a l s o to h i s w i l l i n g n e s s to accept sexual payment f o r h i s usury: "Quand un mineur v o u l a i t une p r o l o n g a t i o n de c r e d i t , i l n ' a v a i t qu'a envoyer sa f i l l e ou sa femme, l a i d e s ou b e l l e s , pourvu q u ' e l l e s f u s s e n t complaisantes" ( 1 1 0 ) . In Maigrat, then, Zola has combined the erotomania of La Mouquette, the m a t e r i a l i s m common to bourgeois c a p i t a l i s t s l i k e the Gregoires or the Hennebeaus, the i n t e r c l a s s t r e a c h e r y of Dansaert and La Pierronne, and the f e l i n e v i c i o u s n e s s of J e a n l i n . He i s a l i t e r a r y l i g h t n i n g rod f o r the negative q u a l i t i e s of almost a l l the other c h a r a c t e r s and as such he comes to the most gruesome of ends: c a s t r a t e d and emasculated. L i k e J e a n l i n , Maigrat has an aberrant nature which seems to be provoked by a f u s i o n of the macho e t h i c with the more f e r o c i o u s and monstrous metaphorical elements of u n f e t t e r e d and e x p l o i t a t i v e m o n o p o l i s t i c c a p i t a l i s m . In Maigrat's case, c a p i t a l i s t i c greed i s equated q u i t e l i t e r a l l y with venery and u n f a i r s o c i a l advantage; as a r e s u l t , h i s bloody death 24 i s one of the most r e v o l u t i o n a r y and g r i p p i n g scenes i n the n o v e l . Other c h a r a c t e r s i n Germinal a l s o undergo symbolic c a s t r a t i o n or emasculation: Souvarine, the a n a r c h i s t , i s given a g i r l i s h countenance; Deneulin, i n the u l t i m a t e d i s p l a y of e n t r e p r e n e u r i a l impotence, i s f o r c e d to s e l l h i s independent mining o p e r a t i o n ; Hennebeau and P i e r r o n are portrayed as cuckold husbands, eunuchized by immoral wives; and Gregoire, with h i s "idees f i x e s " and h i s "idees recues", i s d e s c r i b e d as being p a s s i v e and s t e r i l e . C l e a r l y , male c h a r a c t e r s who are v i r i l e and e r o t i c a l l y balanced are few and f a r between: To u s s a i n t Maheu seems to be the only male f i g u r e who c o n s i s t e n t l y f u l f i l l s t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of Zola's e r o t i c i d e a l throughout the n o v e l . F i t t i n g l y , S a i n t Maheu i s shot i n h i s key b o d i l y organ, the h e a r t . The androgynous q u a l i t i e s of Souvarine on the surface seem to be at odds with h i s a n a r c h i s t i c e x p l o i t s as a saboteur. But one must not t h i n k i n terms of effeminacy as s i g n i f y i n g only weakness and p a s s i v i t y : Souvarine's androgyny i s as much a t h r e a t to the p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i a l order as i s h i s sabotage to the p e r p e t u a t i o n of i n d u s t r i a l c a p i t a l i s m (see Chapter Three f o r a c l o s e r a n a l y s i s of the r o l e of androgyny i n Germinal). Yet d e s p i t e Souvarine's s e d i t i o u s and s u b v e r s i ve nature, he too i s a proponent of the law of the j u n g l e . By l o g i c a l e xtension of t h i s premise, he i s thus an i n d i r e c t guarantor of machismo: During Etienne and Chaval's second and more v i o l e n t 25 c o n f r o n t a t i o n at the Avantage, i t i s Souvarine who D a r w i n i s t i c a l l y a s s e r t s that " i l y en a un de t r o p , c'est au plus f o r t de v i v r e " (396). I t must be s t r e s s e d t h a t Zola goes to some len g t h to p a i n t a reasonably d i v e r s e and down-to-earth p o r t r a i t of h i s s o c i a l i s t s and h i s c a p i t a l i s t s , going so f a r as to d e s c r i b e three separate f a c t i o n s w i t h i n each group. M. Deneulin r e p r e s e n t s the independent c a p i t a l i s t s t r u g g l i n g a g a i n s t a l l odds to preserve the i n t e g r i t y and p r o f i t a b i l i t y of h i s o p e r a t i o n i n the face of the devouring i n f l u e n c e of the Company, with i t s r u t h l e s s bottom l i n e and m o n o p o l i s t i c i n c l i n a t i o n s . But d e s p i t e the n a r r a t o r ' s a s s e r t i o n t h a t " l e s o u v r i e r s r e s p e c t a i e n t s u r t o u t en l u i l'homme de courage" (299), Deneulin too i s " a u t o r i t a i r e , l ' a l l u r e brusque" (299), a man who "se montrait p a t e r n e l pour ses homines" (299) and who p a t r o n i z i n g l y r e f e r s to h i s employees as "mes en f a n t s " (299). Within the p a t r i a r c h a l system, Deneulin as "pere de f a m i l l e " i s as v u l n e r a b l e as h i s mine s i n c e he i s a widower with two daughters who, according to the s e x i s t and arcane r u l e s of p h a l l o c r a c y , w i l l f a i l t o perpetuate t h e i r f a t h e r ' s surname, thus r e p r e s e n t i n g a g e n e a l o g i c a l c u l - d e - s a c . In n e g o t i a t i o n s with h i s miners, he i s por t r a y e d as "eperdu de son impuissance" (301), a term which although adequately rendered i n E n g l i s h as "powerlessness", a l s o c o n t a i n s i n French the connotation of "impotence". Zola repeats t h i s term dur i n g the miners' g a l l o p across the c o u n t r y s i d e , d u r i n g which Deneulin once 26 again has " l a conscience immediate de son impuissance" (319). As i f to counterbalance these f e e l i n g s of male and managerial inadequacy, Deneulin i n s i s t s upon h i s admiration of "gouvernements f o r t s " (299), and i s reduced t o stammering macho t h r e a t s when the s t r i k i n g workers s e i z e c o n t r o l of h i s mine: "Tas de b a n d i t s , vous v e r r e z qa, quand nous serons redevenus l e s plus f o r t s ! " (307); note how t h i s desperate u t t e r a n c e has the French e q u i v a l e n t of "might i s right," at i t s very core. At the same time, however, Deneulin i s shown at h i s most p a t r i a r c h a l and macho when h i s back i s indeed to the w a l l , t h a t i s when h i s very own p r o d u c t i v e c a p a c i t y i s threatened. His assessment of the workers i s a c t u a l l y the most accurate and sympathetic of a l l the c a p i t a l i s t i c c h a r a c t e r s : "Des brutes sans doute, mais des brutes qui ne sa v a i e n t pas l i r e et qui c r e v a i e n t de faim" (325). Macho p o s t u r i n g i s a l s o at the core of M. Hennebeau' s attempts to compensate f o r h i s domestic sexual f r u s t r a t i o n . He i s held i n contempt by h i s w i f e , an unusual c r e a t u r e who engages i n a long s e r i e s of e x t r a m a r i t a l a f f a i r s with the compliance of her husband. In f a c t , Hennebeau has never been s e x u a l l y i n t i m a t e with h i s wi f e , although he f a n t a s i z e s about being able t o " l a prendre, de r o u l e r sa t e t e entre l e s deux s e i n s q u ' e l l e e t a l a i t " (210). During the chronology of Germinal, Mme Hennebeau i s having an i l l i c i t a f f a i r with Paul N e g r e l , her husband's nephew and the c h i e f engineer at the Voreux mine. Moreover, t h i s q u a s i - i n c e s t u o u s l i a i s o n i s common knowledge to both workers and managers. Deneulin 27 jokes about i t while at the Gregoires f o r dinner—much to the h o r r o r of h i s host--, and La Maheude, La Pierronne, and La Levaque, although s t r u c k with f e a r i n Hennebeau's m i l i t a r y - l i k e presence, know a l l too w e l l t h a t " c ' e s t pourtant v r a i q u ' i l a une t e t e de cocu" ( 1 2 6 ) . As so o f t e n seems to be the case, M. Hennebeau i s the l a s t to know the s p e c i f i c s of h i s wife's a d u l t e r y , although he does have some s u s p i c i o n s . Indeed, i t i s only upon h i s d i s c o v e r y of "tr a c e s abominables s o u i l l a n t l e s l i n g e s " (340) th a t he r e a l l y gets on with the business of f i g h t i n g a bloody war with the i n t r a n s i g e n t miners: "Des l o r s , i l n ' h e s i t a p l u s " (342); t h i s i s the l a s t straw f o r Hennebeau's wounded male p r i d e , a t r i g g e r f o r the v i o l e n c e to come. Nev e r t h e l e s s , Hennebeau's i n t e r n a l i z e d rage and s e l f - h a t r e d are such that he i s e v e n t u a l l y able t o take c o l d comfort from h i s wife's perverse choice of sexual p a r t n e r : "Sa femme a v a i t simplement un amant de p l u s , c e l a a g g r a v a i t a peine l e f a i t q u ' e l l e 1 ' eut c h o i s i dans l a f a m i l l e ; et pe u t - e t r e meme y a v a i t - i l avantage, car e l l e sauvegardait a i n s i l e s apparences" ( 3 4 8 ) . I t i s i n t h i s sentence t h a t Hennebeau's m a r i t a l s e r v i l i t y and toadyism are c l e a r l y s et out. In e r o t i c terms, Hennebeau's p a i n i s fundamentally "une fu r e u r d'impuissance" ( 3 4 1 - 4 2 ) where the male p e r s p e c t i v e on labor and c l a s s c o n f l i c t s i s i n e x t r i c a b l y l i n k e d with sexual c o n s i d e r a t i o n s once again. Unable t o co n f r o n t h i s wife, Hennebeau compensates by seeking revenge a g a i n s t the s t r i k e r s ; rendered impotent i n the bedroom, he seeks to 28 d e f i n e a hypermasculine i d e n t i t y on the b a t t l e f i e l d . Since he has l o s t yet another b a t t l e with h i s wife, he strengthens h i s r e s o l v e to win the l a r g e r and c a r e e r - o r i e n t e d war i f only i n h i s r o l e of s a l a r i e d a d m i n i s t r a t o r : "L'homme e t a i t dompte, i l ne r e s t a i t en l u i que 1 1 a d m i n i s t r a t e u r c o r r e c t , r e s o l u a r e m p l i r son d e v o i r " (353). For Hennebeau t h i s moment re p r e s e n t s the p o i n t of no r e t u r n ; h i s macho i d e a l has been c a l l e d i n t o q u e s t i o n once too o f t e n . In many ways, h i s r e a c t i o n of wounded male p r i d e i s very s i m i l a r to Etienne's own r e b e l l i o u s thoughts on the l i v i n g and working c o n d i t i o n s of the coalminers: "Son o r g e u i l d' homme se r e v o l t a i t , a l ' i d e e d'etre une bete qu'on aveugle et qu'on ecrase " ( 9 0 ) . The m o t i v a t i o n s of the opposing camps i n the Germinalian e p i c b a t t l e i n r e a l i t y have the same b a s i c r o o t cause: i n j u r e d p r i d e and masculine i n s e c u r i t y seeking revenge through the a s s e r t i o n of power over the weak. Throughout Germinal, the m i l i t a r y c o n s t i t u t e s one of the primary o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r men to put the macho code of s o c i e t y i n t o p r a c t i s e . R i g i d a u t h o r i t y and s t r i c t d i s c i p l i n e combine to form a moral a u s t e r i t y which becomes the backdrop f o r the b r u t a l v i o l e n c e i n h e r e n t i n m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s . I t i s as i f the s o l d i e r s and o f f i c e r s were f o r c e d t o channel t h e i r t e s t o s t e r o n e - i n s p i r e d l i b i d o s i n a ramrod- s t r a i g h t , h i e r a r c h i c a l d i s p l a y of t i g h t n e s s and r i g i d i t y ! When we f i r s t encounter Hennebeau, f o r example, he i s " s e r r e dans une r e d i n g o t e n o i r e . . . , l e v i s a g e a u t o r i t a i r e et 29 c o r r e c t " (126); a l i t t l e l a t e r , he i s poised to "preparer m i l i t a i r e m e n t son champ de b a t a i l l e " (210). He i s c o n s i s t e n t l y "boutonne m i l i t a i r e m e n t " , even though Zola makes no mention of o f f i c i a l m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e i n h i s past. (Hennebeau grew up i n semi-poverty, s t r u g g l e d through mining s c h o o l , became an engineer and was then promoted to a s e r i e s of b o r i n g and low-paying a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p o s i t i o n s . ) Hennebeau's toughness i s simply a f r o n t and a sham: h i s i n i t i a l n e g o t i a t i o n s with the miners are merely "un e s p o i r de soumission" (230). Unable to dominate h i s wife, he seeks to play a dominant and s a d i s t i c r o l e i n h i s e r o t i c a l l y - c o l o r e d s t r u g g l e with Etienne with d i s a s t r o u s consequences. Hennebeau's attempt at e r o t i c compensation and h i s e f f o r t s to r e l i e v e h i s intense sexual d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n only serve to i n c r e a s e the f r u s t r a t i o n s of the miners: "Cette r a i d e u r a u t o r i t a i r e p r o d u i s i t l ' e f f e t l e plus facheux" (261). Perhaps a more f l e x i b l e a t t i t u d e , one without so much emphasis placed on d e r r i n g - d o and instantaneous h o s t i l e e r e c t i o n , would have r e s u l t e d i n a l e s s d e s t r u c t i v e outcome f o r the miners' r e b e l l i o n . In t h i s r e s p e c t Hennebeaus's exaggerated macho p r i d e , the r e s u l t of t e r m i n a l c u c k o l d r y , p l a y s an i n t e g r a l r o l e i n the c a t a s t r o p h i c c u l m i n a t i o n of the novel's events. Without i t , there would be no drama. P i e r r o n i s the other cuckold i n Germinal. His wife, La Pierronne, i s an a t t r a c t i v e yet h y p o c r i t i c a l woman i n v o l v e d i n a p o o r l y - c o n c e a l e d a f f a i r with Dansaert, the cowardly c h i e f foreman at Le Voreux. The i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s 30 l i a i s o n are c h i e f l y c l a s s - r e l a t e d (see Chapter Four f o r a c l o s e r a n a l y s i s of the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e i r a f f a i r ) , but there are a l s o notions of s t e r i l i t y and moral cowardice i n P i e r r o n ' s t a c i t acceptance of h i s wife's brazen i n f i d e l i t y . In f a c t , i t i s he who w r i t e s to Hennebeau, a d v i s i n g him t h a t he i s an u n w i l l i n g and coerced p a r t i c i p a n t i n the s t r i k e , thus a s s u r i n g h i m s e l f the s o b r i q u e t of s t o o l pigeon; i t i s he who formerly made g i f t s of r a b b i t s t o the mining foreman i n order to i n g r a t i a t e h i m s e l f with a u t h o r i t y . P i e r r o n g i v e s away the symbol of the miners' most e f f e c t i v e weapon- f e r t i l i t y — f o r h i s own n e f a r i o u s purposes. His cuckold s t a t u s i s most a p t l y commented on by La Maheude: " P i e r r o n avant de l'epouser donnait des l a p i n s au p o r i o n , maintenant ga l u i coute moins cher de p r e t e r sa femme" (122). His compliance earns the wrath of La B r u l e , P i e r r o n ' s mother- in-law: "Ce cochon-la me deshonore" ( 382 ). In the end, P i e r r o n must accept the i n t e r c l a s s dominance of Dansaert i f he i s to continue e n j o y i n g the l u x u r i o u s p e r q u i s i t e s a s s o c i a t e d with e r o t i c c a p i t u l a t i o n t o the enemy. In Zola's male h i e r a r c h y P i e r r o n i s on the lowest rung as a r e s u l t of the s i n of s e l f - c a s t r a t i o n , the Z o l i a n l i t e r a r y e q u i v a l e n t of plunging i n t o an unfathomable moral abyss. In many r e s p e c t s , the "obeissance du s o l d a t " (329) among the b e t t e r - o r g a n i z e d f o r c e s of C a p i t a l complements the normally unbreakable bonds of workers' s o l i d a r i t y : the mine foreman at Mirou with snow-white h a i r and beard and with a s t e n t o r i a n v o i c e a u d i b l e above the shouts of the rampaging 31 mob of workers i s " r a i d i dans son entetement du de v o i r m i l i t a i r e " (328) and resembles a Jeh o v a h - l i k e f i g u r e from the Old Testament; h i s name ( l e pere Quandieu) may be i n t e r p r e t e d as being a pun on the French word f o r God. He i s a p a t r i a r c h a l and b u l l y i n g "god" who attempts to prevent h i s wayward c h i l d r e n from d e s t r o y i n g the temple of c a p i t a l i s t i c i n d u s t r i a l r i t u a l . In f a c t , h i s words do have a temporary hold over the mob, as i f reminding them that t h e i r d o c i l e h i s t o r y of e x p l o i t a t i o n and poverty i s perhaps the best of a l l p o s s i b l e worlds f o r them. In Zola's day, m i l i t a r y and business c a r e e r s were the e x c l u s i v e preserves of males and were s o c i a l l y a cceptable forms of male s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n . Even today, the male f u l f i l l i n g h i s duty, whether i n the m i l i t a r y or i n business, must be sure to be on h i s guard at a l l times, l i k e Hennebeau or l i k e the c a p t a i n of the m i l i t a r y f o r c e s assigned to guard Le Voreux. T h i s m i l i t a r y r i g i d i t y i s the u l t i m a t e symbol of the w e l l - d i s c i p l i n e d male, powerful y e t u n f e e l i n g . Throughout these p o r t r a y a l s of v a r i o u s c a p t a i n s of i n d u s t r y and sundry i m p e r i a l o f f i c e r s emerges a glimpse of what seems to be Zola's own negative a t t i t u d e s towards such narrow and unhealthy forms of t r a d i t i o n a l a u t h o r i t a r i a n male behavior. These men are very r a r e l y shown as being r e l a x e d or happy s i n c e t h e i r r e s o l u t e s t o i c i s m i s the a n t i t h e s i s of the p l a y f u l n e s s , exuberance, and c a r e f r e e s p i r i t s that c h a r a c t e r i z e the miners during the h o l i d a y p e r i o d of the "ducasse." When the d i s c i p l i n e of the Emperor's s o l d i e r s i s 32 s e v e r e l y t e s t e d , that i s when they are sworn at and taunted by the mob, Zola p o i n t e d l y r e f e r s t o " l e hautain et t r i s t e s i l e n c e de l a d i s c i p l i n e m i l i t a i r e " ( 4 1 6 ) , thereby completing the equation of proud s i l e n c e with the d u t i e s of p r o t e c t i n g c a p i t a l and p r o p e r t y . Compare the sadness of t h i s macho s i l e n c e with the n a t u r a l and p e r v a s i v e l y e r o t i c sounds heard at other times i n t h i s same c o u n t r y s i d e : "Le Voreux . . . r e s p i r a i t d'une h a l e i n e p l u s grosse et plus longue" ( 3 9 ) ; "On n'entendait plus que l e s o u f f l e ardent de l'homme" ( 1 4 6 ) ; " [Hennebeau] r e n t r a i t . . . desespere par ces longs b r u i t s , perdus au fond de l a campagne n o i r e , ou i l n'entendait que des b a i s e r s " ( 2 8 1 ) . C l e a r l y , s i l e n c e i s a r a r e phenomenon i n the midst of not only unceasing i n d u s t r y but a l s o amid the omniscient sounds of couples communing so amorously with Nature. S i l e n c e f o r Zola i s "unnatural "{ r e p r e s e n t i n g not only i n d u s t r i a l machinery at unproductive r e s t but a l s o a dangerous s u b l i m a t i o n of l i b i d o and of anger; s i l e n c e i s the e e r i e calm before the p r o v e r b i a l storm of blood and d e s t r u c t i o n . The Z o l i a n s o l d i e r can t o l e r a t e only so much i n s u l t before engaging i n an orgy of v i o l e n c e when h i s thwarted l i b i d o f i n a l l y must unleash i t s p h a l l i c blade i n a wave of k i l l i n g . Although Jung d e f i n e s l i b i d o as a " n a t u r a l energy which f i r s t and foremost serves the purposes of 9 l i f e " , l i b i d o may ^ust as e a s i l y ] o i n f o r c e s with Thanatos, the m y t h o l o g i c a l (and Freudian) r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the death i n s t i n c t . In t h i s way, the l i m b i c nature of Zola's 33 equations of e r o t i c a i s s t r e s s e d : sex and v i o l e n c e are i n e x t r i c a b l y bound together w i t h i n the p r i m i t i v e i n s t i n c t s of the human animal. Nowhere i s t h i s equation i l l u s t r a t e d more c l e a r l y than i n the account of J e a n l i n ' s "acte g r a t u i t " , h i s murder of J u l e s , the young Breton s o l d i e r : " J e a n l i n . . . l u i enfonca dans l a gorge son couteau grand ouvert. . . . On ne v o y a i t , du couteau, que l e manche d'os, ou l a d e v i s e g a l a n t e , ce mot simple: 'Amour', e t a i t grave en l e t t r e s n o i r e s " ( 404- 0 5 ) . Whether t h i s murder s a t i s f i e s J e a n l i n ' s p r i m i t i v e l u s t f o r blood and mayhem or whether J e a n l i n i s cowardly attempting to defend h i s t e r r i t o r y which i s under enemy occupation i s immaterial: Zola uses t h i s scene to probe the depths of the human l i m b i c system, the most p r i m i t i v e e v o l u t i o n a r y v e s t i g e of the b r a i n stem r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the c o n t r o l of b a s i c emotions, hunger, and sex. In t h i s r e s p e c t , J e a n l i n may be seen to occupy a r e t r o g r a d e p o s i t i o n on the developmental s c a l e and the e v o l u t i o n a r y l a d d e r , "dans sa degenerescence d'avorton a 1 ' i n t e l 1 i g e n c e obscure et d'une ruse de sauvage, lentement r e p r i s par l ' a n i m a l i t e ancienne" (276). Zola p r e v i o u s l y d e s c r i b e s J e a n l i n as having " 1 ' i n t e l l i g e n c e obscure et l a v i v e adresse d'un avorton humain qu i r e t o u r n a i t a l ' a n i m a l i t e d ' o r i g i n e " (198). These p a r a l l e l d e s c r i p t i o n s p o r t r a y J e a n l i n i n a t o t a l l y l i m b i c l i g h t s i n c e he has l o s t almost a l l t r a c e of higher human emotions. Cast as a l i v i n g human " a b o r t i o n , " J e a n l i n r e p r e s e n t s stunted and malignant s e x u a l i t y and 34 v i o l e n c e . I t i s Etienne who takes J e a n l i n to task f o r s e l f i s h l y g a t h e r i n g food i n the midst of c o l l e c t i v e famine. J e a n l i n a l s o r e p r e s e n t s Etienne's own unconscious animal urges which, as we have seen, Etienne t r i e s t o keep i n check i n order to become a Marxian a p o s t l e ; the monstrous J e a n l i n p l a y s the fragmentary s t r u c t u r a l r o l e of m i r r o r f o r Etienne's own i n t e r n a l monsters. T h i s s u b t e x t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p i s emphasized by them sharing the same bed i n the Maheus' overcrowded house. C a r o l F u l l e r has maintained that "on the symbolic l e v e l J e a n l i n c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e s the e f f e c t of s o c i a l and n a t u r a l f o r c e s on a c h i l d v i c t i m i z e d by h i s e n v i r o n m e n t " O n an e r o t i c l e v e l , s i n c e J e a n l i n i s prepubescent (and thus s t e r i l e ) , he i s reduced to i n d u l g i n g i n "des jeux de p e t i t s chiens v i c i e u x " (141) with Lydie, i m i t a t i n g t h e i r e l d e r s ' e r o t i c a c t i v i t i e s ; but i n order to compensate f o r h i s stunted potency, J e a n l i n i s f o r c e d to concentrate on v i o l e n t r a t h e r than on sexual behavior. I t i s he who i s the c h i e f tormentor of the p e r p e t u a l l y pregnant r a b b i t , Pologne, an obvious symbol of t e r r e s t r i a l and animal f e r t i l i t y ; i t i s a l s o J e a n l i n who s y m b o l i c a l l y b i t e s C a t h e r i n e ' s b r e a s t , as i f to r e j e c t sustenance and nourishment. J e a n l i n i s thus a subhuman degenerate, i n d i r e c t c o n f r o n t a t i o n with human f e c u n d i t y . In Germinal we have a v i v i d and dramatic p o r t r a i t of v a r i o u s p a t r i a r c h a l v e r s i o n s of the male, with h i s i n s t i n c t i v e a l l e g i a n c e t o the macho code. T h i s code 35 u l t i m a t e l y aims to repress and counteract male f e a r s of c a s t r a t i o n and emasculation, l e a d i n g to s t e r i l i t y , effeminacy, and moral doom. Although they w i e l d r e a l economic and p o l i t i c a l power, these men are more v i c t i m s of the code of machismo than they are v i c t o r s , f o r only Etienne may be s a i d t o gain any degree of s p i r i t u a l transcendence over the laws of the n a t u r a l and Darwinian j u n g l e . E r o t i c i s m forms a backdrop f o r the a c t i o n s of every male who attempts to achieve h e r o i c s t a t u s , s i n c e moral courage and p h y s i c a l p o t e n c y / v i r i l i t y are i n s e p a r a b l e i n Z o l i a n thought. S t e r i l i t y , as metaphor f o r a n t i - s e x u a l i t y and sexual f r u s t r a t i o n , i s nonetheless the punishment f o r many male c h a r a c t e r s , both p r o l e t a r i a n and bourgeois. T h i s i s a l o g i c a l consequence of the p a t r i a r c h a l value system, to which both of the novel's otherwise d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed camps s u b s c r i b e . P a t r i a r c h y and machismo are the most important u n i f y i n g f a c t o r s , s i n c e according to the harsh t r a d i t i o n s of business and m i l i t a r y combat " f o r every winner th e r e must be a l o s e r " ; f o r every dominator there must be someone or something dominated. The most i n t e r e s t i n g aspect of male psychology i n Germinal i s t h a t the number of male " l o s e r s " - - e s p e c i a l l y i n e r o t i c t e r m s — i s much g r e a t e r than the number of male "winners." T h i s anomaly w i l l be examined i n the second chapter of t h i s essay, where we take i n t o account the vengeful presence of women i n the t r a d i t i o n a l l y male-dominated arenas of coalmines and union meetings. S u f f i c e i t to say t h a t an a n a l y s i s of Germinalian male 36 psychology and power must acknowledge the Freudian sexual overtones a s s o c i a t e d with the e x t r a c t i o n of mineral resources from the E a r t h . The r e s p e c t i v e r o l e s of Machine and Nature are remarkably anthropomorphic and gender- o r i e n t e d : the Machine with the p e r p e t u a l t h r u s t i n g and b r e a t h i n g of i t s p h a l l i c and c o r p o r e a l symbols i s l i k e a male animal i n heat, conscious only of the f u l f i l l m e n t of i t s d e s i r e ; the Earth i s f o r the most p a r t a p a s s i v e female f o r c e d to submit t e m p o r a r i l y to the Machine's r e l e n t l e s s l u s t s . Thus, p a t r i a r c h a l c a p i t a l i s t i c i n d u s t r y i s represented by masculine sexual i n s t i n c t s i n mechanical form; the f e r t i l e and pregnant Earth i s on the other hand the t e r r e s t r i a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Gaea, the N a t u r a l Goddess. Yet owing to the v a g a r i e s of gender assignment i n French grammar, both Machine and Earth ("la machine" and " l a t e r r e " ) are nominally feminine. To a c e r t a i n extent, i t i s t r u e t h a t the monstrous machine does have some d e s t r u c t i v e l y v i c i o u s and s t e r e o t y p i c a l feminine t r a i t s , much l i k e the female pra y i n g mantis who devours her mate or the sow who eats her young. I t i s f o r t h i s reason t h a t Jean B o r i e c o n s i d e r s t h a t the mechanical cataclysm at the c o n c l u s i o n of Germinal "renvoie done a u s s i b i e n a l a f i g u r e de l a mere qu'a c e l l e du pere, et f a i t l a synthese immediate et dangereuse des p a r e n t s . " 1 1 Despite t h i s l i m i t e d androgyny of the Machine/Monster, male power i n the end i s overwhelmed and indeed beaten by female revenge and f u r y . Male "winners" are only temporary f i x t u r e s i n the Germinalian 37 landscape; they are only f l e e t i n g l y triumphant v i c t o r s bound by the r e p r e s s i v e r u l e s of the macho e t h i c . 38 CHAPTER TWO EROTIC FACES OF THE FEMALE UNDER PATRIARCHY Le roman est l e soulevement des s a l a r i e s , l e coup d'epaule donne a l a s o c i e t e , qui craque un i n s t a n t : en un mot l a l u t t e du c a p i t a l et du t r a v a i l . C'est l a qu'est 1'importance du l i v r e , je l e veux p r e d i s a n t l ' a v e n i r , posant j.^ q u e s t i o n l a plus importante du vingtieme s i e c l e . Despite t h i s statement by the n o v e l i s t t h a t Germinal i s p r i m a r i l y concerned with an e p i c s t r u g g l e between the f o r c e s of l a b o r and c a p i t a l , the r e b e l l i o n portrayed w i t h i n the novel i s i n f a c t m u l t i f a r i o u s . Although the author does not make any d i r e c t r e f e r e n c e to the concept of a r e b e l l i o n t a k i n g p l a c e w i t h i n a l a r g e r r e v o l u t i o n , an e r o t i c r e a d i n g of the novel i n d i c a t e s t h a t i t s r e v o l u t i o n a r y b i t e does come as much from i t s r a d i c a l p o r t r a y a l of women throwing o f f the shackles of p a t r i a r c h y as i t does from i t s p o r t r a i t u r e of the p r o l e t a r i a t a s s a u l t i n g the b o u r g e o i s i e . Zola i s very c a r e f u l t o pain a d i v e r s i f i e d p i c t u r e of female behavior and c h a r a c t e r , ranging from f i e r y r a d i c a l c r e a t i o n s back to a r c h e t y p a l — e v e n s t e r e o t y p i c a l — r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of women more i n keeping with a t r a d i t i o n a l s e x i s t philosophy assuming p a s s i v e and f a t a l i s t i c female acceptance of male 39 hegemony. To a l a r g e extent, the independence and s e l f - r e l i a n c e with which Zola endows s e v e r a l of h i s major female c h a r a c t e r s are p r o t o f e m i n i s t t r a i t s ; yet Zola at the same time p a r a d o x i c a l l y r e v e a l s h i m s e l f to be a s u b s c r i b e r to myths and s u p e r s t i t i o n s which would seem to be the preserve of more f e r v e n t defenders of p a t r i a r c h a l v a l u e s . But from the l i t e r a r y p e r s p e c t i v e of h i s female c h a r a c t e r s , Zola p l a y s the c r e a t i v e r o l e of r a d i c a l t r a d i t i o n a l i s t as a r e s u l t of h i s g r i p p i n g and t r u e - t o - l i f e d e p i c t i o n s of female e r o t i c i s m and s e n s u a l i t y . The i n t r o d u c t i o n to the t o i l and drudgery which t y p i f y female l i v e s i n Germina1 i s s w i f t : we soon l e a r n that C a t h e r i n e Maheu i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the morning chores i n the Maheu house and must a l s o awaken her s l e e p i n g f a m i l y i n p r e p a r a t i o n f o r a day of exhausting l a b o r i n the mines. I t should be noted t h a t French law throughout most of the ninet e e n t h century d i d indeed allow f o r the use of female la b o r i n heavy i n d u s t r y ; the r e s u l t a n t p i c t u r e of female e x p l o i t a t i o n i n Zola's novel i s q u i t e a c c u r a t e . Moreover, not once do we see male c h a r a c t e r s t a k i n g p a r t i n household l a b o r , although we do see females expend energy underground to the p o i n t of t o t a l exhaustion. Any i n d u s t r i a l l a b o r i s i n a d d i t i o n to the a l r e a d y s u b s t a n t i a l cooking and c l e a n i n g d u t i e s w a i t i n g t o be performed at home. Th i s s e x i s t and d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e d i v i s i o n of la b o r i s even r e i n f o r c e d by Etienne once he becomes the Maheus' lo d g e r : h i s p o l i t i c a l ascendancy i s f a c i l i t a t e d by the f a c t t h a t "son l i n g e e t a i t 4 0 l a v e , raccommode, ses boutons recousus, ses a f f a i r e s mises en ordre; e n f i n , i l s e n t a i t autour de l u i l a proprete et le s bons soins d'une femme" (177). T h i s i s a c l a s s i c example of male power a c q u i s i t i o n through female subservience and at female expense. The s e x i s t counter- argument to t h i s i n e q u i t a b l e s t a t e of a f f a i r s would be that i t i s the men who perform the t r u l y heavy t a s k s , while the women are occupied by more menial and cosmetic jobs such as the s o r t i n g and c l e a n i n g of the c o a l . One has only t o read the account of Catherine's own heavy t o i l t o r e a l i z e t h a t the pain women must s t o i c a l l y endure i s even more e x c r u c i a t i n g than t h a t of the menfolk. It i s owing to an endless s u c c e s s i o n of long hours, back-breaking work, and an unbalanced d i e t t h a t the onset of Catherine's menstrual c y c l e i s delayed. Environmental f a c t o r s a s s o c i a t e d with i n d u s t r i a l i s m f a l l j u s t short of wreaking havoc with n a t u r a l female f e c u n d i t y , a s i t u a t i o n t h a t i n the Germinalian landscape i s akin to u n n a t u r a l l y enforced s t e r i l i t y . I t should be kept i n mind that s t e r i l i t y / a n t i c r e a t i v i t y i s the most s e r i o u s human "crime" i n Zola's n a t u r a l i s t i c world. A c c o r d i n g l y , we may d i v i d e the novel's womenfolk i n t o two broad c a t e g o r i e s , those 'who are o v e r t l y sensual and/or f e r t i l e , and those who are n o n f e r t i l e and m e t a p h o r i c a l l y s t e r i l e . C atherine Maheu i s p o s i t i o n e d i n a gray area between these two camps, i n much the same way as her main love i n t e r e s t , Etienne L a n t i e r , i s i n c o n f l i c t with h i s p r i m i t i v e macho h e r e d i t y and h i s 41 p o t e n t i a l messianic t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s m . The author uses t h i s gray area as a source of dramatic t e n s i o n f o r both h i s male and female p r o t a g o n i s t s . In C a t h e r i n e ' s case, the p h y s i c a l onset of puberty i s delayed i n p a r t because she works too hard i n inhumane c o n d i t i o n s . In the Z o l i a n u n i v e r s e , t h i s goes a g a i n s t the c y c l e of Nature and i s thus m e t a p h o r i c a l l y " c r i m i n a l " or " u n n a t u r a l " . P a t h e t i c a l l y , Catherine i s tormented by the thought of having to take up p r o s t i t u t i o n i n order to s u r v i v e should she ever l o s e her job i n the mines at Montsou. As a r e s u l t , she doggedly endures the harshest of c o n d i t i o n s with even the s t r o n g e s t of the male c h a r a c t e r s , going so f a r as to shock Etienne on h i s f i r s t day i n the mine when h i s c a r t d e r a i l s : "D'une pesee des r e i n s , e l l e la [la b e r l i n e j s o u l e v a i t et l a r e p l a c a i t . Le poids e t a i t de sept cents kilogrammes. L u i , s u r p r i s , honteux, begayait des excuses" (65). One has the impression t h a t C a t h e r i n e ' s heavy workload i s r e s p o n s i b l e not only f o r her delayed menses but a l s o f o r her p h y s i c a l androgyny. Of course, t h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c b l u r r i n g of gender i s i n p a r t a t t r i b u t a b l e t o the male work c l o t h e s t h a t Catherine must don to work i n the depths of the mine, but i t a l s o seems reasonable to surmise t h a t Zola's aim was t o i n c r e a s e the dramatic t e n s i o n r e s u l t i n g from Etienne's i n i t i a l m i s t aking Catherine f o r a boy. (We f u r t h e r study the i m p l i c a t i o n s of C a t h e r i ne Maheu's androgyny i n Chapter Three.) With Catherine Maheu we are once again i n f u l l Z o l i a n 42 paradox: d e s p i t e her above-mentioned Herculean h e r o i c s , she i s a l s o the most p a s s i v e and f a t a l i s t i c female c h a r a c t e r i n the novel, "prete a s u b i r l e s choses et l e s hommes" (70). Abused by a v i o l e n t l y p o s s e s s i v e b o y f r i e n d , Antoine Chaval, she comes to expect to be beaten on a r e g u l a r b a s i s : "Peut- e t r e q u ' i l a v a i t r a i s o n , on n'en r e n c o n t r a i t guere, des femmes heureuses" (311). She even goes as f a r as to stubbornly defend her "man" from the i n v e c t i v e of o t h e r s : "Chaval n ' e t a i t guere g e n t i l , bien sur; meme i l l a b a t t a i t , des f o i s . Mais c ' e t a i t son homme, c e l u i qui 1'avait eue l e premier" ( 329 ). T h i s s o r t of i l l o g i c a l " l o g i c " i s to be expected from someone who has been s y s t e m a t i c a l l y v i c t i m i z e d over the years. Moreover, the honor she seems to be defending i s nothing l e s s than spurious s i n c e i t i s based on the s e x i s t n o t i o n t h a t to be the f i r s t to deflower a v i r g i n i s a s i g n of the utmost v i r i l i t y . C a t h e r i n e at t h i s p o i n t seems u n w i l l i n g to c a s t o f f the chains of her own o p p r e s s i o n , perhaps because she sees no a l t e r n a t i v e to her hardened l i f e i n the mining community. Indeed, while i t i s p o s s i b l e to suggest t h a t the miners o v e r a l l are s l a v e s with nowhere to run or hide, i t would be more accurate and i l l u m i n a t i n g t o c o n s i d e r the r e l a t i v e degrees of freedom enjoyed by males and females r e s p e c t i v e l y . I t would be most d i f f i c u l t to imagine Catherine or any of the other female c h a r a c t e r s s e t t i n g o f f across the c o u n t r y s i d e i n search of a l t e r n a t i v e work during a p e r i o d of mass unemployment and i n d u s t r i a l d e c l i n e , although t h i s i s what Etienne i s doing 43 at the outset of the n o v e l . But i t would be easy to imagine a young woman such as Catherine being f o r c e d i n t o p r o s t i t u t i o n j u s t to s u r v i v e i f she were to walk out on an abusive partner and leave Montsou. Women are l e s s f r e e and l e s s mobile i n the Germinalian u n i v e r s e simply because they are bound by the s e x i s t code of p a t r i a r c h y . The s u f f e r i n g of C atherine i s ample proof t h e r e o f : "II l a b a t t r a i t , et quand i l s e r a i t l a s de l a b a t t r e , i l s ' a r r e t e r a i t : ne v a l a i t - i l pas mieux ca, que de r o u l e r l e s chemins comme une gueuse?" ( 4 0 2 ) . When the freedom to seek n o n v i o l e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s i s equated with being a beggarwoman or a r a s c a l l y t r o l l o p , who indeed would not p r e f e r to s u f f e r the s t a t u s quo? I t i s presumably f o r t h i s reason t h a t F r a n c i s Heck concludes that " i n Germinal, the deportment of the women might be summed up i n the word s u b m i s s i v e n e s s . " ^ The key i n the novel f o r women's s u c c e s s f u l overcoming of t h e i r own i n g r a i n e d r e s i g n a t i o n and f a t a l i s m l i e s i n the r e l e a s e of suppressed rage, and age-old anger which normally f i n d s only l i m i t e d e x p r e s s i o n i n t h e i r n o t o r i o u s and s e x u a l l y charged g o s s i p s e s s i o n s . T h i s f u r y i s manifested i n v a r i o u s ways, depending on which c h a r a c t e r i s i n v o l v e d : Catherine i s most l i k e l y t o become worried and moody; La Mouquette would probably bare her ample buttocks; Constance Maheu might box her c h i l d r e n ' s ear; and La B r u l e would continue her v o c i f e r o u s t h r e a t s of revenge a g a i n s t the Company. I t i s only when these women can manifest t h e i r rage and p r o t e s t together that t h e i r i n t e r n a l i z e d 44 f r u s t r a t i o n s and s e l f - h a t r e d can be e f f e c t i v e l y r e l e a s e d and a t t e n u a t e d . I t i s through feminine s o l i d a r i t y t h a t progress i s made on t h i s s c o r e . L i v i n g as they do i n a male-dominated and v i o l e n t world, these women i n the end respond i n the only way they know how and i n the only way that a u t h o r i t a r i a n males w i l l r e c o g n i z e : the women's u l t i m a t e weapon i s e r o t i c a l l y - b a s e d v i o l e n c e that p l a y s upon men's darkest f e a r s . For a l l of Zola's i n s i s t e n c y on the f e r t i l e and c r e a t i v e s i d e of female power, i t i s h i s p o r t r a y a l of women on the warpath which u l t i m a t e l y p r e v a i l s . Women lead the miners' rampage across the b e e t f i e l d s , a t t a c k C e c i l e Gregoire, abduct and s t r i p a female miner who i s i n d e f i a n c e of the g e n e r a l s t r i k e order at the Crevecoeur mine, c a s t r a t e Maigrat the lecherous shopkeeper, and h u r l b r i c k s at the s o l d i e r s guarding the entrance to Le Voreux. By the time the miners' rage reaches i t s peak, even meek l i t t l e C a t h e r i n e i s c a r r i e d away by the f r e n z y of the mob: E l l e n ' a u r a i t pu d i r e pourguoi, e l l e s u f f o q u a i t , e l l e c r e v a i t d'une envie de massacrer l e monde. Est-ce que ga n ' a l l a i t pas e t r e b i e n t o t f i n i , c e t t e sacree e x i s t e n c e de malheur? E l l e en a v a i t assez, d ' e t r e g i f l e e e t chassee par son homme, de patauger a i n s i qu'un chien perdu dans l a boue des cherains. . . . (419) T h i s i s a dramatic example of emotional c a t h a r s i s through v i o l e n c e , an example of the r e l e a s e c f pent-up negative energy i n much the same way t h a t Nature i n Germinal manipulates the four b a s i c e l e m e n t s — e a r t h , a i r , f i r e , and w a t e r - - i n order to achieve t e r r e s t r i a l c a t h a r s i s through the 45 r e l e a s e of the c a t a c l y s m i c power of Nature's revenge. For j u s t as women are s i l e n c e d and e x p l o i t e d by men i n the nove l , so too are Gaea and the Earth s y s t e m a t i c a l l y abused by the r e l e n t l e s s e x p l o i t a t i o n of mineral r e s o u r c e s . S i m i l a r l y , the women of Germinal e v e n t u a l l y reach t h e i r own breaking p o i n t and the Goddess of the Earth a l s o exacts her own f u r i o u s revenge: " C ' e t a i t l a t e r r e q ui se vengeait, qui l a c h a i t a i n s i l e sang de l a vein e , parce qu'on l u i a v a i t tranche une a r t e r e " (474). T h i s n a t u r a l b o i l i n g p o i n t i s the p o i n t past which normal healthy d e s i r e becomes c o r r u p t and perverse l u s t . In economic terms, when the long-term environmental consequences of i n d u s t r i a l growth are ignored, the Earth s t r i k e s back as i f to support those workers who help achieve t h i s growth without being able to share i n the r e s u l t i n g p r o f i t s and who are forbidden from a s s e r t i n g themselves. In e r o t i c terms, i t i s the p o i n t past which l o v i n g and p r o c r e a t i v e sexual a c t i v i t y i s supplanted by a d u l t e r y and other sundry d e v i a t i o n s from Zola's e r o t i c i d e a l . Since Maigrat exchanges food and c r e d i t to desperate women i n r e t u r n f o r sexual f a v o r s , i t i s t h e m a t i c a l l y f i t t i n g t h a t t h i s s e x u a l l y c o r r u p t c h a r a c t e r should d i e as a r e s u l t of f a l l i n g from the roof of h i s s t o r e , thereupon to be c a s t r a t e d at the hands of La B r u l e , the most w i t c h - l i k e c h a r a c t e r , who i s aided and abetted by La Mouquette and La Levaque. I t i s indeed a f i t t i n g f a l l from c a p i t a l i s t i c grace s i n c e La Br u l e comes c l o s e s t t o i n c a r n a t i n g the 46 m y s t e r i o u s l y d e s t r u c t i v e and vengeful aspects of Gaea: in a d d i t i o n , La Levaque and La Mouquette are both young and s e x u a l l y a c t i v e and as such are l i k e l y t a r g e t s f o r Maigrat's concupiscence. At the moment of Maigrat's death and m u t i l a t i o n , Zola chooses female bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s to be the mouthpieces f o r what we presume to be the n o v e l i s t ' s own personal a t t i t u d e towards male sexual c o r r u p t i o n and excess: "Qu-ont e l l e s done au bout de ce baton?" demanda C e c i l e , qui s ' e t a i t enhardie jusqu'a r e g a r d e r . L u c i e et Jeanne d e c l a r e r e n t que ce d e v a i t e t r e une peau de l a p i n . "Non, non," murmura Mme Hennebeau, " i l s auront p i l l e l a c h a r c u t e r i e , on d i r a i t un d e b r i s de pore." (363) T h i s passage i s e s p e c i a l l y t e l l i n g s i n c e i t equates Maigrat's m u t i l a t e d penis both with a r a b b i t s k i n - - t h e frequency and nature of Maigrat's sexual b l a c k m a i l i s s u f f i c i e n t l y promiscuous to warrant the r a b b i t comparison- and with a scrap of pork: Maigrat i s a sexual p i g of the worst order. Once again the bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s are s y m b o l i c a l l y unable to p e r c e i v e r e a l i t y p r o p e r l y : t h e i r b l i n d n e s s i s both p h y s i c a l and moral. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t a l l these i n s t a n c e s of female v i o l e n c e are s u f f u s e d with o v e r t sexual energy. Women too must deal with a l i m b i c system t h a t i r r e v o c a b l y l i n k s sex, food, f e a r , and v i o l e n c e , even i n the age of s e m i - s o p h i s t i c a t e d c i v i l i z a t i o n . T h i s c o n t i n u a l l i m b i c equation i s f u r t h e r evidenced by Zola's d e s c r i p t i o n s of female sexual response: during Lydie and J e a n l i n ' s prepubescent fumblings, Lydie "se l a i s s a i t prendre avec l e 47 tremblement d e l i c i e u x de 1 ' i n s t i n c t " (141). In the scene where Chaval v i r t u a l l y rapes C a t h e r i n e , " £l] a peur du male l ' a f f o l a i t , c e t t e peur qui r a i d i t l e s muscles dans un i n s t i n c t de defense, meme lors q u e l e s f i l l e s v eulent b i e n , et q u ' e l l e s sentent 1'approche conquerante de 1'homme" (146). I t i s not at a l l s u r p r i s i n g t h a t the rampaging womenfolk are s e x u a l l y obsessed as they p i l l a g e t h e i r way across the northern French c o u n t r y s i d e . When C e c i l e Gregoire i s accosted as she a r r i v e s at La P i o l a i n e , La Brule and La Levaque are i n t e n t on t e a r i n g o f f her bourgeois- and v i r g i n a l - - f i n e r y : "On va t ' en mettre au c u l , de l a d e n t e l l e ! . . . Foutez-moi-la done toute nue, pour l u i apprendre a v i v r e ! " (356). T h i s i s another example of a t h i n l y v e i l e d d r a m a t i z a t i o n of aborted homosexual rape, although i n t h i s i n s t a n c e i t i s rape from a pu r e l y female p e r s p e c t i v e . At the Crevecoeur mine a s i m i l a r scene takes p l a c e when a female mineworker i s set upon, whipped, and s t r i p p e d while the men look upon her bare buttocks with l a u g h t e r and d e r i s i o n . F i n a l l y , one must c o n s i d e r the symbolic v i o l e n c e and contempt inh e r e n t i n La Mouquette's t r i p l e d i s p l a y of anal e x h i b i t i o n i s m , "ce q u i e t a i t chez e l l e 1'extreme expression du dedain" (84). In the f i r s t i n s t a n c e , La Mouquette "moons" a group of young boys who are t e l l i n g jokes of a sexual nature about her; however, the atmosphere here i s one of l e v i t y . On the second o c c a s i o n , she exposes h e r s e l f at La P i o l a i n e i n a moment of a n t i b o u r g e o i s f u r y : "II 48 n ' a v a i t r i e n d'obscene, ce d e r r i e r e , et ne f a i s a i t pas r i r e , farouche" (346). In the f i n a l i n s t a n c e , La Mouquette f l a s h e s the Emperor's own s o l d i e r s , an act which p r e c i p i t a t e s a wholesale rush upon the troops and the t a k i n g of p r i s o n e r s . C l e a r l y , each "mooning" takes p l a c e a g a i n s t a backdrop of e v e r - i n c r e a s i n g v i o l e n c e : the stakes get higher as La Mouquette becomes more and more audacious. As f a r as the f o r c e s of law and order are concerned, La Mouquette's v u l g a r i t y r e p r e s e n t s female sexual power turned a g a i n s t the male oppressor and as such must be punished with the f u l l f o r c e of the p a t r i a r c h y . In a d d i t i o n , her shamelessness i s a l s o a c h a l l e n g e to the g u i l t - r i d d e n bourgeois e r o t i c code. It i s f o r t h i s reason that Richard Zakarian r e f e r s to La Mouquette as being "the a b s t r a c t symbol of L i c e n t i o u s n e s s 14 without moral g u i l t " and t h a t Sandy Petrey concludes that La Mouquette's behavior r e p r e s e n t s a " t o t a l r e j e c t i o n of bourgeois modesty and s i g n a l s the approach of t o t a l a n n i h i l a t i o n of the bourgeois world.""^ A c c o r d i n g l y , La Mouquette l i e s dead i n the end, "deux b a l l e s dans l e v e n t r e " (421), s y m b o l i c a l l y shot i n her enormous b e l l y t h a t never d i d serve as a womb. As f o r the r e s i d e n t s of La P i o l a i n e , an e x h i b i t i o n of p r o l e t a r i a n rump would only serve to strengthen t h e i r b e l i e f i n the b a s i c d e p r a v i t y of the c o a l m i n e r s . Amongst her own k i n d , however, La Mouquette's a n t i c s are seen as the r e f l e c t i o n of her exuberant p h y s i c a l d e s i r e s and of her l a r g e r - t h a n - l i f e p h y s i c a l a t t r i b u t e s . L a r g e r - t h a n - l i f e a t t r i b u t e s are most pronounced i n the 49 case of La Mouquette, but they are by no means r e s t r i c t e d to her. The widow D e s i r and Constance Maheu are a l s o portrayed as s t e a t o p y g i c , t h a t i s as having e x c e s s i v e f a t n e s s of the buttocks and by extension of the b r e a s t s as w e l l . Zola d e l i b e r a t e l y draws two of the most important female p r o t a g o n i s t s i n Germinal i n an almost c a r t o o n - l i k e and Rubenesque f a s h i o n , a s t y l e a l s o r e m i n i s c e n t of those p r i m i t i v e cave p a i n t i n g s which d e p i c t f e r t i l i t y r i t e s i n v o l v i n g people endowed with impossibly l a r g e sexual organs. T h i s i s the archetype of the Great Mother i n p o t e n t i a , p e r p e t u a l l y f e r t i l e and, to t h i s end, s e x u a l l y a l l u r i n g . During La Mouquette 1s i n i t i a l d e s c r i p t i o n , Zola p o i n t s out that " l a gorge et l e d e r r i e r e enormes c r e v a i e n t l a veste et l a c u l o t t e " ( 5 3 ) , and t h a t "toute l a mine y p a s s a i t " ( 5 3 ) , perhaps r e f e r r i n g not only to her shack l o c a t e d amid the r u i n s of the unused R e q u i l l a r t mine- one of the c e n t e r s f o r the miners' outdoor amorous a c t i v i t i e s - - b u t a l s o to La Mouquette h e r s e l f . Zola i s a l s o c a r e f u l to use a r e v e a l i n g t u r n of phrase to d e s c r i b e La Mouquette's promiscuous erotomania: "au m i l i e u des b l e s en e t e , contre un mur en h i v e r , e l l e se donnait du p l a i s i r , en compagnie de son amoureux de l a semaine" ( 5 3 ) . La Mouquette' s d e s i r e i s shown to be i n p a r a l l e l with the n a t u r a l c y c l e of the seasons. Her s e n s u a l i t y i s b o u n t i f u l and m u n i f i c e n t , c l o s e to the Earth and f r e e from shame. As such, her d e s i r e i s a simple yet humane extension of the p o w e r f u l l y c r e a t i v e feminine f o r c e s at work w i t h i n the Earth 50 i t s e l f : "toute une v i e germait, j a i l l i s s a i t de c e t t e t e r r e " (154). Here we have Zola's f i r s t use of the verb "germer" (to sprout, produce shoots, germinate) i n the no v e l , an apt d e s c r i p t i o n of Etienne's f i r s t s p ringtime i n the coalmining r e g i o n , the springtime of h i s p o l i t i c a l and sexual development. According t o Maarten Van Buuren, "Zola prend s o i n de separer l a r e p r o d u c t i o n humaine, v a l o r i s e e p ositivement comme phenomene v e g e t a l , de l ' a c t e sexuel q u ' i l a s s o c i e au phenomene n e g a t i f du r u t a n i m a l . T h i s animal/vegetable s p l i t i s a fundamental element of Zola's e r o t i c i d e a l throughout Germinal. Another s t r i k i n g aspect of Zola's moral and e r o t i c ethos i s h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of La Mouquette's promiscuous nature: i t i s as i f , when having sex, La Mouquette enters i n t o a more profound l e v e l of communication with the Earth below and with Nature around her than she does with her f a c e l e s s and int e r c h a n g e a b l e male p a r t n e r s . To h i s c r e d i t , Zola attempts a p o r t r a y a l of v i r t u a l l y s e l f - c o n t a i n e d female p l e a s u r e ; i t i s now the male who i s u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y subordinate t o a n a t u r a l and very female process, having become an almost p e r f u n c t o r y accessory t o the joy of sex. La Mouquette, although the frequent focus f o r a great deal of the miners' sexual banter, remains f r e e from any as p e r s i o n s of sexual immorality such as p r o s t i t u t i o n . Somewhat i r o n i c a l l y , i t i s the v i r g i n a l Catherine who i s pursued by her g u i l t - r i d d e n v i s i o n s of wenches and s q u a l i d whorehouses, whereas a g u i l t - f r e e La Mouquette i s able to 51 l i v e and love with r e l a t i v e impunity. Zola a l s o b r i n g s the notions of s t e a t o p y g i a and u n i n h i b i t e d female s e x u a l i t y i n t o play i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of the widow D e s i r , whose very name i n d i c a t e s her a t t i t u d e towards the e r o t i c pleasures t o be t a s t e d i n l i f e : she i s "une f o r t e mere de cinquante ans, d'une r o t o n d i t e de tonneau, mais d'une t e l l e v e r d e u r q u ' e l l e a v a i t encore s i x amoureux, un pour chaque jour de l a semaine, d i s a i t - e l l e , et l e s s i x a l a f o i s l e dimanche" (170). Once again, Etienne r e a c t s with amusement to such an imposing and suggestive s i g h t : [f] 1 ne put s'empecher de s o u r i r e en l a regardant, t e l l e m e n t e l l e l u i parut vaste, avec une p a i r e de se i n s dont un s e u l r e c l a m a i t un homme pour e t r e embrasse; ce qui f a i s a i t d i r e que, maintenant, sur l e s dix g a l a n t s de l a semaine, e l l e en p r e n a i t deux chaque s o i r , a cause de l a besogne. (243) The r e f e r e n c e to sex as work may be discounted as miners' humor; what i s r e l e v a n t to the present d i s c u s s i o n i s the idea of sex as r e l i g i o n - - " s i x a l a f o i s l e dimanche." La Mouquette and the widow D e s i r are the p r a c t i t i o n e r s of a new found "art"--new found, t h a t i s , to the m i d d l e - c l a s s r e a d e r s h i p of Zola's Rougon-Macquart s e r i e s , p r e v i o u s l y unaccustomed t o v i v i d and t o r r i d d e s c r i p t i o n s of p r o l e t a r i a n d e s i r e . These two female c h a r a c t e r s are l i k e p r i e s t e s s e s at the high temple of e r o t i c i s m . They are t h e • i n c a r n a t i o n s of the Great Feminine Roundness—women's p h y s i o l o g i c a l o t h e r n e s s — w h e t h e r they are d e s c r i b e d as b a r r e l s ("tonneaux") or as "une v e s s i e de saindoux" (171), a tub of 52 l a r d . In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , La Mouquette and the widow De s i r are more at ease with t h e i r own s e n s u a l i t y than any of the other c h a r a c t e r s i n the n o v e l : they are i n harmony both with t h e i r n a t u r a l environment and with the sexual values of t h e i r s o c i a l c l a s s . T h i s female d e s i r e i s based on the no t i o n of i n s t i n c t s being f r e e l y i n d u l g e d , and t h i s i s what d i f f e r e n t i a t e s them from t h e i r f r u s t r a t e d , s t e r i l e , or perverse bourgeois c o u n t e r p a r t s . But d e s i r e i s a l s o what l i n k s these two s o c i a l c l a s s e s f o r i t i s only the r e g u l a t i o n and c o n t r o l of d e s i r e that i s cla s s - d e t e r m i n e d . Whereas sex i s the only inexpensive p l e a s u r e a v a i l a b l e t o the miners, the bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s ' sexual d r i v e i s l a r g e l y supplanted by o s t e n t a t i o u s consumerism and m a t e r i a l i s m . Bourgeois d e s i r e i s manifested by the g i v i n g of l a v i s h dinner p a r t i e s or the a c q u i s i t i o n of stocks and bonds. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , we f i n d the root word d e s i r / d e s i r e not only w i t h i n the name of the widow D e s i r , but a l s o i n the name of De s i r e e , one of Philomene and Zacharie's c h i l d r e n , as w e l l as i n the name of the s e c t i o n of the Jean-Bart mine bo r d e r i n g on the T a r t a r e t r e g i o n , " l a veine D e s i r e e " , the d e s i r e d v e i n of mineral d e p o s i t s . T h i s l a t t e r d e s i r e i s a pu r e l y i n d u s t r i a l c r e a t i o n , a focus of i n t e n s e e x p l o i t a t i o n exceeding even simple greed. Note the r e a c t i o n of the miners t o the s w e l t e r i n g heat which c h a r a c t e r i z e s working c o n d i t i o n s near Le T a r t a r e t : " L o r s q u ' i l s p a r l a i e n t de c e t t e r e g i o n de l a f o s s e , l e s mineurs du pays p a l i s s a i e n t et 53 b a i s s a i e n t l a v o i x , comme s ' i l s a v a i e n t p a r l e de l ' e n f e r " ( 305 ). Indeed, i t i s only a small semantic jump from " l a veine Desiree" to the aforementioned " a r t e r e t r a n c h e e / s l a s h e d a r t e r y " t h a t e v e n t u a l l y t r i g g e r s the vengeful and h e l l i s h wrath of Gaea. U l t i m a t e l y , Nature r e t a l i a t e s a g a i n s t the p a r a s i t i c presence of a vampire feed i n g upon her blood, the a n t i f e r t i l e (although nominally "productive") f o r c e of u n r e s t r a i n e d c a p i t a l : "Le t r a v a i l demanderait des comptes au c a p i t a l , a ce dieu impersonnel qui s u c a i t l a v i e des meurt-la-f aim qui l e n o u r r i s s a i e n t ! " (290). The dichotomy i s c l e a r : i n Germinal, female sexual power i s i n league and i n harmony with the f o r c e s of the pla n e t i t s e l f . Masculine c a p i t a l i s t i c power, although v i r i l e and potent, n e v e r t h e l e s s o f t e n runs counter to these same female f o r c e s , r e s u l t i n g i n cala m i t y and bloodshed. To complement the n o t i o n of Mother Eart h , Constance Maheu plays the s t r u c t u r a l and a r c h e t y p a l r o l e of Great P r o l e t a r i a n Mother. To r e i n f o r c e t h i s p a r a l l e l , Zola accentuates her ample bosom, thereby b r i n g i n g out the predominant m o t i f s of f e r t i l i t y and nourishment t h a t c h a r a c t e r i z e most of the mothers i n the mining community. The word " s e i n " has the meanings of both "breast" and "womb" i n French; s i m i l a r l y , the word "ventre" may i n d i c a t e both "stomach" and "womb". We p o i n t out these euphemistic d u a l i t i e s to shed some l i g h t on the Z o l i a n sensual equation of e r o t i c i s m and food. C l e a r l y , hunger f o r food w i t h i n a s t a r v i n g p o p u l a t i o n takes on profoundly v i t a l and e r o t i c 54 overtones. Zola's women are sources not only of the sexual p l e a s u r e provided by p h y s i c a l intimacy but a l s o of the very food of l i f e i t s e l f . Although i t seems s e l f - e v i d e n t , Zola emphasizes the equation to such great e f f e c t t h a t the d i v i d i n g l i n e between the concepts of sexual and alimentary p l e a s u r e o f t e n becomes b l u r r e d . T h i s i s how Constance Maheu can possess such admirable q u a l i t i e s as sexual f i d e l i t y , p ersonal i n t e g r i t y , and a l o n g i n g f o r s o c i a l j u s t i c e : As Great P r o l e t a r i a n Mother, she i s kept occupied by the demands of m a i n t a i n i n g a household f o r an extended f a m i l y of ten people. Chief among her m u l t i p l e d u t i e s i s t h a t of b r e a s t - f e e d i n g E s t e l l e , her youngest c h i l d ; indeed, Zola i s r e l e n t l e s s i n h i s constant r e f e r e n c e s to the a r t of g i v i n g suck. In grand Z o l i a n dramatic f a s h i o n , however, oxymorons abound, even when the i s s u e i s motherhood. In one i n s t a n c e , a s l e e p i n g E s t e l l e , gorged with milk and p u r r i n g c o n t e n t e d l y , comes very c l o s e to being crushed by the not i n s u b s t a n t i a l weight of her own mother's b r e a s t , only to be saved i n the nick of time by the presence of mind of her o l d e r s i s t e r , the s a i n t - l i k e A l z i r e : "Et e l l e sauva 1'enfant, a demi e t o u f f e e sous l a coulee enorme des s e i n s " (105). Zola's use of the word "coulee" i s h i g h l y p o e t i c i n t h i s context: The author seems to be implying t h a t the i n f a n t i s threatened as much by an e x c e s s i v e flow of milk as i t i s by the weight of La Maheude's bosom. I t i s indeed i r o n i c t h a t the hand that rocks the baby should a l s o very n e a r l y b r i n g about i t s 5 5 s t r a n g u l a t i o n . The use of oxymoron i s a trademark used to great e f f e c t by Zola throughout Germinal; danger may thus l u r k behind even the most comforting of a c t s , w i t h i n the most revered symbol, w i t h i n the most d o c i l e of sacred cows. Death and l i f e are two s i d e s t o the same c o i n : Eros has un i t e d with Thanatos and the brea s t of l i f e has become a weapon of death and d e s t r u c t i o n . Havelock E l l i s c o n s i d e r s t h a t t h i s Z o l i a n obsession with nudity and b r e a s t - f e e d i n g i s i l l - c o n s i d e r e d : "On the one hand Zola over-emphasises what i s r e p u l s i v e i n the n u t r i t i v e s i d e of l i f e , and on the other hand, with the t i m i d obsession of c h a s t i t y , he over-emphasises the nakedness of f l e s h . In so doing, he has re v e a l e d a c e r t a i n 17 f l a b b i n e s s i n h i s a r t . . . . " I t i s true that f e e d i n g i s of t e n reduced, at l e a s t i n p l e b e i a n c i r c l e s i n the no v e l , to i t s most fundamental and f e r a l l e v e l . A c c o r d i n g l y , Zola at times r e s o r t s t o horse imagery and s i m i l e to d e s c r i b e mothers with s u c k l i n g c h i l d r e n : Without i n h i b i t i o n s , women at the Bon-Joyeux dance h a l l " s o r t a i e n t des mamelles longues et blondes comme des sacs d'avoine" (173); women's b r e a s t s have become the bags of oats upon which f o a l s f eed. T h i s equine motif i s a l s o used t o d e s c r i b e La Mouquette, who s t e a l s away from her work i n the mine as a c a r t g i r l t o catch up on her s l e e p next t o the horses' troughs, "avec l e s betes, dans l a l i t i e r e chaude" (79). In a s i m i l a r l i g h t , Zola a l s o r e f e r s t o La Maheude's "mamelle de bonne bete n o u r r i c i e r e " (127) and to "son corps de bonne bete t r o p 56 feconde" (498). La Maheude may be a beast, but she i s at l e a s t a good beast. If she i s a mare, then she i s the a r c h e t y p i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t Great Mare caught up to such an extent i n her r o l e of f r u i t i f e r o u s mother, n o u r i s h e r , and p r o t e c t r e s s t h a t she i s unable to r e a l i z e t h a t p a r a d o x i c a l l y i t i s her own h y p e r f e r t i l i t y t h a t i s slowly k i l l i n g her and her f a m i l y . While she i s of the o p i n i o n t h a t an i n c r e a s e i n the number of mouths to feed i s e v e n t u a l l y counterbalanced by the i n c r e a s e i n t o t a l household income i n the long run, that i s , when the c h i l d r e n are o l d enough to be put to work f o r the mining i n d u s t r y as w e l l , t h i s philosophy of long- range hope i s of no p r a c t i c a l use to the Maheu f a m i l y i n the here and now of a p r o t r a c t e d s t r i k e t h a t causes so much s u f f e r i n g as a r e s u l t of s t a r v a t i o n . In the jungle of Z o l i a n n a t u r a l i s m , h y p e r f e r t i l i t y may indeed lead to o v e r p o p u l a t i o n with a l l the c a t a s t r o p h i c consequences that t h i s phenomenon e n t a i l s . Once again, "un s e i n . . . tombant jusqu'au ve n t r e " (235-36) i s more than j u s t a parody of f e r t i l i t y symbols. I t i s a l s o symbolic of female c o r p o r e a l f o r c e s pushed to extremes by the extreme p r a c t i c a l i t i e s of p a t r i a r c h a l c a p i t a l i s m . Thus i t i s the b i t t e r r e a l i t y of mass oppression and poverty t h a t provokes the novel's working-class women to vengeance, as i l l u s t r a t e d i n the scene where s t a r v i n g c h i l d r e n are transformed i n t o f l a g s of war i n t h e i r mothers' arms: "Les femmes av a i e n t paru, pres d'un m i l l i e r de femmes, aux cheveux epars, depeignes par l a course, aux 57 g u e n i l l e s montrant l a peau nue, des nudites de feme l l e s l a s s e s d'enfanter des meurt-de-faim. Quelques-unes t e n a i e n t l e u r p e t i t entre l e s bras, l e s o u l e v a i e n t , l ' a g i t a i e n t , a i n s i qu'un drapeau de d e u i l et de vengeance" (344). I t i s t h i s thought and s i g h t of the semi-naked and desperate female with c h i l d t h a t would have been the g r e a t e s t shock, not only t o the bourgeois r e s i d e n t s of La P i o l a i n e but, i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d , t o Zola's readers as w e l l . Although nudity w i t h i n the novel c l e a r l y has s e v e r a l d i m e n s i o n s — a bare chest may symbolize male s t r e n g t h , bare buttocks might express contempt, an exposed bre a s t may i n d i c a t e i n d i f f e r e n c e to a r t i f i c i a l bourgeois d e c o r u m — i t s primary r o l e i s the d e p i c t i o n of female v u l n e r a b i l i t y and s u f f e r i n g . In terms of s o c i a l c l a s s , t h i s v u l n e r a b i l i t y i s u n i v e r s a l : Even bourgeois women are s u s c e p t i b l e , as f o r i n s t a n c e when La Brule threatens C e c i l e Gregoire's p r o t e c t i v e bourgeois trimmings. However, s i n c e i t i s the women of the mining community who s u f f e r d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y at the hands of men, they are a l s o the ones who must almost e x c l u s i v e l y endure the agony of n u d i t y . For example, as the miners work the Des i r e e s e c t i o n of the Jean-Bart mine, Catherine i s f o r c e d t o move c l o s e r and c l o s e r to the T a r t a r e t r e g i o n where an in t e n s e subterranean f i r e burns i n c e s s a n t l y . As Catherine i s s l o w l y s t r a n g l e d by the noxious fumes, her t o r t u r e i s a l s o exacerbated by a 45° C e l s i u s heat which o b l i g e s her to take o f f her work c l o t h e s l a y e r by l a y e r , l e a v i n g her to become the butt of her male co-workers' t a u n t s . T h i s i s 58 Zola's v i v i d d e p i c t i o n of a h e l l reserved f o r women alone: i t i s the metaphorical h e l l of p h y s i c a l abuse, mental c r u e l t y , and un r e m i t t i n g poverty. These o b j e c t i o n a b l e c o n d i t i o n s , although endured by the menfolk of the mining community as w e l l , are i n f a c t the d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l o t of the female c h a r a c t e r s i n Germinal. Working-class women are v i c t i m s w i t h i n an alre a d y v i c t i m i z e d group f o r they are the s u f f e r e r s of p a t r i a r c h a l double jeopardy. Henri M i t t e r a n d seems to concur with us on t h i s p o i n t when he maintains t h a t " l a p l u s courbee de toutes e st l a femme, sur l a q u e l l e pese une a u t o r i t e supplementaire, c e l l e de l'homme, q u ' i l s o i t 4 . .,18 son epoux ou son amant. La t e r on i t i s no a c c i d e n t that Chaval e v i c t s C a t h e r i n e while she i s "vetue a peine, meurtrie de coups de pied dans l e s jambes" (408). Her semi-nudity i s not only p a t h e t i c , but i t leaves her open t o s e x i s t charges of o b s c e n i t y and l a s c i v i o u s n e s s which, a c c o r d i n g to her worst f e a r s , would presumably culminate i n her being sent "comme une gueuse, a c e t t e maison publique de Marchiennes" (409). The use of the e p i t h e t "gueuse" i n t h i s i n s t a n c e i s i n i t s e l f s e x i s t : the male v a r i a n t "gueux" simply means "beggar", whereas the female form a l s o c o n t a i n s i m p l i c a t i o n s of sexual debauchery. While women are o b j e c t s of male sexual d e s i r e , they are at the same time h e l d i n contempt f o r having the p o t e n t i a l to s a t i s f y male l u s t , a t r a d i t i o n a l yet perverse double standard perpetuated by almost a l l of the novel's male c h a r a c t e r s . We are d e a l i n g with the l i t e r a r y a p p l i c a t i o n of 59 the age-old Madonna-whore d u p l e x i t y , a female dichotomy that has no r e a l male e q u i v a l e n t i n e i t h e r present-day Western s o c i e t y or i n France during the 1860s. T h i s dichotomy i s n e a t l y summarized i n C a r o l F u l l e r ' s a r t i c l e "The I n f e r t i l e R abbit": jjr} he u l t i m a t e j u s t i f i c a t i o n of a female i n the coron l i e s i n her p r o d u c t i o n of o f f s p r i n g , whereby she e s t a b l i s h e s economic s e c u r i t y , demonstrates her own "femaleness" by f e r t i l i t y , and proves her man's v i r i l i t y . I n f e r t i l e , she remains only as a love o b j e c t f o r sex/pleasure, g r e a t l y diminished i n the eyes of jt^he male and the community as w e l l as i n her own. Another s t r i k i n g symbol of female v u l n e r a b i l i t y and f e r t i l i t y i n Germinal i s Pologne, the p e r p e t u a l l y pregnant r a b b i t kept by the Rasseneurs. Pologne i s introduced as she i s being tormented by young boys throwing stones as she grazes o u t s i d e . I t i s the androgynous Souvarine who becomes the f r i g h t e n e d animal's comforter. He i n t u r n i s mellowed by the presence of such symbolic warmth and s o f t n e s s . Yet i t i s t h i s very warmth and s o f t n e s s t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s m e t aphorical sexual d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n . We are l e d to i n f e r t h a t i t i s indeed difference--woman as O t h e r — t h a t engenders male h o s t i l i t y and b r u t a l i t y . Why e l s e would c h i l d r e n d e r i v e p l e a s u r e from s t o n i n g a s y m b o l i c a l l y d e f e n c e l e s s r a b b i t ? F i t t i n g l y , i t i s J e a n l i n who becomes Pologne's c h i e f tormentor s i n c e , on a s l i g h t l y l e s s than e p i c s c a l e , J e a n l i n and Pologne re p r e s e n t o p p o s i t e ends of the f e r t i l i t y spectrum. He i s the embodiment of stunted, depraved, and v i o l e n t l y d e s t r u c t i v e a n t i - f e r t i l e f o r c e s ; she i s a 60 v i c t i m i z e d symbol of n a t u r a l and u n r e s t r a i n e d female h y p e r f e r t i l i t y . I t i s Pologne 1s pregnant c o n d i t i o n that proves to be her downfall when being chased on another o c c a s i o n by J e a n l i n , Bebert, and L y d i e : " S i e l l e n ' a v a i t pas eu un commencement de grossesse, jamais i l s ne l ' a u r a i e n t r a t t r a p e e " (279). Pregnancy i s d e s c r i b e d as a hindrance to freedom, a s i t u a t i o n c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l e d by the subjugation of the women trapped i n the mining community with babies at t h e i r b r e a s t s and more l i t t l e ones on the way. Pologne i s rendered s t e r i l e by the i n j u r i e s she i n c u r s at the hands of J e a n l i n . A f t e r g i v i n g b i r t h to a s u c c e s s i o n of s t i l l b o r n b abies, Pologne i s summarily transformed i n t o a n o u r i s h i n g r a b b i t stew "pour ne pas n o u r r i r une bouche i n u t i l e " (394). The i m p l i c a t i o n s are c l e a r : females, whether animal or human, are indeed u s e l e s s unless they are capable of f u l f i l l i n g t h e i r primary r o l e of being baby machines, and are t h e r e f o r e d i s p o s a b l e when the f u l f i l l m e n t of t h i s r o l e i s no longer p o s s i b l e . As Chantal Jennings r i g h t l y remarks, "pour Z o l a , l a mi s s i o n par e x c e l l e n c e de l a femme e s t l a mat e r n i t e , dont i l f a i t l ' e l o g e t o u t au long de son oeuvre, 20 et q u ' i l f i n i t par d i v i n i s e r . " S i m i l a r l y , Catherine d i e s s h o r t l y a f t e r making love f o r the f i r s t time as a woman capable of a c t u a l l y being impregnated, thereby proving Etienne's v i r i l i t y . F i n a l l y f e r t i l e , C atherine i s s y m b o l i c a l l y reduced to r e s o l v i n g Etienne's c r i s i s of manhood. Once h i s seed i s p l a n t e d w i t h i n both her and the 61 encompassing "womb" of the E a r t h , Catherine's r o l e becomes redundant--from the male per s p e c t i v e - - a n d she i s e x p e d i t i o u s l y k i l l e d o f f . Zola not only r e i n f o r c e s the p a t e r n a l i s t i c n o t i o n of women as "breeders" but i n e x t r i c a b l y equates sex and death anew. Nowhere are the concepts of sex and death l i n k e d so c l o s e l y as they are i n a b o r t i o n and m i s c a r r i a g e . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t hat Zola should r e f e r to the eventual c r u s s i n g of mass upheaval as "1'avortement f i n a l de c e t t e levee en masse, qui a v a i t menace un i n s t a n t d'emporter d'une h a l e i n e l a v i e i l l e s o c i e t e p o u r r i e " (391) s i n c e the r e v o l u t i o n a r y f e r v o r of the s t r i k i n g miners c l e a r l y has a sexual undercurrent. At one p o i n t , Zola mentions that the male symbols of i n d u s t r y (the water pump and other a s s o c i a t e d pumping and p e n e t r a t i v e equipment) are themselves h i g h l y v u l n e r a b l e to d e s t r u c t i o n by the f o r c e s of Gaea unless they are s t e a d f a s t and durable: " i l n'y a v a i t t o u j o u r s que 1'echappement de l a pompe s o u f f l a n t son h a l e i n e grosse et longue, l e r e s t e de l a v i e de l a f o s s e , que l e s eaux a u r a i e n t d e t r u i t e , s i l e s o u f f l e s ' e t a i t a r r e t e " (233). The s i l e n c e of the night-time Germinalian landscape i s broken a f r e s h by the sounds of the e r o t i c a l l y committed male. In the end, only the Deluge brought about by Gaea's ru s h i n g waters can overcome and s i l e n c e t h i s male v o i c e . Although t h i s i s the d e s t r u c t i v e , abortof a c i e n t s i d e of the great powers of the E a r t h , the use of such extreme f o r c e i s the e x c e p t i o n r a t h e r than the r u l e . In the context of the 62 n o v e l , the Earth r e a c t s i n r e t r i b u t i o n f o r "une a r t e r e tranchee," a g a i n s t an e x p l o i t a t i v e misuse of re s o u r c e s , both n a t u r a l and human. The carnage and s u f f e r i n g accompanying t h i s "avortement f i n a l " are necessary i n e p i c terms f o r the renewal i n h e r e n t l y a s s o c i a t e d with the r e t u r n of s p r i n g . Whereas much of the blood s p i l l e d over the one hundred years of the Company's e x i s t e n c e was aimed to appease the ogre/vampire/monster of C a p i t a l , the u l t i m a t e s a c r i f i c e of men, women, and machinery rep r e s e n t s an appeasement to the t r u l y supreme t e r r e s t r i a l powers of Gaea. T h i s f i n a l a b o r t i o n i s a welcome a l l e v i a t i o n of gross i n j u s t i c e . In Z o l i a n terms we have come f u l l c i r c l e : the supp o r t i n g waters of the g e n t l e womb and the nurse's milk i n the ample breast as the sources of human l i f e a l s o have the innate yet c o n t r a d i c t o r y p o t e n t i a l to tu r n v i o l e n t and snuf f out t h a t very same l i f e . T h i s i s the t r a n s u b s t a n t i a t i o n of milk and water i n t o s a c r i f i c i a l blood, as symbolized by Ca t h e r i n e ' s f i r s t menstrual p e r i o d , a momentous development t h a t occurs on a day of b r u t a l v i o l e n c e : " c ' e t a i t l e f l o t de l a puberte qui c r e v a i t e n f i n , dans l a secousse de c e t t e journee abominable" (427). I t i s as i f the n a t u r a l flow of f l u i d s w i t h i n the bodies of the novel's female c h a r a c t e r s i s i n t i m a t e l y connected with and p a r a l l e l e d by the n a t u r a l c y c l e of Gaea 1 s own waters. T h i s e x p l a i n s why Zola s t a t e d t h a t " j e l ' a r r a n g e r a i pour que je p u i s s e o b t e n i r ses 3 9 1 amours avec Catherine au fond." Etienne may thus d e p o s i t h i s r e v o l u t i o n a r y seed of education w i t h i n the 63 E a r t h , thence to develop as the beginnings of a new generation of s o l d i e r s . C a t h e r i n e , although she e v e n t u a l l y p e r i s h e s , i s now able to be t r u l y f e r t i l i z e d by her l o v e r . T h i s scene of love amidst death takes p l a c e w i t h i n a f u s i o n of the a n c i e n t Greek elements of e a r t h , a i r , f i r e , and water: Catherine may d i e , but the power of Gaea u l t i m a t e l y triumphs i n the form of "un l a c boueuse qui occupa l a place ou e t a i t naguere l e Voreux" (459). Despite t h i s c l i m a c t i c f l o o d of bloody v i o l e n c e , however, hope s p r i n g s e t e r n a l at the c o n c l u s i o n of the n o v e l , thereby marking the dawning not only of a new day, but of a new c y c l e of r e v o l u t i o n a r y seasons. The i n s u r r e c t i o n d e t a i l e d i n Germinal i s but an embryonic shape of t h i n g s to come. Nowhere e l s e i s Zola's prose so i n s p i r a t i o n a l and so h e a r t b r e a k i n g l y p o e t i c : Maintenant, en p l e i n c i e l , l e s o l e i l d ' a v r i l r a y o n n a i t dans sa g l o i r e , e c h a u f f a n t l a t e r r e qui e n f a n t a i t . Du f l a n c n o u r r i c i e r j a i l l i s s a i t l a v i e , l e s bourgeons c r e v a i e n t en f e u i l l e s v e r t e s , l e s champs t r e s s a i l l a i e n t de l a poussee des herbes. De t o u t e s p a r t s , des g r a i n e s se g o n f l a i e n t , s ' a l l o n g e a i e n t , g e r c a i e n t l a p l a i n e , t r a v a i l l e e s d'un besoin de chaleur et de lumiere. Un debordement de seve c o u l a i t avec des v o i x chuchotantes, l e b r u i t des germes s'epandait en un grand b a i s e r . Encore, encore, de p l u s en p l u s d i s t i n c t e m e n t , comme s ' i l s se f u s s e n t rapproches du s o l , l e s camarades t a p a i e n t . Aux rayons enflammes de l ' a s t r e , par c e t t e matinee de jeunesse, c ' e t a i t de c e t t e rumeur que l a campagne e t a i t grosse. (502) Zola's meaning i s c l e a r : I t i s s p r i n g a t l a s t and the Earth i s heavy with c h i l d ; seeds become buds become leaves become flo w e r s ; and everywhere the sap of l i f e i s f l o w i n g . Just as Etienne's former workmates are "rapproches du s o l , " so 64 too has Zola achieved a rapprochement of human nature with Nature i t s e l f . Readers of Zola cannot help but make the obvious connection between Constance Maheu's banal utterance t h a t "La Levaque e s t e n c e i n t e " (498) with Zola's near simultaneous d e s c r i p t i o n of t e r r e s t r i a l bloom. Just as Cath e r i n e ' s menstruation c o i n c i d e s with the bloody v i o l e n c e of s o l d i e r s and the wrath of Gaea, so too does La Levaque' s pregnancy m i r r o r the f e r t i l e resonances of s p r i n g reborn and peace returned to the E a r t h : her c h i l d w i l l be the f i r s t born of a new r e v o l u t i o n a r y age, conceived i n the very month of Germinal, the seventh month of the French Republican calendar (March 21st - A p r i l 18th). As Auguste Dezalay p o i n t s out, Germinal i s " l e mois des germinations avant d ' e t r e c e l u i des i n s u r r e c t i o n s : l a poussee exercee sur l e s murs des maisons bourgeoises a p p a r a i t a u s s i dans 1'imagination c r e a t r i c e de Zola comme l a simple poussee des 6 0 herbes et des f e u i l l e s du printemps." The n e c e s s i t i e s of e p i c balance and symmetry u l t i m a t e l y r e g u l a t e Zola's dramatic use of female e r o t i c power, both c r e a t i v e and d e s t r u c t i v e , i n Germinal. Although Etienne L a n t i e r i s the obvious p r o t a g o n i s t of the n o v e l , many female c h a r a c t e r s , such as Constance and Catherine Maheu, a l s o achieve h e r o i c and noble s t a t u s . I t i s to Zola's c r e d i t t h a t the female psychology d e s c r i b e d i n the novel i s so po w e r f u l l y complex and r i c h . Even though women are prone to a s t e r e o t y p i c a l l y t r a d i t i o n a l mixture of p a s s i v i t y , f a t a l i s m , and r e s i g n a t i o n , they are a l s o capable of great 65 st r e n g t h and endurance. Germinal i s n e i t h e r male c h a u v i n i s t n a r r a t i v e nor f e m i n i s t d i a t r i b e ; i t i s i n s t e a d a p i c t u r e of n a t u r a l i n t e r a c t i o n between men and women, whether i n love or i n hatred, whether at war or at peace. The novel purports to d e s c r i b e unvarnished r e a l i t y and i t does indeed provide f o r a raw and p u l s a t i n g view, complete with the m i s o g y n i s t i c excesses of male domination and the subsequent c a s t r a t i v e f u r y of women seeking t h e i r sexual revenge. Although the bulk of the novel's v i o l e n c e i s absorbed by women and perpetuated by men, men too are at times faced with the turned t a b l e s of women i n open r e b e l l i o n . T h i s i s but one of Zola's techniques f o r conveying the message of e r o t i c i s m i n order to complete h i s t a l e of c l a s s r e v o l u t i o n . Women's attempting to throw o f f the shackles of p a t r i a r c h y thus c o n s t i t u t e s a r e v o l u t i o n w i t h i n a r e v o l u t i o n , the a l l - t o o - n a t u r a l r e a c t i o n of an i n c r e a s i n g l y v i c t i m i z e d sub- group w i t h i n a l a r g e r oppressed c l a s s . An even more i n s i d i o u s form of r e b e l l i o n i s the whole- hearted female embracing of unabashed e r o t i c i s m , e x e m p l i f i e d by the t i r e l e s s l i b i d o of La Mouquette and the widow D e s i r . P r o m i s c u i t y c o n s t i t u e s a s e r i o u s t h r e a t t o the p a t r i l i n e a l s t r u c t u r e s of ownership so dear t o the hearts of bourgeois male supremacists. The n a t u r a l " r e l i g i o n " of sexual freedom thus r e p r e s e n t s an o b s t a c l e t o the maintenance of the fundamental Germinalian female c o n d i t i o n of enslavement. In t h i s r e s p e c t , the author i s not q u i t e so r a d i c a l . In f a c t , Zola seems i n t e n t on emphasizing the "sex equals death" 66 formula by k i l l i n g o f f female c h a r a c t e r s such as La Mouquette--even though she d i e s h e r o i c a l l y by g i v i n g her own l i f e to save C a t h e r i n e — a n d Catherine h e r s e l f - - s a c r i f i c e d a f t e r e x p e r i e n c i n g " f e r t i l e " love f o r the f i r s t time. Zola a l s o seems t o have an unconscious t e r r o r of women's mysteries such as pregnancy, c h i l d b i r t h , a b o r t i o n , m i s c a r r i a g e , and l e s b i a n i s m . While Zola's own ignorance and neuroses may indeed be great enough at times to warrant charges of sexism, however i n a d v e r t a n t , we must keep i n mind th a t Zola was w r i t i n g f o r a predominately male r e a d e r s h i p which, presumably, would more or l e s s share the same n e u r o t i c h e r i t a g e of gynophobia. Zola's primary aim i n w r i t i n g Germinal was to shock and f r i g h t e n the b o u r g e o i s i e out of i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c d r i f t i n g complacency. By r e l e n t l e s s l y p l a y i n g on e x i s t i n g male f e a r s , he succeeds. Given the s p i r i t of Zola's age, a time when wife beating was considered a l e g i t i m a t e r i g h t r a t h e r than a crime, when women were s t i l l r o u t i n e l y excluded from the worlds of a r t , p o l i t i c s , economics, and r e l i g i o n , Zola can ha r d l y be p o s i t i o n e d on the vanguard of J u d a e o - C h r i s t i a n misogyny. Instead, we would apply the term " r a d i c a l t r a d i t i o n a l i s t " t o d e s c r i b e the philosophy h e l d by Zola towards women, as evidenced by the complex and c o n t r a d i c t o r y range of female c h a r a c t e r s i n Germinal. As Naomi Schor so wryly p o i n t s out, "Zola's Messianic p o l i t i c s , centred on a C h r i s t - l i k e l e a d e r , are mi r r o r e d i n h i s sexual p o l i t i c s . And, j u s t as Zola's p a t e r n a l i s t i c brand of s o c i a l i s m does 67 not win high marks from M a r x i s t c r i t i c s , h i s p a t e r n a l i s t i c brand of feminism i s har d l y l i k e l y to win an endorsement from N.O.W."23 Zola's t r a d i t i o n a l f e a r of woman as Other i s redeemed by h i s obvious compassion and p o e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y t o s u f f e r i n g . He i s bold enough to show women's c o n s i d e r a b l e - some would say g r e a t e r — s t r e n g t h s i n c o n j u n c t i o n with s t e r e o t y p i c a l p a s s i v i t y and f a t a l i s m . As an e r o t i c pioneer, he i s i n t r e p i d enough to d e s c r i b e or a l l u d e to the f e a r s of se d u c t i o n , menstruation, c a s t r a t i o n , and r a p e — f e a r s which have formed the p o i n t s of departure f o r m i s o g y n i s t i c v i o l e n c e — w h i l e a l s o f o c u s i n g on the l a r g e r and more p o s i t i v e female t r a i t s of intimacy, warmth, l i g h t , and on the sa c r o s a n c t bond between a r c h e t y p a l mother/Gaea and a r c h e t y p a l child/Humankind. The p o r t r a i t of women c a s t i n g a s i d e the f e t t e r s of p a t r i a r c h y i n Germinal i s an i n d i r e c t yet powerful c r i t i q u e of Zola's u l t r a s e x i s t age. In t h i s sense, women form the heart of the novel's r e v o l u t i o n and are thus the focus of the Germinalian u n i v e r s e . I t i s f o r t h i s reason t h a t we are i n complete accordance with Anna Krakowski's c o n c l u s i o n i n La c o n d i t i o n de l a femme dans 1'oeuvre d'Emile Zola; Zola e t a i t convaincu qu'on ne pouvait pas l u t t e r pour 1' emancipation de l a femme en t a n t que t e l l e sans p a r t i c i p e r en meme temps aux r e v e n d i c a t i o n s des t r a v a i l l e u r s . II a a u s s i s a i s i que se u l l e combat r e v e n d i c a t i f ne resoudra pas l e probleme, q u ' i l y f a u t avant tout une education de comportement a l ' i n t e r i e u r du f o y e r , un l i b r e consentement guide par l e sentiment et l e r e s p e c t , c o n d i t i o n s i n d i s p e n s a b l e s a l ' e g a l i t e des deux p a r t e n a i r e s . A 1'epoque ou l a femme e t a i t encore 68 en p l e i n asservissment i l t e n a i t l e langage ?des plus f e r v e n t s s o c i o l o g u e s f e m i n i s t e s modernes. 69 CHAPTER THREE EROTIC DEVIANCE The blaze of a n a r c h i s t i c p h y s i c a l d e s t r u c t i o n which erupts towards the c o n c l u s i o n of Germinal has two broad purposes: to seek s a c r i f i c e and to exact punishment. In order to understand the causes of t h i s vengeful d e s t r u c t i o n , i t i s h e l p f u l to view the i n d u s t r i a l process of mineral e x t r a c t i o n at the mine as breaking a fundamental law of nature. Since the omnipotent Company i s unconcerned with the environmental or s o c i a l c o s t s of i t s p r o f i t a b l e o p e r a t i o n s , the mining a c t i v i t y at Le Voreux i s l i k e a rape of the p l a n e t and i n d i r e c t l y of i t s i n h a b i t a n t s . Hence the Earth's "need" to punish those people g u i l t y of t h i s and other "unnatural" p r a c t i c e s , both i n d u s t r i a l and e r o t i c . In terms of cause and e f f e c t , the concept of crime and punishment i s o f t e n nebulous throughout the n o v e l . T h i s q u e s t i o n does not lend i t s e l f t o s i m p l i s t i c "black and white" a n a l y s i s , with a speedy a p p l i c a t i o n of j u s t i c e f o r those g u i l t y of t r a n s g r e s s i n g " n a t u r a l " laws of behavior. Instead, the moral ethos at work i n Germinal i s a combination of s t e r e o t y p i c a l n ineteenth century French 70 m i d d l e - c l a s s values m i t i g a t e d to a c e r t a i n extent by the author's s e m i l i b e r a l d o c t r i n e of e r o t i c n a t u r a l i s m . Zola holds a c o n t r a d i c t o r y assortment of both l i b e r a l and c o n s e r v a t i v e a t t i t u d e s towards v a r i o u s types of human s e x u a l i t y . U n s u r p r i s i n g l y , the nineteenth century c r i t i c s of Germinal r e a c t e d to Zola's e r o t i c d e p i c t i o n s with such i n d i g n a t i o n and condemnation t h a t the a d j e c t i v e "Zolaesque" came to a c q u i r e the connotations of "coarse" and "lewd", as d i c t i o n a r i e s from the f i r s t h a l f of t h i s century w i l l a t t e s t . Zola's l a r g e l y m i d d l e - c l a s s r e a d e r s h i p was able to assuage i t s e l f knowing that when a l l was s a i d and done, however, Zola too shared t h e i r fundamental moral b e l i e f s. In p a r t i c u l a r , the f o l l o w i n g e r o t i c o r i e n t a t i o n s or acts are viewed n e g a t i v e l y i n the novel and are "punished" (or are seen as punishment i n themselves): p r o s t i t u t i o n , homosexuality, a d u l t e r y , i n c e s t , and i n t e r c l a s s sexual r e l a t i o n s . Owing to i t s i n h e r e n t complexity, p r o m i s c u i t y i s t r e a t e d e i t h e r p o s i t i v e l y , n e g a t i v e l y , or n e u t r a l l y by Z o l a , depending on the c h a r a c t e r i n v o l v e d . Broadly speaking, t o t a l sexual f i d e l i t y w i t h i n i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d marriage i s the author's e r o t i c i d e a l , but he shows sign s of some f l e x i b i l i t y i n a l l o w i n g f o r d i v e r s i t y i n e r o t i c behavior among some of h i s c h a r a c t e r s . Unmarried people are given a degree of sensual l i c e n s e t h a t corresponds both to t h e i r y o u t h f u l sexual freedom and to the need f o r experimentation before choosing a mate. Once they are married, however, 71 p a r t n e r s are expected to be at once f a i t h f u l and f e r t i l e . In t h i s r e s p e c t , the working-class Maheus--in a most i r o n i c s h i f t of m i d d l e - c l a s s values—become the epitome of Zola's e r o t i c i d e a l . To underscore t h i s c l a s s - b a s e d e r o t i c value t r a n s f e r , Zola p o r t r a y s h i s bourgeois f a m i l i e s as v i r t u a l l y barren i n comparison. T e l l i n g l y , the most sympathetic of the bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s , M. Deneulin, has two daughters; the G r e g o i r e s , banal yet s e m i - c h a r i t a b l e , have only one daughter; and the Hennebeaus, base and p e r n i c i o u s , are s y m b o l i c a l l y without c h i l d . In f a c t , Zola's most l o f t y i d e a l i s t h a t of e r o t i c s e l f - a b n e g a t i o n , but t h i s i s a t h e o r e t i c a l goal never a t t a i n e d by any of the novel's mature c h a r a c t e r s . A key to understanding Zola's approach to sexual deviance i n Germinal i s h i s use of the word "abominable", which has i t s e t y m o l o g i c a l r o o t s i n the L a t i n "abominari", meaning "to regard as an i l l omen". T h i s n o t i o n of i l l omen i s h i g h l y p e r t i n e n t both to Zola's sexual e t h i c and to the very denouement of the n o v e l . The " o l d " s o c i e t y — p o r t r a y e d by Zola as being threatened by popular u p r i s i n g and s o c i a l i s t i d e o l o g y — i s c o r r u p t , degenerate, and decadent- hence the barrenness of i t s bourgeois f i g u r e s . The "new" world of j u s t i c e and e q u a l i t y e n v i s i o n e d by the novel's r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s i s seen as a more " n a t u r a l " p l a c e , f r e e from sexual c o r r u p t i o n and deviance. The c a t a s t r o p h i c climax of the novel i s an e r o t i c p u r i f i c a t i o n , i n much the same way as the B i b l i c a l accounts both of the Flood and of the 72 d e s t r u c t i o n of Sodom and Gomorrha rep r e s e n t cosmic or d i v i n e r e t r i b u t i o n a g a i n s t human i n i q u i t y and "abominations." The word "abominable" and i t s d e r i v a t i v e s appear i n v a r i o u s contexts i n the n a r r a t i v e , most notab l y i n the d e s c r i p t i o n of the T a r t a r e t r e g i o n of the mine ("crachant du soufr e et des vapeurs abominables" [305J ) f a s W e l l as i n the scene where M. Hennebeau f i n d s proof p o s i t i v e of h i s wife's semi-incestuous i n f i d e l i t y ("des t r a c e s abominables s o u i l l a n t l e s l i n g e s " ["34oJ ) , at the Avantage bar when Etienne comes very c l o s e to s l i t t i n g C h a v a l 1 s t h r o a t ("une voi x abominable, en l u i , 1 ' a s s o u r d i s s a i t " £3 9 8} ), at the moment o f C a t h e r i n e ' s f i r s t p e r i o d ("dans l a secousse de c e t t e journee abominable" {j427} ) , and at the murder scene o f C e c i l e Gregoire (Mme Hennebeau: "Quelle abomination !"§73j\ Zola's frequent and p e r s i s t e n t use o f "abominable"--considering the vast array of synonyms a v a i l a b l e i n F r e n c h — p r o v i d e s an i n t e r p r e t a t i v e key to understanding the convergence and divergence of Zola's own sexual values with the r e i g n i n g p a t r i a r c h a l bourgeois i d e a l s of h i s age. In the f i v e i n s t a n c e s c i t e d , the circumstances are r e s p e c t i v e l y the author's a t t i t u d e towards l e s b i a n i s m (Le T a r t a r e t i s , a c c o r d i n g t o l o c a l legend, where "wicked" g i r l s are s e n t ) , a bourgeois male c h a r a c t e r ' s e x p r e s s i o n of r e v u l s i o n at h i s own wife's incestuous d e p r a v i t y (her l o v e r i s h i s nephew), Zola's d e s c r i p t i o n of e r o t i c a l l y - c h a r g e d v i o l e n c e (Etienne and Chaval's r e l a t i o n s h i p has frequent homoerotic o v e r t o n e s ) , Catherine's long-delayed entry i n t o 73 womanhood (delayed because of subhuman working and l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s ) , and a bourgeois female's r e a c t i o n t o the murder of a v i r g i n a l young woman (death of a v i r g i n has c l e a r sexual connotations f o r the mythopoeic n o v e l i s t ) . The word "monstrueux" i s a l s o used i n a r e v e a l i n g way by M. Hennebeau to d e s c r i b e h i s own f l e e t i n g yet s u s p i c i o u s r e a c t i o n to h i s wife's o v e r l y e n t h u s i a s t i c involvement i n her nephew's wedding p l a n s : " i l r o u g i t de son imagination monstrueuse" (213). In a d d i t i o n , Zola r e f e r s t o the c a p i t a l i s t Minotaur who i n h a b i t s the mine as "ce pourceau immonde, c e t t e i d o l e monstrueuse" (290). "Abominable" and, to a l e s s e r extent, "monstrueux" are thus i n d i c a t i o n s of gross deviance s i n c e Zola uses them at c r i t i c a l e r o t i c j u n c t u r e s . These occasions represent e i t h e r crimes a g a i n s t the c r e a t i v e f o r c e s of Nature (e.g. homosexuality i s i n h e r e n t l y non- p r o c r e a t i v e ) , or i n f r a c t i o n s of Zola's own e r o t i c commandments. The t r a d i t i o n a l female deviance of p r o s t i t u t i o n r e p r e s e n t s an obvious way f o r Zola t o focus h i s n a t u r a l i s t l e n s on the human sexual c o n d i t i o n . Revealing i n i t s own r i g h t i s another appearance of the c l o s e l y - r e l a t e d "monstre," which i s used t o d e s c r i b e the female s i n g e r s at the Volcan pub durin g the miners' "ducasse" c e l e b r a t i o n s : "Cinq chanteuses, l e rebut des f i l l e s p ubliques de L i l l e , d e f i l a i e n t , avec des gestes et un d e c o l l e t a g e de monstres" (167). "Monstre" i s indeed an unusual choice of words f o r t h i s scene, no matter how s l e a z y or tawdry these women 74 a c t u a l l y are i n Zola's i m a g i n a t i o n . The author seems t o be i m i t a t i n g bourgeois h y p e r i n d i g n a t i o n while at the same time s t r e s s i n g the omnipresent Germinalian connection between monstrousness and vo r a c i o u s sexual a p p e t i t e . S a c r i f i c e s to the great monster/vampire of c a p i t a l thus have an exaggerated mythopoeic e r o t i c i s m of t h e i r own, i n much the same way as the legendary a n c i e n t Greeks chose t h e i r most n u b i l e and v i r i l e sons and d a u g h t e r s — v i r g i n s , i n e f f e c t - to appease the horrendous Minotaur. As seen, p r o s t i t u t i o n c o n s t i t u t e s punishment f o r sexual i n f i d e l i t y and p r o m i s c u i t y . For Catherine to make love with Etienne so soon a f t e r her break-up with Chaval, notwithstanding the l a t t e r ' s monstrously abusive and treacherous nature, would be i r r e f u t a b l e proof of her own innate d e p r a v i t y . In a d d i t i o n , Catherine a l s o has grave m i s g i v i n g s as to the r a m i f i c a t i o n s of female homosexuality. The "loose woman", whether p r o s t i t u t e or l e s b i a n i s a l s o the nucleus of Catherine's s u p e r s t i t i o u s b e l i e f i n "1'Homme n o i r . . . . [lj e vieux mineur qui r e v i e n t dans l a fos s e et qui t o r d l e cou aux v i l a i n e s f i l l e s " (70), a shadowy bogeyman to whom we are intr o d u c e d very e a r l y on i n the novel as i f to d e l i b e r a t e l y s e t the stage f o r the e r o t i c crimes and d e v i a t o r y punishments yet to come. (We explore the f a s c i n a t i n g i m p l i c a t i o n s of the a r c h e t y p a l "vieux mineur" i n the f o l l o w i n g chapter.) Since sexual f i d e l i t y i n marriage forms one of the cornerstones of Zola's e r o t i c i d e a l , i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g 75 t h a t h i s p o r t r a y a l s of the a d u l t e r e r / a d u l t e r e s s should a l l be so overwhelmingly n e g a t i v e : La Pierronne, Madame Hennebeau, and Maigrat are the only married c h a r a c t e r s i n the novel who engage i n e x t r a - m a r i t a l sexual r e l a t i o n s - with the exception of Levaque, La Levaque, and Bouteloup, p a r t i c i p a n t s i n an e n t i r e l y v o l u n t a r y "menage a t r o i s " - and they are three of the most odious and r e p r e h e n s i b l e i n d i v i d u a l s i n Germinal. La Pierronne i s a shameless h y p o c r i t e , prone to h u r l i n g a c c u s a t i o n s of sexual i m p r o p r i e t y r e g a r d i n g s o c i a l l y t r a n s m i t t e d d i s e a s e s at Etienne and the Maheu f a m i l y , a l l the while having a tremendously l u c r a t i v e a f f a i r , i n terms of g i f t s of food and wine, with Dansaert, the cowardly and b u l l y i n g foreman at the mine. Her cuckold husband, P i e r r o n , who i s f u l l y aware of h i s wife's a c t i v i t i e s , i s reduced to spying and i n f o r m i n g f o r the Company, b e t r a y i n g h i s own workmates i n the p r o c e s s . In the Z o l i a n n a t u r a l i s t u n i v e r s e , the P i e r r o n s are e s p e c i a l l y "unnatural" s i n c e they renounce a l l n o t i o n of m a r i t a l f i d e l i t y and, e q u a l l y important, take u n f a i r advantage of t h e i r access to food and d r i n k . The r e s u l t a n t punishment meted out f o r the P i e r r o n s i s p h y s i c a l abuse from t h e i r neighbors, o s t r a c i s m , and contempt. Maigrat, whose greed and l u s t have a l r e a d y been amply documented, h i m s e l f undergoes the symbolic punishment of c a s t r a t i o n and emasculation as a r e s u l t of the sexual b l a c k m a i l he p e r p e t r a t e s on the female p o p u l a t i o n of the mining s e t t l e m e n t . T h i s s t a t e of e r o t i c e x t o r t i o n i s exacerbated 76 by Maigrat's own a b i l i t y as shopkeeper to i n f l u e n c e the supply of food. In a " n a t u r a l " u n i v e r s e , i t i s Mother Nature who allows f o r the h a r v e s t : In t h i s " unnatural" s i t u a t i o n , Maigrat's attempt to usurp the Earth's power and r o l e as source of l i f e and food culminates i n h i s gruesome death at the hands of the s t a r v i n g . The c h a r a c t e r of Madame Hennebeau i s so perverse t h a t she f i t s i n t o s e v e r a l c a t e g o r i e s of deviance simultaneously: she i s both i n v e t e r a t e bourgeois a d u l t e r e s s and incestuous mother f i g u r e to Paul Negrel. Her a d u l t e r y i s p a t h o l o g i c a l , o s t e n s i b l y the r e s u l t of having chosen the wrong husband f o r the wrong reasons. She thus attempts to add meaning and p a s s i o n to a l i f e of domestic ( f ) r i g i d i t y and monotony. Once again, the cuckold husband i s aware of the past i n f i d e l i t i e s of the wife; yet, i n t h i s case rage and resentment do b u i l d up w i t h i n him s i n c e there i s no m a t e r i a l advantage to be had i n being complacent and a c q u i e s c e n t . And d e s p i t e M. Hennebeau's d e l u s i o n s of power and c o n t r o l , a f t e r t w e n t y - f i v e years of marriage the Hennebeaus are s t i l l without c h i l d — n o t s u r p r i s i n g when we l e a r n t h a t husband and w i f e have never been s e x u a l l y i n t i m a t e i n that time. In terms of both f e r t i l i t y and v i r i l i t y , then, they are a s t e r i l e and bankrupt couple. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , t h e i r punishment i s u n c e r t a i n : t h e r e are no convenient l i g h t n i n g b o l t s from the sky, no sudden earthquakes swallow up t h e i r p r o p e r t y . They are simply doomed to continue l i v i n g through the h e l l of t h e i r own b l o o d l e s s marriage: i n f a c t , t h i s i s 77 the most e f f e c t i v e punishment Zola could have devised f o r them. What d i f f e r e n t i a t e s Mme Hennebeau's l a t e s t a f f a i r from her previous ones i s i t s q u a s i - i n c e s t u o u s nature. Although Paul Negrel i s M. Hennebeau's nephew, he i n i t i a l l y becomes a c o n f i d a n t f o r Mme Hennebeaus's l o n e l i n e s s , thereby becoming the son she never had. Since Zola d e s c r i b e s him as "ce Paul dont e l l e devenait l a mere" (340), t h e i r s i s o b v i o u s l y a coded incestuous r e l a t i o n s h i p . And although there are two w i l l i n g p l a y e r s i n v o l v e d , i t i s Mme Hennebeau who i s portrayed as the c o r r u p t i n g i n f l u e n c e on an innocent. At one p o i n t she i s d e s c r i b e d i n E v e - l i k e terms as t a s t i n g the f o r b i d d e n f r u i t of her young nephew: "II £M. Hennebeauj i n n o c e n t a i t presque 1'enfant, auquel e l l e a v a i t mordu dans ce r e v e i l d ' a p p e t i t , a i n s i qu'on mord au premier f r u i t v e r t , v o l e sur l a r o u t e " (341). Thus, not only does sex equal food, but deviant incestuous sex r e p r e s e n t s poison, " l e poison de l e u r accouplement" (341) i n the desperate and b i t t e r thoughts of M. Hennebeau. Mme Hennebeau's comments on the r e i g n i n g "moeurs p a t r i a r c a l e s " (125) i n the mining community may t h e r e f o r e be seen as the u l t i m a t e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of bourgeois h y p o c r i s y and as an i r o n i c example of the c l a s s - b a s e d t r a n s f e r of sexual values t h a t Zola t r i g g e r s . S i m i l a r l y , the author's use of the word "naturellement" t o d e s c r i b e the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of Mme Hennebeau and Paul's a f f a i r ("Naturellement, un s o i r , i l se trouva dans ses bras" f213J ) might w e l l be taken as an 78 i r o n i c tongue-in-cheek a s i d e , with n a t u r a l i s m being the butt of the joke. In no way does the n o v e l i s t c o n s i d e r t h i s incestuous r e l a t i o n s h i p t o be anything l e s s than s o r d i d and perverse and he p l a c e s the bulk of the blame upon the shoulders of a "femme o i s i v e et f i n i e " (213). To underscore h i s contempt f o r Mme Hennebeau and her predatory bourgeois h y p o c r i s y , Zola even has her lean a g a i n s t a trough when she and the others take refuge i n a barn from the rampaging miners. Of course, i t i s a l s o she who r e c o g n i z e s Maigrat's m u t i l a t e d penis as being a p i e c e of pork. A s s u r e d l y , the p o r c i n e connection i s c l e a r . Incest a l s o c a s t s a shadow across Catherine and Etienne's r e l a t i o n s h i p . Since Etienne moves i n to the Maheu household as a boarder f o l l o w i n g the departure of the Maheus' e l d e s t son, Zacharie--who moves out i n order to marry Philomene Levaque--we view Etienne's moving i n as the replacement of the o l d son through the adoption of a new son. Maheu and La Maheude become Etienne's surrogate p a r e n t s , while Catherine becomes h i s symbolic s i s t e r , h e r s e l f a hard-working member of the great f r a t e r n i t y of workers. As co-worker and roommate Catherine i s much l i k e a s i s t e r l y comrade f o r Etienne. I t i s no wonder t h a t the two of them f e e l so much shame and embarrassment when undressing before bed or t h a t they pay l i p s e r v i c e t o being simply f r i e n d s . Indeed, even though Etienne comes to c o n s i d e r the idea of making love with Catherine to be "toute n a t u r e l l e et d'une execution f a c i l e " (400) a f t e r having fought and beaten 7 9 Chaval i n hand-to-hand combat, there i s s t i l l some i n e f f a b l e w a l l between them, an o b s t a c l e which only serves to f u r t h e r delay t h e i r f i r s t sexual encounter t o g e t h e r : "Une pudeur l e s separa, c e t t e pudeur ancienne ou i l y a v a i t de l a c o l e r e , une vague repugnance et beaucoup d ' a m i t i e " (401). Once again, Zola combines the notions of sex and death i n the s i n g l e word "execution". Are we to co n s i d e r Catherine's death a f t e r f i n a l l y having engaged i n long-delayed sexual i n t e r c o u r s e with Etienne as being an exe c u t i o n , the " l o g i c a l " punishment f o r i n c e s t ? Knowing t h a t Catherine and Etienne's f e e l i n g s f o r each other remain too f r a t e r n a l f o r Eros to take hold during almost the e n t i r e n o v e l , such would seem to be the case. The o b s t a c l e s which remain l a r g e l y insurmountable are Etienne's own p o l i t i c a l d e t e r m i n a t i o n and ambition, i n t o which a l a r g e p a r t of h i s sexual energies i s sublimated, as w e l l as both b r o t h e r l y and s i s t e r l y r e s i s t a n c e to symbolic i n c e s t . Perhaps i t i s the ni n e t e e n t h century l i t e r a r y c r i t i c J u l e s Lemaitre's own a v e r s i o n to i n c e s t t h a t e x p l a i n s h i s disappointment with regard to Cat h e r i n e and Etienne's lovemaking: "And I would p r e f e r t h a t he had not become her l o v e r , the i n s t i n c t i v e modesty which they f e l t i n one another's presence being almost the s o l e v e s t i g e of higher humanity which the w r i t e r has allowed 25 t o e x i s t i n h i s b e s t i a l poem". But, as Henri M i t t e r a n d notes with r e f e r e n c e t o the incestuous component i n Etienne and C a t h e r i n e ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p , 80 l e d e s i r q u i n a i t e ntre l e s deux jeunes gens ne peut e t r e desormais qu'un d e s i r incestueux. Soeur, Catherine ne peut e t r e amante. Maheu . . . est en meme temps un o b s t a c l e i n f r a n c h i s s a b l e a 1'accomplissement du d e s i r . Pour que 1'ombre de l ' i n c e s t e , et son i n t e r d i t , d i s p a r a i s s e n t , i l faut que Maheu meure. C'est l u i q u i empec^g Etienne de toucher C a t h e r i n e , et non pas Chaval. Thus i n c e s t r e p r e s e n t s one of the key elements i n C a t h e r i n e and Etienne's mutual e r o t i c i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y , an i n a c c e s s i b i l i t y which f u r t h e r strengthens the novel's a l r e a d y powerful sexual drama. There are a l s o a l l u s i o n s to symbolic i n c e s t between Etienne and La Maheude, even though these rumors are presumably spread by La Pierronne who, as we know, has her own hidden e r o t i c agenda. I t i s as i f Zola i n c l u d e d t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y of Oedipal i n c e s t to add to the long l i s t of temptations with which Etienne i s confronted along the road to becoming t r u l y m e s s i a n i c . In the words of La Maheude, "apres l a mort de mon homme, ca a u r a i t t r e s bien pu a r r i v e r , s i j ' a v a i s ete p l u s jeune, n'est-ce pas? Mais a u j o u r d ' h u i , j'aime mieux que ca ne se s o i t pas f a i t , car nous en a u r i o n s du r e g r e t pour sur" (498). The simple acknowledgement from both La Maheude and Etienne t h a t such incestuous behavior could o n l y l e a d t o misery i n d i c a t e s the degree to which they hold moral and e r o t i c s u p e r i o r i t y over Paul Negrel and Mme Hennebeau, t h e i r bourgeois c o u n t e r p a r t s i n t h i s incestuous r e g a r d . Etienne and the Maheus—with the e x c e p t i o n of J e a n l i n and Bonnemort—are working-class c h a r a c t e r s m y s t e r i o u s l y endowed with s t e r e o t y p i c a l m i d d l e - c l a s s sexual 81 a t t r i b u t e s . An even b l a c k e r shadow i s cast i n Germina 1 by the sp e c t r e s of androgyny and homosexuality. I t i s Zola's unwritten b e l i e f t h a t androgyny, as p e r s o n i f i e d by Souvarine the r u t h l e s s a n a r c h i s t , i s i t s e l f a form of d i s t u r b i n g sexual anarchy which poses a grave t h r e a t to the e s t a b l i s h e d p a t r i a r c h a l s o c i a l o rder. Moreover, androgyny a l s o besets Catherine and Etienne's r e l a t i o n s h i p , e s p e c i a l l y at the beginning of the n o v e l . In f a c t , both of them are d e s c r i b e d i n terms of the opposite sex as when, f o r example, Etienne mistakes C a t h e r i n e f o r a young boy during h i s f i r s t day i n the mine. That C a t h e r i n e , i f only by v i r t u e of her p h y s i c a l immaturity and her abysmal working c o n d i t i o n s , should at times resemble a young male i s not i n i t s e l f s u r p r i s i n g . As Maarten Van Buuren mentions, i n p o l i t i c a l terms " l a s o l i d a r i t e f r a t e r n e l l e e f f a c e meme l a d i f f e r e n c e homme/femme, qui est tou j o u r s , chez Zola, une source de d i s c o r d e s p o t e n t i e l l e s . What i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n Etienne's p e r s o n a l r e a c t i o n t o the s l i p p e r y gender of Ca t h e r i n e i s the f a c t t h a t androgyny seems t o be a l u r e f o r h i s e r o t i c i n t e r e s t . Throughout the novel t h i s phenomenon serves t o heighten c h a r a c t e r s ' f r u s t r a t i o n s , to i n c r e a s e sexual t e n s i o n s , and to c a s t doubts on people's sexual d e s i r e s . Epicenism i s shown e i t h e r as an o p t i c a l i l l u s i o n , an o b s t a c l e t o be surmounted, or as a semi-innate p h y s i c a l c o n d i t i o n which r e p r e s e n t s subversive and dev i a n t p o l i t i c a l d e d i c a t i o n l i n k e d to the d e s t r u c t i v e s i d e of Nature. 82 Androgyny may be a " n a t u r a l " d e v i a t i o n i n that hermaphroditism i s widespread i n the animal and p l a n t kingdoms, but i t i s n e v e r t h e l e s s on the same Germinalian s c a l e as a murderous earthquake or a deadly typhoon, both of which c o n s t i t u t e e n t i r e l y " n a t u r a l " yet h i g h l y d e s t r u c t i v e phenomena. In t h i s sense, androgyny would appear t o be an area of profound d i s t r e s s f o r Zola the man and Zola the author s i n c e he promotes i t to the rank of l i t e r a r y s u p e r s t i t i o n . Zola p r o j e c t s t h i s n o t i o n of s u p e r s t i t i o n i n t o the thoughts of h i s p r o t a g o n i s t Etienne when he f i r s t glimpses Catherine i n the mining p i t : "Quand i l apercut Catherine avec son a i r doux de gargon, l ' i d e e s u p e r s t i t i e u s e l u i v i n t de r i s q u e r une d e r n i e r e demande" ( 5 2 ) . What does Zola f i n d so s u p e r s t i t i o u s about Etienne's simple enquiry about work? There i s nothing obvious i n the t e x t to suggest t h a t t h i s choice of words i s anything l e s s than e c c e n t r i c , such as, f o r example, having Catherine be the t h i r t e e n t h person to enter the e l e v a t o r i n the mine or indeed any other such s u p e r s t i t i o u s c l i c h e e x e m p l i f y i n g i r r a t i o n a l f e a r s . Perhaps i t i s because Etienne i s lucky enough to chance upon someone of approximately the same age, approximately the same s i z e , and at l e a s t i n i t i a l l y approximately the same sex t h a t he i s emboldened to ask f o r a job a g a i n s t the odds. In t h i s way, Catherine's androgyny would be i n p a r a l l e l with Etienne's own s t r u g g l e t o prove h i m s e l f a man. What b e t t e r way to r o m a n t i c a l l y l i n k a young couple both unsure of t h e i r 83 r e s p e c t i v e e r o t i c paths? The r e s t of Part I, Chapter 3 r e p r e s e n t s the p r o g r e s s i v e sharpening of a p r o j e c t e d image. In Etienne's mind Catherine s t a r t s out as a boy and i t i s not u n t i l the very end of the chapter t h a t t h i s misconception i s c o r r e c t e d . In f a c t , r e f e r e n c e i s made by Maheu i n the same chapter to the Company's with to s t a r t r e p l a c i n g females with male workers i n the mine; presumably t h i s i s an attempt by Zola at s o c i o l o g i c a l v e r i s i m i l i t u d e s i n c e female 2 8 mine l a b o r was e v e n t u a l l y banned i n France. But t h i s convenient and t i m e l y r e f e r e n c e of Maheu's i s i n accord with our b e l i e f i n the ephemerality of Catherine's gender: Not only i s Etienne r e p l a c i n g " l a grande Fleurance" (53) i n terms of employment, but he too i s subjected to some intermediacy i n gender. We note i n p a r t i c u l a r Zola's d e s c r i p t i o n of Etienne hard at work i n the mine a f t e r h i s b r i e f a p p r e n t i c e s h i p : "Sa p e t i t e t a i l l e l u i p e r m e t t a i t de se g l i s s e r p a r t o u t , et ses bras a v a i e n t beau e t r e f i n s et blancs comme ceux d'une femme, i l s p a r a i s s a i e n t en f e r sous l a peau d e l i c a t e , t e l l e m e n t i l s menaient rudement l a besogne" (152). Etienne i s not u n f a m i l i a r with the p h y s i c a l demands of backbreaking work; we conclude t h a t any p h y s i c a l s i g n s of androgyny i n him are thus m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of an i n t e g r a l p a r t of h i s c h a r a c t e r . Indeed, Zola goes t o some t r o u b l e t o make h i s meaning e x p l i c i t and unequivocal: Etienne's arms may look l i k e a woman's but they are i n f a c t s t e e l y and powerful. He may seem effeminate i n comparison 84 with Antoine Chaval or To u s s a i n t Maheu but the author's i n t e n t i s only to tease the reader with such n o t i o n s of dual s e x u a l i t y s i n c e the no v e l , read on a s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l , i s the p o l i t i c a l account of a young man's quest f o r h e r o i c s t a t u s . The s l i g h t e s t suggestion of androgyny i n t h i s hero serves t o make h i s f i n a l triumph i n v i r i l e manhood t h a t much more g l o r i o u s . Endowed with a g r e a t e r degree of s e n s i t i v i t y and i n s i g h t than h i s comrades, Etienne i s i n t h i s way a more a t t r a c t i v e p r o t a g o n i s t . Chapter 3 of Part I may i n a c t u a l f a c t be i n t e r p r e t e d as an account of Etienne's quest f o r Catherine's t r u e sexual i d e n t i t y . A f t e r she i n d i c a t e s t h a t Etienne i s about to be h i r e d on, he shakes her hand with joy, saying "vous etes un bon bougre, par exemple!" (54). Catherine's r e a c t i o n to t h i s case of mistaken gender i s one of amusement, s i m i l a r to Etienne's amused smile at the s i g h t of the extrabuxom La Mouquette and the widow D e s i r . T h i s i s one of the few moments i n the novel where a c h a r a c t e r i s indeed able to laugh o f f a s p e r s i o n s of gender c o n f u s i o n , however erroneous; i t i s a l s o one of the few occasions where Catherine i s secure i n her own p h y s i c a l s e x u a l i t y . (At t h i s p o i n t i n the n a r r a t i v e C a t h e r i n e has yet to become i n v o l v e d with Chaval, and i s s t i l l a v i r g i n . ) Compare t h i s nonchalance on her pa r t with her r e a c t i o n near the end of the n o v e l , a f t e r Etienne has fought and beaten Chaval at the Avantage and where Catherine d e c l a r e s her worthlessness: "Tu JTEtienneJ ne perds pas grand-chose, s i tu s a v a i s , q u e l l e patraque je 85 s u i s , guere plus grosse que deux sous de beurre, s i mal f i c h u e que je ne d e v i e n d r a i jamais une femme, bien sur!" (401). Catherine has come f u l l c i r c l e , from g e n d e r - r e l a t e d i n d i f f e r e n c e and amusement to s e l f - f l a g e l l a t i n g g u i l t . I t i s as i f she mistakenly blames h e r s e l f f o r her en v i r o n m e n t a l l y - r e t a r d e d p h y s i c a l immaturity. Even when Etienne i s pressed c l o s e l y a g a i n s t Catherine during the descent i n t o the p i t , he i s unable t o i n t e r p r e t her b o d i l y warmth as th a t of a female: "Qu'as-tu sous l a peau, a e t r e chaud comme ca?" (57). I t i s not u n t i l the ascent at the end of the workday t h a t Etienne f i n a l l y brushes a g a i n s t Cathe r i n e's budding b r e a s t s , r e a l i z i n g t h a t she i s i n f a c t a b o y i s h - l o o k i n g g i r l i n mining garb. When Catherine exclaims: "Mais o u i . . . V r a i ! tu y a mis l e temps!" (61), i t i s as i f she has been a r i d d l e t o which Etienne must f i n d a workable s o l u t i o n ; i t i s as i f h i s i n i t i a t i o n i n t o the subterranean world of h e l l - f i r e and b e s t i a l working c o n d i t i o n s n e c e s s i t a t e d a simultaneous i n t r o d u c t i o n to the mysteries of the androgyne. The d i s t u r b i n g i m p l i c a t i o n here i s t h a t , i n g e n e r a l , the androgynous f i g u r e i s i n h e r e n t l y a b e s t i a l and h e l l i s h one- corresponding t o the working c o n d i t i o n s underground-- and t h a t the androgynous woman, i n p a r t i c u l a r , i s a monstrous yet f a s c i n a t i n g s u b j e c t . In t h i s regard, one of Anna Krakowski's primary c o n c l u s i o n s i n her landmark f e m i n i s t study of Zola's works i s th a t " c e t t e a t t r i b u t i o n au sexe feminin des f a c u l t e s et d i s p o s i t i o n s du sexe masculin 86 2 9 e s t a l a base de toute sa conception de l a femme." Zola seems much more w i l l i n g to toy with female than with male androgyny; i t i s as i f he, as a man, f e l t a profound yet d i s t u r b i n g a t t r a c t i o n to the masculine s i d e of sexual f a n t a s i e s . C a t h e r i n e ' s boyishness, although t r o u b l i n g to Etienne, a l s o serves to heighten h i s e r o t i c i n t e r e s t i n her as a person: "Ces vetements de garcon, c e t t e veste et c e t t e c u l o t t e sur c e t t e c h a i r de f i l l e , l ' e x c i t a i e n t et l e genaient" (70). The l u r e of the androgyne rep r e s e n t s an a d d i t i o n a l temptation f o r Etienne to overcome s i n c e he does have the l a t e n t p r o p e n s i t y f o r homoerotic a r o u s a l . His triumphant murder of C h a v a l - - i n s e l f - d e f e n s e - - a n d h i s subsequent p r i s e de p o s s e s s i o n of C a t h e r i n e i n d i c a t e t h a t i n order f o r Etienne to a t t a i n h e r o i c s t a t u s and t r u e manhood, he must r e p u d i a t e sexual deviance i n h i s own l i f e by k i l l i n g h i s (homo)sexual r i v a l and engaging i n f u l l y p r o c r e a t i v e h e t e r o s e x u a l i n t e r c o u r s e . Female androgyny i s shown to be an " u n n a t u r a l " r e s u l t of having women perform tasks more e a s i l y performed by males; i t i s as i f Zola were condemning an e x p l o i t a t i v e c a p i t a l i s t p r a c t i c e with s i n i s t e r overtones of gender c o n f u s i o n and, consequently, s t e r i l i t y . We f e e l secure i n s t a t i n g t h a t w i t h i n the Germinalian u n i v e r s e , the s t e r i l i z a t i o n of a female c h a r a c t e r must be viewed both as a h i g h l y symbolic and t r a g i c a c t , and as a warning of the p o s s i b l e s t e r i l i z a t i o n and eventual disappearance of the "race" i n q u e s t i o n , the working c l a s s . In c o n t r a s t , La 87 Mouquette, who succeeds i n ma i n t a i n i n g her hyperfeminine physique d e s p i t e her own work i n the m i n e - - a l b e i t l e s s p h y s i c a l l y demanding work than C a t h e r i n e ' s - - i s one of the few exceptions t o t h i s Z o l i a n r u l e . Her s e x u a l i t y i s so r e s o l u t e and ov e r t t h a t even La Maheude, the Great P r o l e t a r i a n Mother who i s v i r t u a l l y f o r c e d underground a f t e r the death of her husband, looks "lamentable dans ses vetements d'homme" (495). In t h i s case, Zola seems to be lamenting the harsh r e a l i t y of poverty w i t h i n a s i n g l e - parent f a m i l y and one woman's attempt to overcome i t . Most of our d i s c u s s i o n of Dansaert and La Pierronne's i n t e r c l a s s r e l a t i o n s h i p f o l l o w s i n Chapter Four, but i t seems a p p r o p r i a t e to mention the r e a c t i o n of the g o s s i p - prone miners to the i l l i c i t a f f a i r of Dansaert and La Pier r o n n e . I t i s the l a t t e r who does most of the necessary dissembling and l y i n g , going so f a r as to d e c l a r e one day tha t she i s going o f f to v i s i t her female cousin i n Marchiennes. As Zola so wryly notes, "on p l a i s a n t a i t , car on l a c o n n a i s s a i t , l a cousine; e l l e a v a i t des moustaches, e l l e e t a i t maitre p o r i o n au Voreux" (163). Again, androgyny a l b e i t i n banal and humorous guise i s equated with sexual i m p r o p r i e t y and deviousness. On the whole, i t i s t h i s concept of deviousness which p r i m a r i l y c h a r a c t e r i z e s the de v i a n t i n matters of gender. I t i s i n f a c t owing to the deviousness and s u r r e p t i t i o u s n e s s of Souvarine the androgynous a n a r c h i s t t h a t the i n d u s t r i a l o p e r a t i o n s at the Montsou mines are 88 brought t o a c r a s h i n g h a l t . In the same way th a t Zola f r e q u e n t l y uses the a d j e c t i v e "grand" to d e s c r i b e Chaval and the term " s e r r e " when mentioning M. Hennebeau, that i s r e l e n t l e s s l y f o c u s i n g on the one t r a i t t h a t d i f f e r e n t i a t e s a p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r , the n o v e l i s t i s a l s o u n r e m i t t i n g i n hi s use of androgynous e p i t h e t s to d e s c r i b e the p h y s i c a l t r a i t s of Souvarine the m a c h i n i s t . " £uj n a i r de f i l l e " (155), "son visa g e de f i l l e blonde" (246), "ses mains d e l i c a t e s " (248), and "sa face blonde de f i l l e " (392) are only some of the ambiguous phrases t h a t the author uses to d r i v e home t h i s p o i n t . Souvarine i s androgynous, has no time f o r "normal" sexual r e l a t i o n s or marriage, and has but one focus, e x t e r m i n a t i o n . His p e r s o n a l i t y may not even be s i t u a t e d w i t h i n the n e u t r a l realm of s t e r i l i t y s i n c e he i s a c t i v e l y and shamelessly exterminatory, h e l l - b e n t on r a z i n g to the ground not only a l l the v e s t i g e s of m o n o p o l i s t i c c a p i t a l i s m ' s i n f r a s t r u c t u r e , but a l s o a l l those people f o o l i s h or h e l p l e s s enough to become the cogs i n the wheels of such i n d u s t r i a l e x p l o i t a t i o n . As asexual hero, Souvarine i s a maniacal t h r e a t t o the v a r i o u s p i l l a r s of p a t r i a r c h a l and i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y , most of which are supported by Z o l a . The n o v e l i s t once again e s t a b l i s h e s a f i x e d l i n k between the appearance and p h y s i c a l r e a l i t y of h i s c h a r a c t e r s , and t h e i r inner m o t i v a t i o n s and subsequent a c t s . Most of the c h a r a c t e r s i n Germinal are indeed l i k e books t h a t are p a r t i a l l y judgeable by t h e i r c o v e r s . I t i s only when Zola's f i g u r e s approach h e r o i c 89 s t a t u s t h a t they assume the complexity of p e r s o n a l i t y which g i v e s r i s e to l i t e r a r y v e r i s i m i l i t u d e . Despite these frequent manipulations by Zola of two- dimensional c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s - - t h e never-ending f u r y of La Brul e or the middle-of-the-road level-headedness of Rasseneur—some depth i s given t o Souvarine's a n a r c h i s t i c t e n d e n c i e s . Souvarine's e r o t i c p o i n t of departure i s the heartbreak r e s u l t i n g from the execution of h i s former w i f e - in-anarchy, Annouchka, hanged f o r her r o l e i n the bombing of a r a i l w a y l i n e used by the Russian Emperor. Souvarine draws the q u e s t i o n a b l e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t her execution i s the r e s u l t of a n t i e r o t i c cosmic vengeance as a r e s u l t of having betrayed the cause of p o l i t i c a l s u b v e r s i o n , r a t h e r than being the ex p r e s s i o n of s o c i e t y ' s contempt f o r bloody t e r r o r i s m : " C ' e t a i t notre p u n i t i o n . . . . Nous e t i o n s coupables de nous aimer" (438). Souvarine goes on to formulate h i s own v e r s i o n of a n t i - e r o t i c i s m i n even c l e a r e r terms: "Quand i l y a v a i t une femme dans l e coeur d'un homme, 1 ' homme e t a i t f i n i , i l pouvait mourir" (445 ). Anarchy i s not simply an e x i s t e n c e of chaste s t e r i l i t y l e d by an a n t i e r o t i c eunuch: Instead, i t i s the a c t i v e e x p r e s s i o n of the f o r c e s of e n t r o p i c d e s t r u c t i o n t h a t are busy at work i n Germinal. Souvarine i s hi m s e l f a p a r a l l e l m a n i f e s t a t i o n of the d e s t r u c t i v e s i d e of Gaea, i n much the same way as La Br u l e r e p r e s e n t s a human i n c a r n a t i o n of t e r r e s t r i a l b l o o d t h i r s t i n e s s . Consequently, Souvarine's a ct of sabotage i s a l s o i n p a r a l l e l with Maigrat's emasculation. 90 The i n d u s t r i a l saboteur i n e f f e c t c a s t r a t e s and emasculates the c r u c i a l machinery of i n d u s t r y , b l i n d to the human s u f f e r i n g accompanying the i m m o b i l i z a t i o n of the machine: "Ah! r i e n , n i parents, n i femme, n i ami! r i e n qui fasse trembler l a main, l e jour ou i l faudra prendre l a v i e des autres ou donner l a sienne!" (438). We a l s o note t h a t i t i s not u n t i l between three and four o'clock i n the afternoon t h a t the mining i n f r a s t r u c t u r e sabotaged by Souvarine a c t u a l l y begins t o be consumed by the very e a r t h i n t o which i t i s dug. Is i t c o i n c i d e n c e that B i b l i c a l accounts of C h r i s t ' s c r u c i f i x i o n g i v e the same hour as the time at which Jesus a c t u a l l y d i e d on the Cross? Perhaps Zola sees the almighty Machine as an economic Messiah f o r p r o f i t - c e n t e r e d i n d u s t r y ; a c c o r d i n g to t h i s c o n j e c t u r e , Souvarine's immolation of the mining equipment has resonances of c a p i t a l i s t c r u c i f i x i o n . Zola p a i n t s as i n s p i r e d a p o r t r a i t of the death of the Machine-as-Savior as he does of the budding pregnant Earth at the c o n c l u s i o n of the n o v e l : £ A | U fond de sa chambre eventree, on a p e r c e v a i t l a machine, a s s i s e carrement sur son massif de maconnerie: l e s c u i v r e s l u i s a i e n t , l e s gros membres d ' a c i e r a v a i e n t un a i r de muscles i n d e s t r u c t i b l e s , 1'enorme b i e l l e , r e p l i e e en l ' a i r , r e s s e m b l a i t au p u i s s a n t genou d'un geant, couche et t r a n q u i l l e dans sa f o r c e . . . . Des detonations s o u t e r r a i n e s e c l a t a i e n t , toute une a r t i l l e r i e monstrueuse canonnant l e g o u f f r e . . . . Et l 'on v i t l a machine, d i s l o q u e e sur son massif, l e s membres e c a r t e l e s , l u t t e r contre l a mort: e l l e marcha, e l l e d e t e n d i t sa b i e l l e , son genou de geante, comme pour se l e v e r ; mais e l l e e x p i r a i t , broyee, e n g l o u t i e . Seule, l a haute cheminee de t r e n t e metres r e s t a i t debout, secouee, p a r e i l l e a un mat dans l'ouragan. On c r o y a i t q u ' e l l e a l l a i t 91 s'emietter et v o l e r en poudre, l o r s q u e , tout d'un coup, e l l e s'enfonca d'un b l o c , bue par l a t e r r e , fondue a i n s i qu'un c i e r g e c o l o s s a l : et r i e n ne d e p a s s a i t , pas meme l a poi n t e du paratonnerre. ( 458 ) Even a cursory and s u p e r f i c i a l examination of the above passage r e v e a l s the desperate presence of the Monster l u r k i n g behind (or wi t h i n ) a h i g h l y e r o t i c Machine. T h i s i s Z o l i a n anthropomorphism at i t s f i n e s t . From the use of "membres" to d e s c r i b e the machine's p r o j e c t i o n s to the obvious "muscles" and the d i r e c t comparison t o the "puissant genou" of a g i a n t - - Z o l a uses both "geant" and "geante" i n the above q u o t a t i o n - - , the author i s f i n a l l y showing h i s hand. The great god of c a p i t a l may indeed r e s i d e i n some remote l o c a l e l i k e P a r i s , but i t s M i n o t a u r - l i k e , o g r e i s h t e r r e s t r i a l henchman i s very much i n the p h y s i c a l here and the immediate now. Furthermore, the presence of so many obvious p h a l l i c symbols--"la b i e l l e " , " l a haute cheminee", " l e mat", and " l e p a r a t o n n e r r e " — l e a d s us to conclude t h a t , at l e a s t on an e r o t i c l e v e l , the vor a c i o u s machine s u f f e r s much the same f a t e as the v o r a c i o u s and venal Maigrat. T h i s i s but one example of Zola's b r i l l i a n t e r o t i c l o g i c and symmetry as they are a p p l i e d throughout the n o v e l . S i m i l a r crimes m e r i t s i m i l a r punishments. In t h i s case, the corrup t e d p r o m i s c u i t y of both man and machine engender the f i n a l i t y of c a s t r a t i o n . Souvarine the emasculator f u l f i l l s h i s r o l e of a n a r c h i s t i c judge and m o r a l i s t . H i s , however, i s not a p a s s i v e , hands-off s t e r i l i t y l i k e t h a t of the p r o t o t y p i c a l l y bourgeois Gregoire f a m i l y but r a t h e r a 92 v i c i o u s damn-the-consequences act of s o c i a l t e r r o r i s m which he l i k e n s to a necessary s a c r i f i c e meant to appease Gaea and b r i n g about an overdue renewal of the E a r t h : "Oh! du sang, murmura-t-il, qu'est-ce que ca f a i t ? l a t e r r e en a b e s o i n " (247). Compare t h i s with Zola's d e s c r i p t i o n of the f a t e t h a t b e f a l l s N i c o l a s Maheu, Bonnemort's own grandfather: " N i c o l a s Maheu d i t l e Rouge, age de quarante ans a peine, e t a i t r e s t e dans l e Voreux, que l'on f o n c a i t en ce temps- l a : un eboulement, un aplatissement complet, l e sang bu et l e s os avales par l e s roches" ( 37-38 ). Is the death of N i c o l a s the (blood-)Red merely an e a r l y s a c r i f i c e to monstrous c a p i t a l or does t h i s b l o o d - l e t t i n g indeed have a dual nature? Zola r e f e r s to "cent s i x ans d'abattage" (38) as being the encapsulated g e n e a l o g i c a l h i s t o r y of the Maheu c l a n . The author's use of "abattage" i s r e v e a l i n g s i n c e the term i s c o n v e n i e n t l y m u l t i v o c a l i n French, meaning the s l a u g h t e r of animals, the f e l l i n g of t r e e s , and the p h y s i c a l e x t r a c t i n g of mineral r e s o u r c e s . Zola i s simultaneously able t o r e f e r t o 1 0 6 years of e x p l o i t a t i v e i n d u s t r y and 106 years of human s a c r i f i c e and s u f f e r i n g , and the two concepts are i n e x t r i c a b l y l i n k e d . In m y t h i c a l terms we are d e a l i n g with two monsters: the ogre of c a p i t a l i n c o n j u n c t i o n and i n c o n f r o n t a t i o n with the monstrously d e s t r u c t i v e yet p u r i f i c a t o r y aspects of Gaea. As Zola shows, i n the end there can be no c o n t e s t : Man-made monsters cannot hope to win a g a i n s t the "monstrous" f o r c e s of expurgation and depuration at work w i t h i n the 93 Earth i t s e l f . Souvarine's own monstrousness stems from h i s p h y s i c a l androgyny; yet we f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to extend t h i s androgynous d u a l i t y i n t o the d i f f e r e n t but r e l a t e d realms of b i - and homosexuality. I t i s t r u e t h a t Souvarine's own p h y s i c a l androgyny i s p a r a l l e l e d by h i s a t t i t u d e s towards women: "La femme e t a i t pour l u i un garcon, un camarade, quand e l l e a v a i t l a f r a t e r n i t e et l e courage d'un homme" (156). But h i s a t t i t u d e i s more one of t o t a l i n d i f f e r e n c e to s e x u a l i t y than i t i s to one of p o t e n t i a l homoeroticism. A l s o , we must keep i n mind the soothing e f f e c t t h a t the constant companionship of the r a b b i t Pologne has on Souvarine. In f a c t , i t i s through the r a b b i t t h a t he i s shown as s e n s i t i v e to female warmth and comfort, d e s p i t e h i s i d e o l o g i c a l p r o t e s t a t i o n s to the c o n t r a r y . Female animal charms serve to attenuate some of the more gruesome and f r i g h t e n i n g aspects of Souvarine's persona which come to the f o r e when h i s a n a r c h i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s are put to the t e s t : "En p a r l a n t , Souvarine devenait t e r r i b l e . Une extase l e s o u l e v a i t sur sa c h a i s e , une flamme mystique s o r t a i t de ses yeux p a l e s , et ses mains d e l i c a t e s e t r e i g n a i e n t l e bord de l a t a b l e , a l a b r i s e r " (248). Zola again r e f e r s to human eyes as being windows l o o k i n g i n t o a h e l l i s h inner f i r e and j u s t as Etienne's arms are l i k e n e d t o those of a female, a l b e i t while having the hidden power of s t e e l , so too are Souvarine's hands c a l l e d d e l i c a t e , even though they have the necessary s t r e n g t h t o break a t a b l e or saw through mining 94 equipment. We p r e f e r to i n t e r p r e t Souvarine's inner f i r e as being the h e l l c r e a t e d by all-consuming revenge r a t h e r than the h e l l of T a r t a r u s which s p e c i f i c a l l y burns f o r those " v i l a i n e s f i l l e s " (70) g u i l t y of homosexual a c t s . Zola's a l l u s i o n t o Souvarine's s t r e n g t h and i n t e n s i t y i s meant not only t o lend credence to h i s subsequent i n t r i c a t e l y performed act of sabotage, but a l s o t o provide a p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y masculine c o u n t e r p o i n t to h i s p h y s i c a l effeminacy. In the words of C a r o l F u l l e r , t h i s psychosexual complexity serves to underscore "a c u r i o u s symbiotic r e l a t i o n s h i p of opposing f i g u r e s — r a b b i t and a n a r c h i s t , c r e a t o r and d e s t r o y e r . " ^ A f i n a l proof of Souvarine's d e s t r u c t i v e a s e x u a l i t y i s h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with the depraved J e a n l i n , who i s the f i r s t to c o n s i d e r e a t i n g Pologne, an a c t i o n which Souvarine himsel f e v e n t u a l l y performs. J e a n l i n i s d e s c r i b e d as suddenly overcome by the d e s i r e to t o t a l l y consume and c a n n i b a l i s t i c a l l y a n n i h i l a t e t h i s symbol of female v u l n e r a b i l i t y and f e r t i l i t y : "une c o n v o i t i s e l u i v e n a i t de l'emporter et de l a manger" (280). However, Souvarine does r e a c t with dismay upon hearing t h a t Pologne i s a c t u a l l y i n the stew without h i s knowledge and t h a t he i s i n a d v e r t e n t l y h e l p i n g t o eat the one l i v i n g c r e a t u r e with which he s t i l l maintained seminormal r e l a t i o n s . S y m b o l i c a l l y , however, Souvarine as devourer of the novel's primary f e r t i l i t y symbol i s e n t i r e l y i n keeping with h i s f u n c t i o n of a p o c a l y p t i c and a n t i f e r t i l e a n a r c h i s t . I t i s through the 95 v u l n e r a b l e feminine f e r t i l i t y of Pologne t h a t J e a n l i n and Souvarine are l i n k e d . C l e a r l y , then, we as readers cannot help but recog n i z e the Z o l i a n p i c t u r e of androgyne as h i g h l y dangerous s u b v e r s i v e . As C o l i n Smethurst s t a t e s , Souvarine, l i k e E tienne, walks out of the novel at the end. He has been r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the cataclysm and by the very enormity of h i s a c t has taken on my t h i c a l p r o p o r t i o n s . By h i s im p l i e d continued presence i n s o c i e t y and the t o t a l mystery of h i s u l t i m a t e d e s t i n a t i o n he re p r e s e n t s most c l e a r l y the f i g u r e intended to induce the shudder wanted the m i d d l e - c l a s s reader to experience. Within and even beyond t h i s mysterious danger of the s e x u a l l y ambiguous we encounter the even more dangerously and n e g a t i v e l y - c h a r g e d c o n d i t i o n of the t r u e homosexual, an e r o t i c o r i e n t a t i o n t h a t the author r e f u s e s to name d i r e c t l y or d e s c r i b e i n any d e t a i l whatsoever. In the words of Naomi Schor, "Zola, t h a t f e a r l e s s i c o n o c l a s t , drew the l i n e at overt r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of male homosexuality. . . . [ t l hus Zola's women are connected with the author's ( l a t e n t ) homosexuality i n two ways: f i r s t , male homosexuality i s transcoded i n t o female homosexuality; second, the women 32 separate the men from the men." I t i s only through a process of a l l u s i o n and i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t Zola manages to weave the homosexual st r a n d i n t o h i s n a r r a t i v e . I t i s because of t h i s u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c Z o l i a n sexual c i r c u m s p e c t i o n — i n some ways h i g h l y i r o n i c w i t h i n such an e r o t i c a l l y - c e n t e r e d n o v e l , y e t , i n other ways v i t a l l y n e c e s s a r y - - t h a t the reader i s o b l i g e d to undertake an 96 unconscious process of t e x t u a l t r a n s c o d i n g and decoding i n order t o gain i n s i g h t i n t o the author's a t t i t u d e towards homosexuality i n Germinal. The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the geo g r a p h i c a l s e t t i n g of the Montsou mine pr o v i d e us with the f i r s t c l u e s necessary f o r a homoerotic reading of p a r t s of the no v e l , which opens with a c h i l l i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of the wintry and f a l l o w landscape of the mining country of northern France. I t i s an i n t r o d u c t i o n to " l a p l a i n e r a s e " (31), bleak, black, and God-forsaken. The author immediately c r e a t e s resonances with the B i b l i c a l account of God's d e s t r u c t i o n of the a n c i e n t c i t i e s of Sodom and Gomorrha, o s t e n s i b l y as a r e s u l t 33 of sexual misconduct. These are a l s o c i t i e s on a p l a i n , c i t i e s which a c c o r d i n g to t r a d i t i o n a l l y narrow B i b l i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n were razed because of immoral e r o t i c d e p r a v i t y . The s t e r i l e and foreboding mise en scene which i n t r o d u c e s the n a r r a t i v e i s Zola's way of saying t h a t t h i s i s indeed a p l a c e of wickedness, too. From the very o u t s e t , homosexuality, the "crime" of Sodom, and moral wickedness are equated i n much the same way i n Germinal as they are i n the Old Testament. T h i s c i t i e s of the p l a i n motif i s repeated throughout the n o v e l . For example, Zola r e f e r s t o a wave of people being l i k e so many ants, "perdues dans l a nudi t e rase de l a p l a i n e " (168); the e r o t i c connection between n u d i t y and punishment i s made c l e a r i n t h i s i n s t a n c e . A f t e r the massacre at the hands of the Emperor's t r o o p s , the p r i e s t 97 Ranvier " a p p e l a i t sur l e s a s s a s s i n s l a c o l e r e de Dieu . . . [et^ l a prochaine extermination de l a b o u r g e o i s i e par l e feu de c i e l " (422). Here, r e t r i b u t i o n i s s p e c i f i c a l l y l i n k e d to bourgeois i d l e n e s s , excess, and inhumanity. F i n a l l y , the f l o o d e d Voreux mine i s compared to "ces l a c s sous l e s q u e l s dorment des v i l l e s maudites" (459). In t h i s case, not only i s cosmic punishment a l s o r e m i n i s c e n t of the F l o o d - - i t s e l f a d i v i n e punishment f o r human wickedness--, but d i v i n e vengeance has swung from the general to the h i g h l y s p e c i f i c , from the whole country shown i n h i b e r n a l mourning to the Voreux mine as a l i g h t n i n g rod f o r God's sulphurous wrath. How then may we account f o r the anomaly e x i s t i n g between r e t r i b u t i o n f o l l o w i n g (homo)sexual d e p r a v i t y and r e t r i b u t i o n taken as a r e s u l t of i n d u s t r i a l i n d i f f e r e n c e to environmental rape and d e s t r u c t i o n ? What we must take i n t o account i s " l e coup de b e s t i a l i t e qui s o u f f l a i t dans l a f o s s e " (66), t h i s f e r a l p r i m i t i v i s m which f u r t h e r reduces the working-class to the rank of b r u t e s . The human beast i s aroused and provoked by the u n w i l l i n g n e s s of the Company to take the workers' p h y s i c a l , p s y c h o l o g i c a l , and moral w e l l - b e i n g i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n . Zola's q u e s t i o n , although l e f t unposed, i s t h i s : How can i n d u s t r y spend such s t a g g e r i n g sums on development and c a p i t a l investments, and so l i t t l e on the people who g i v e t h e i r l i v e s i n (and f o r ) the mines. Why do mechanical resources take such precedence over human ones? I t i s i n t h i s way t h a t i n d u s t r i a l i n d i f f e r e n c e g i v e s 98 simultaneous r i s e t o b r u t a l human passions as w e l l as to cosmic f u r y . Do the workers s l i d e of t h e i r own accord i n t o degeneracy, of which homosexuality i s both B i b l i c a l and Germinalian symbol, or are they dragged i n t o debauchery by the poisonous system t h a t enslaves them so completely? In "Les Rougon-Macquart" d'Emile Z o l a , Maarten Van Buuren concludes t h a t s o c i a l degeneracy was at the heart of much of Zola's e r o t i c ethos: "Le changement de sexe symbolise en premier l i e u l a degenerescence que Zola c o n s i d e r e comme 3 4 c a r a c t e r i s t i q u e de 1 ' epoque du Second Empire." We assume th a t a change of sexual o r i e n t a t i o n would be c o n s i s t e n t with t h i s Z o l i a n philosophy of degeneracy. Gaea' s r e b e l l i o n i n Germinal i s indeed d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t a b l e to i n d u s t r i a l excess: "sous l e c i e l l i v i d e , dans l e jour bas de cet apres-midi d ' h i v e r , i l semblait que tout l e n o i r du Voreux, toute l a p o u s s i e r e v o l a n t e de l a h o u i l l e se f u t abattue sur l a p l a i n e , poudrant l e s a r b r e s , s a b l a n t l e s ro u t e s , ensemencant l a t e r r e " (90). I t i s i n t h i s passage t h a t c o a l dust, the seed or sperm of the male- f o r c e mining o p e r a t i o n , i s sown/driven i n t o the barren female e a r t h . Yet t h i s i s not the p r o c r e a t i v e and m i l k y - white sperm t h a t we as humans know. Instead, t h i s i s machine seed, the blackened and o i l y soot of p u l v e r i z e d c o a l , p r e v a l e n t and carbonous but u l t i m a t e l y poisonous and cancerous. T h i s i s the s q u a l i d heart of p e r v e r s i o n w i t h i n the Germinalian cosmos; i t i s as i f i n d u s t r i a l f e c a l by- products were s u p p l a n t i n g n a t u r a l human c r e a t i v e j u i c e s i n a 99 r i t u a l i z e d and bloody rape of the Earth's c r u s t . I t i s thus a c o l d and b e s t i a l wind t h a t attempts to d r i v e t h i s misguided p o l l u t a n t i n t o the t e m p o r a r i l y dormant p l a n e t . T h i s i s how the "coup de b e s t i a l i t e " i s able to reach i n t o the mines and d i s t o r t the behavior of the miners i n general and the c a r t g i r l s i n p a r t i c u l a r . J u s t as the miners s u f f e r from a whole panoply of p h y s i c a l ailments because of t h e i r exposure t o c o a l dust and noxious fumes, so too i s t h i s poisonous presence r e f l e c t e d i n acts of "stunted" or non- p r o c r e a t i v e s e x u a l i t y . I t i s f o r t h i s reason t h a t Zola c r e a t e s the T a r t a r e t r e g i o n of Montsou, the Germinalian e q u i v a l e n t of the Greek m y t h o l o g i c a l h e l l of h e l l s , T a r t a r u s , l o c a t e d as f a r below Hades as the Earth i s from Heaven, and bounded by the burning stream Phlegethon, a r i v e r of m e t a l l i c f i r e : Le T a r t a r e t , a l a l i s i e r e du b o i s , e t a i t une lande i n c u l t e , d'une s t e r i l i t e v o l c a n i q u e , sous l a q u e l l e , depuis des s i e c l e s , b r u l a i t une mine de h o u i l l e i n c e n d i e e . Cela se p e r d a i t dans l a legende, des mineurs du pays r a c o n t a i e n t une h i s t o i r e : l e feu du c i e l tombant sur c e t t e Sodome des e n t r a i l l e s de l a t e r r e , ou l e s herscheuses se s o u i l l a i e n t d'abominations; s i bien q u ' e l l e s n'avaient pas meme eu l e temps de remonter, et qu'aujourd'hui encore, e l l e s flambaient au fond de cet e n f e r . Les roches c a l c i n e e s , rouge sombre, se co u v r a i e n t d'une e f f l o r e s c e n c e d'alun, comme d'une l e p r e . Du souf r e p o u s s a i t , en une f l e u r jaune, au bord des f i s s u r e s . La n u i t , l e s braves qui o s a i e n t r i s q u e r un o e i l a ces t r o u s , j u r a i e n t y v o i r des flammes, l e s ames c r i m i n e l l e s en t r a i n de g r e s i l l e r dans l a b r a i s e i n t e r i e u r e . Des lueurs e r r a n t e s c o u r a i e n t au ras du s o l , des vapeurs chaudes, empoissonnant l ' o r d u r e et l a s a l e c u i s i n e du d i a b l e , fumaient c o n t i n u e l l e m e n t . E t , a i n s i qu'un m i r a c l e d ' e t e r n e l printemps, au m i l i e u de c e t t e lande maudite du T a r t a r e t , l a Cote-Verte se d r e s s a i t avec ses gazons t o u j o u r s v e r t s , ses hetres dont l e s f e u i l l e s se r e n o u v e l a i e n t sans 100 cesse, ses champs ou m u r i s s a i e n t jusqu'a t r o i s r e c o l t e s . C ' e t a i t une s e r r e n a t u r e l l e , chauffee par 1' i n c e n d i e des couches profondes. Jamais l a neige n'y s e j o u r n a i t . L'enorme bouquet de verdure, a cote des arbres d e p o u i l l e s de l a f o r e t , s ' e p a n o u i s s a i t dans c e t t e journee de decembre, sans que l a gelee en eut meme r o u s s i l e s bords. ( 303 ) Zola uses t h i s passage to make the Sodom-Tartaret connection q u i t e p l a i n . As Van Buuren has pointed out, "ce passage est 1'un des r a r e s e n d r o i t s ou l e contenu mythique a p p a r a i t a l a s u r f a c e thematique du roman, au l i e u d 'etre r e f o u l e au niveau m e t a p h o r i q u e . " ^ However, i t i s upon d e s c r i p t i o n s of a s p e c i f i c a l l y female Gomorrha that the author a c t u a l l y f o c u s e s . E i t h e r male homosexuality as a p e r i o d taboo would have been too "shocking" f o r Zola's predominately male r e a d e r s h i p to contemplate, or e l s e the choice of females as homosexual " v i c t i m s " i s made to show how i n d u s t r i a l wastes have m e t a p h o r i c a l l y i n v e r t e d the c h i l d - b e a r i n g p o r t i o n of humanity. The "coup de b e s t i a l i t e " has thus l e d women i n t o the temptation of "choses qu'on n ' o s a i t pas r e p e t e r " (306). Zola's use of the words " s o u i l l a i e n t " , "abominations", " l e p r e " , " c r i m i n e l l e s " , " e n f e r " , and " d i a b l e " i n d i c a t e s a moral agenda ac c o r d i n g to which homosexuality i s equated with f i l t h , d i s e a s e , c r i m i n a l i t y , and d i a b o l i s m . T h i s d e p i c t i o n of h e l l i s h punishment s p e c i f i c a l l y meted out f o r l e s b i a n s goes beyond mere d e s c r i p t i o n of women who have turned t h e i r backs on s t r i c t l y p r o c r e a t i v e sexual p r a c t i c e s and i n s t e a d verges on the judgmental and the paranoid. In r e a l i t y , Zola d i d i n f a c t harbor some i r r a t i o n a l f e a r s 101 towards (male) homosexuals, perhaps e x p l a i n i n g h i s eagerness to condemn homosexuality i n females through t r a n s c o d i n g : "J'en a i rencontre dans l e monde, et j'eprouve a l e u r s e r r e r l a main une r e p u l s i o n i n s t i n c t i v e que j ' a i quelque peine a 3 6 dominer." I t i s c l e a r t h a t same-sex love i s one of the most grievous "crimes" to be judged i n the Germinalian courtroom. I t i s as i f the e x p r e s s i o n of human homosexuality were i n d e f i a n c e of both the C h r i s t i a n God and of Gaea h e r s e l f . As such, homosexuality i s e s p e c i a l l y v u l n e r a b l e to Z o l i a n v i t r i o l i c excess. P h i l i p p e Lejeune's a n a l y s i s of the d e s c r i p t i o n of Le T a r t a r e t quoted above r e f e r s t o the "germ" w i t h i n Nature: "Le germe n'est plus l e g r a i n fecond, mais l e microbe ou l e v i r u s q u ' i l f a u t e x t i r p e r . M . Lejeune's metaphorical treatment i s apt, yet he f a i l s t o i s o l a t e the i m p l i c i t Z o l i a n connection between homosexuality and moral " s i c k n e s s " and "degeneracy". His a n a l y s i s of Le T a r t a r e t and La Cote-Verte i s thus t i m i d and c r i t i c a l l y c ircumspect: d e s p i t e Zola's d i r e c t r e f e r e n c e to Sodom, Lejeune does not even broach the s u b j e c t of homosexuality. Despite t h i s e a g e r l y homophobic v i n d i c t i v e n e s s on the p a r t of the n o v e l i s t — p e r h a p s owing to Zola having been 3 8 homosexually a s s a u l t e d as a very young boy --the moral " a b e r r a t i o n " of homosexuality i s p a r a l l e d by the "unnatural" g e o p h y s i c a l anomaly of La Cote-Verte, the small region of boundless f e r t i l i t y which remains l e a f y and green even as the n e ighboring f i e l d s l a y deep i n snow. La Cote-Verte i s 102 l o c a t e d d i r e c t l y above the underground i n f e r n o of Le T a r t a r e t i n much the same way as the C h r i s t i a n Heaven i s above H e l l or as Mount Olympus i s "above" Hades. I t i s indeed the apogee of Z o l i a n symbolism when the prime example of n a t u r a l t e r r e s t r i a l f e r t i l i t y and redemption i s superposed upon the nether regions of human sexual d e p r a v i t y : f e r t i l i t y thus emancipates the decadent dweller of barren h e l l . T h i s "green" r e g i o n i s not only the n o v e l i s t ' s way of le n d i n g a degree of geographical 39 v e r i s i m i l i t u d e to h i s l i t e r a r y s e t t i n g / but may be Zola's way of p r o v i d i n g s a l v a t i o n f o r h i s c h a r a c t e r s , no matter how bent they are. In the end, however, Zola i s a l l too conscious of homosexuality's e q u i v o c a l h e r i t a g e of m o r a l i s t i c r e p r e s s i o n , f e a r , and ignorance, and r e f u s e s to push h i s e r o t i c r a d i c a l i s m (or iconoclasm) i n t o overt d e s c r i p t i o n s — l e t alone a d e f e n s e — o f homosexual l o v e . I t i s ignorance which a l s o t y p i f i e s many Germinalian c h a r a c t e r s ' a t t i t u d e s towards p r o m i s c u i t y ; i n f a c t , there e x i s t s a c l e a r l y d e f i n e d s p l i t i n terms of values held by d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l c l a s s e s on t h i s s u b j e c t . In the same way tha t l e s b i a n i s m i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n of human " p e r v e r s i t y " and s u f f e r i n g , so too i s p r o m i s c u i t y p r i m a r i l y a t t r i b u t a b l e to the d e l i b e r a t e overcrowding of miners and t h e i r f a m i l i e s i n t i n y apartments "qui sentent l e b e t a i l humain" (40). The famous "coup de b e s t i a l i t e " g i v e s r i s e not only t o l a t e n t homoerotic impulses, but a l s o r e f e r s t o " l e d e s i r s u b i t du male lorsqu'un mineur r e n c o n t r a i t une de ces f i l l e s a quatre 103 p a t t e s " (66-67); once again, "partes" r e i n f o r c e s the Z o l i a n n o t i o n of human e r o t i c a n i m a l i t y . T h i s a n i m a l i t y i s a l s o evidenced by the promiscuous sharing of t o i l e t f a c i l i t i e s : "La r e v o l t a n t e p r o m i s c u i t e s ' a g g r a v a i t , avec 1' empoisonnement des h a l e i n e s , 1'ordure des besoins s a t i s f a i t s en commun" (482). O v e r a l l , p r o m i s c u i t y and overcrowding may e i t h e r by symptoms of human s u f f e r i n g - e s p e c i a l l y when spreading d i s e a s e - - , an obvious i n d i c a t i o n of boundless l i b i d o - - a s i n the cases of La Mouquette and the widow D e s i r - - , or a m a n i f e s t a t i o n of c o r r u p t i o n and d e p r a v i t y - - a s with Maigrat and, to a s l i g h t l y l e s s e r extent, Mme Hennebeau. P r o m i s c u i t y , however, does not n e c e s s a r i l y imply or guarantee f e r t i l i t y . One could argue that La Mouquette i s shot "dans l e ven t r e " (421) because, although s e x u a l l y h y p e r a c t i v e , she f a i l s t o prove her f e r t i l i t y by g i v i n g b i r t h . In a l l of these s c e n a r i o s , however, the Z o l i a n sexual e t h i c of heterosexual nondeviance through monogamy r e i g n s supreme. Pr o m i s c u i t y i s immature and second best s i n c e i t i s only sanctioned by Zola i n i t s y o u t h f u l experimental phase as a prelude t o the commitment of marriage. I t i s through Zola's complex analyses and d e p i c t i o n s of human sexual deviance t h a t the Germinalian u n i v e r s e u n f o l d s . These d e v i a t i o n s are symptomatic of an i n d u s t r i a l s o c i e t y i n d e c l i n e , o p e r a t i n g without p r i n c i p l e s and guided s o l e l y by the maximization of p r o f i t s at great human c o s t . I t i s a l s o through Zola's c o n t r a d i c t o r y p i c t u r e of human sexual f o i b l e s 104 that h i s own c o n t r a d i c t o r y nature as a m o r a l i s t i s u n v e i l e d . While he shows himself to be l i b e r a l and i n n o v a t i v e on some o c c a s i o n s — e s p e c i a l l y i n h i s j o y f u l p o r t r a i t s of y o u t h f u l sexual abandon--, on other occasions he seems even more c o n s e r v a t i v e and repressed than h i s contemporaries i n nineteenth century French s o c i e t y , as evinced by h i s harsh a l l u s i o n s to homosexual s u f f e r i n g . Zola sees the phenomenon of sexual deviance and the attainment of sexual freedom as u l t i m a t e l y being r e g u l a t e d more by the c r e a t i v e and d e s t r u c t i v e elements of Mother Nature than by the l e g a l s t r i c t u r e s of J u d a e o - C h r i s t i a n c u l t u r e . Sexual acts of deviance tend towards the s t e r i l e , the u n f e r t i l e , or the a n t i f e r t i l e . These non- p r o c r e a t i v e a c t s are performed by asexuals, b i s e x u a l s , homosexuals, androgynes, a d u l t e r e r s , and those g u i l t y of incestuous conduct; they i n c i t e the wrath of Gaea even though these a c t i o n s are very o f t e n the r e s u l t of Germinalian human adaptions to a poisonous and i n d u s t r i a l world. S i m i l a r l y , p r o s t i t u t i o n i s a symbolic m a n i f e s t a t i o n of female subjugation to p a t r i a r c h a l d e s i r e . A d u l t e r y i s the preserve of the desperate and the l o v e l e s s , couched mainly i n terms of female revenge a g a i n s t male impotence or weakness of w i l l . I ncest i s a fundamental human temptation; androgyny i s i n d i c a t i v e of monstrous deviousness, i n n e r weakness, or " u n n a t u r a l " female s t r e n g t h ; and homosexuality i s l i n k e d t o the abhorrent p r a c t i c e s of h e l l - d e s t i n e d s i n n e r s . P r o m i s c u i t y , although r i t u a l l y s anctioned as a f e r t i l i t y r i t e , i s symptomatic of the 105 mammalian d e - e v o l u t i o n of humankind. Zola's p i c t u r e of e r o t i c deviance i s d i v e r s e , c o n t r a d i c t o r y , l a r g e l y negative, and v i r t u a l l y complete. M i t t e r a n d maintains t h a t c r i t i c i s m s of the novel's own deviance or scandalousness are only c o r r e c t i n s o f a r as the novel does s h a t t e r the complacency of bourgeois m o r a l i t y , p r i m a r i l y parce que son topos g u e r r i e r et cataclysmique d e t r u i t l e doxa des r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s admises, l e s esperances de p a c i f i c a t i o n s o c i a l e , l e s i l e n c e sur l a l u t t e des c l a s s e s . II arrache l e l e c t e u r a toute s e c u r i t e durable, tout autant 4q.u' i l l e f a i t j o u i r de n'a v o i r eu peur qu'en reve. Through h i s r e v o l u t i o n a r y p o r t r a i t s of human sexual deviance from i d e a l i z e d behavior, Zola proves h i m s e l f to be a s k i l l e d manipulator of human neuroses and f e a r s . 106 CHAPTER FOUR EROTICISM AND CLASS REVOLUTION Germinal i s about the r e v o l u t i o n of the wo r k i n g - c l a s s - as represented by a group of s t r i k i n g c o a l m i n e r s — a g a i n s t the long-standing tyranny of the b o u r g e o i s i e . What give s t h i s r e b e l l i o n a p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t y i s the undercurrent of e r o t i c i s m t h at permeates almost a l l of Zola's c h a r a c t e r s and s e t t i n g s . As a member of the middle c l a s s , the author would presumably be hard pressed not to l e t h i s own c l a s s p e r c e p t i o n s and b i a s e s c o l o r h i s n a r r a t i v e . In f a c t , i t i s very much i n keeping with h i s own s o c i a l standing t h a t Zola p a i n t s a p i c t u r e of such outrageous bourgeois consumerism, m a t e r i a l i s m , and s t e r i l i t y , and t h a t the author c r e a t e s such a long l i s t of pugnacious and v u l g a r c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s t o round out h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the oppressed working c l a s s . What i s most s u r p r i s i n g i s Zola's i n s i s t e n c e on t r a n s f e r r i n g s t e r e o t y p i c a l bourgeois sexual values t o some of h i s p r o l e t a r i a n c h a r a c t e r s . In t h i s regard, at l e a s t , Zola i s t r u l y r e v o l u t i o n a r y . As Hugh Kenner observes: 107 When you s a i d "bourgeois" i n the nineteenth century, you were l e t t i n g i r r i t a t i o n show. It was the word f o r people you d i s l i k e d , who were i n f e r i o r t o you but not i n f e r i o r enough. So "bourgeois" came to mean a l l t h a t Matthew Arnold meant by " p h i l i s t i n e , " and more. I t became an a l l purpose s l u r . L i k e the t r e e toad and the swamp adder, the "bourgeois" i s named f o r h i s h a b i t a t , the "bourg"; he's an urban i r r i t a n t , l i k e the t r a f f i c jam. Whether a f f l u e n t or threadbare, hearty or p a l e , he i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e s m e d i o c r i t y . The s a t i s f a c t i o n s he craves, e r o t i c or a e s t h e t i c , w i l l be above a l l undemanding, r e a s s u r i n g . I t i s not only d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l c l a s s e s that are i n c o n f l i c t i n Zola's novel but the e r o t i c codes to which these c l a s s e s s u b s c r i b e are themselves opposed, although not always as d i a m e t r i c a l l y . Despite the vast d i f f e r e n c e s i n sexual behavior demonstrated w i t h i n the b o u r g e o i s i e and the p r o l e t a r i a t , there a l s o e x i s t great personal d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h i n each s o c i a l group and there i s some o v e r l a p between t h e i r d i v e r g e n t e r o t i c systems, thereby c r e a t i n g the human commonality which a f f o r d s Etienne L a n t i e r the o p p o r t u n i t y of r i s i n g above the s o c i a l l i m i t a t i o n s of h i s working-class o r i g i n s . At the same time, although s e v e r a l bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s f a i l t o r e p u d i a t e the m a t e r i a l advantages enjoyed i n l i f e , they do attempt to cross the e r o t i c d i v i d e s e p a r a t i n g the two c l a s s e s . One of Zola's primary theses i n Germinal i s t h a t the processes of embourgeoisement/declassement are v i r t u a l l y i m p ossible to complete, a t l e a s t i n e r o t i c terms. In t h i s sense, the author i s an e r o t i c " s e g r e g a t i o n i s t " who works under the assumption t h a t t h i s g u l f s h a l l never be bridged i n any r e a l or l a s t i n g way. 108 Zola shows the reader of h i s novel i n t o a universe fraught with paradoxes. On a deeper l e v e l , the quest f o r freedom undertaken by the miners i s a l s o an unconscious search f o r e r o t i c transcendence or, c o n v e r s e l y , l i b e r a t i o n from the p r i s o n of e r o t i c i s m . Zola shows many of the miners obsessed with sex, promiscuously s a t i s f y i n g t h e i r amorous d e s i r e s l i k e so many animals i n heat, whenever and wherever the f e e l i n g s t r i k e s them. In comparison, the bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s i n the novel on the whole have much greater m o b i l i t y , broader e d u c a t i o n a l and c u l t u r a l o p p o r t u n i t i e s , v a s t l y more e x t e n s i v e f i n a n c i a l resources and much more e f f e c t i v e p o l i t i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n than the working c l a s s . Yet, as i f to o f f s e t t h i s embarrassment of r i c h e s , the b o u r g e o i s i e i s e i t h e r s e x u a l l y represeed to a very high degree or e r o t i c a l l y perverse and c o r r u p t . These middle- c l a s s c h a r a c t e r s are shown as p r i s o n e r s i n t h e i r own r i g h t , trapped by s t e r i l e consumerism and banal r e l a t i o n s h i p s . In some i r o n i c ways, they are l e s s f r e e - - " n a t u r a l l y " speaking- than the p r o l e t a r i a t they o s t e n s i b l y oppress and imprison. There are two phenomena to be r e c o n c i l e d : f i r s t , the b o u r g e o i s i e looks upon the working c l a s s as e x a c t i n g the revenge of the c r a d l e by m u l t i p l y i n g i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y , not only out of ignorance, but a l s o out of the sheer unconscious d e s i r e t o become n u m e r i c a l l y predominant; second, premature motherhood was one of the primary causes of poverty i n the n i n e t e e n t h century (and i n f a c t continues to be so i n the inner c i t i e s of North America today), c o n t r i b u t i n g to f a t i g u e , i l l n e s s , overcrowding, apathy, and v i o l e n c e amongst 109 poor f a m i l i e s . How do we r e s o l v e the d i f f e r e n c e between bourgeois f e a r s of the r e v o l u t i o n a r y p o t e n t i a l i n p r o l e t a r i a n h y p e r f e r t i l i t y with the t i r i n g r e a l i t i e s of the day-to-day s t r a i n of o v e r p o p u l a t i o n and hunger? As Germaine Greer so c a n d i d l y observes, "perhaps what we r e a l l y f e a r from the exploding p o p u l a t i o n s of the world i s t h a t they w i l l c h a l l e n g e the s u p e r i o r i t y of our own subgroup and compromise our s u r v i v a l as the b i g g e s t , r i c h e s t , g r e e d i e s t 42 and the most numerous group on e a r t h . " In p a i n s t a k i n g l y r e s e a r c h i n g Germinal, Zola f a m i l i a r i z e d h i m s e l f with v i r t u a l l y a l l aspects of l i f e i n the r e a l - l i f e mining community of Anzin, near the B e l g i a n border. In a d d i t i o n to h i s sojourn i n northern France, he read widely on the medical and p h y s i c a l d e t a i l s of the miners' l i v e s . What f o l l o w s here i s an excerpt from a nin e t e e n t h century medical j o u r n a l on working-class sexual mores: De bonne heure, l e s enfants des charbonniers apprennent a p a r l e r comme l e u r s parents, qui ont generalement l a mauvaise habitude de t e n i r des con v e r s a t i o n s t r o p l i c e n c i e u s e s ; plus t a r d , l e s travaux q u ' i l s executent en compagnie des o u v r i e r s a d u l t e s , l e s f a m i l i a r i s e n t encore davantage avec l e s termes et l e s idees l e s plus cyniques. De s o r t e que, avant meme d'etre a r r i v e s a l'age de l a puberte, i l s sont deja corrompus. . . . II ne peut guere en e t r e autrement lorsque des f i l l e s et des garcons, des l e u r p l u s tendre jeunesse, se trouvent continuellement en presence dans l e s heures de £r_avail, a u s s i bien que dans l e s moments de l o i s i r . In t h i s p i c t u r e of enforced overcrowding and pr o m i s c u i t y can be glimpsed the seeds of bourgeois d e s t r u c t i o n . I t i s a 110 t i m e l e s s p i c t u r e of f e a r of engulfment by the Other, as r e l e v a n t today i n those areas of the world where the r u l i n g e l i t e i s "threatened" by the higher b i r t h r a t e of a , 44 competing s o c i a l subgroup . Part I, Chapter 2 presents us with a s i m i l a r and immediate p i c t u r e of working-class e x i s t e n c e i n the Z o l i a n u n i v e r s e . I t i s here t h a t Zola i n t r o d u c e s i n r a p i d s u c c e s s i o n not only the v a r i o u s members of the Maheu f a m i l y , but a l s o most of the key elements of p r o l e t a r i a n e r o t i c r e a l i t y . The author r e f e r s to the shamelessness of c h i l d r e n who are o b l i g e d to r e l i e v e themselves i n each other's presence: " I l s se s o u l a g e a i e n t sans honte, avec l ' a i s a n c e t r a n q u i l l e d'une portee de jeunes chiens, grandis ensemble" (42). There are a l s o a l l u s i o n s to i n c e s t , p r i m a r i l y the r e s u l t of c h i l d r e n of opposite sexes having t o share a bed ( i n f a c t , Zola seems unable t o mention Lenore and Hen r i , the two youngest Maheu c h i l d r e n , without using the phrase "aux bras 1' un de 1'autre" t o d e s c r i b e t h e i r s l e e p i n g 45 p o s i t i o n ). The concept of v i o l e n t and depraved a n t i - f e r t i l e f o r c e s i s in t r o d u c e d when J e a n l i n b i t e s h i s s i s t e r ' s b r e a s t (42). We are made aware of the young c h i l d r e n ' s amusement at the menage a t r o i s of Levaque, La Levaque, and Bouteloup, whose t r i p a r t i t e passions are c l e a r l y a u d i b l e through the p a p e r - t h i n w a l l s . Zola makes mention of Zacharie and Philomene's two i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n ; the i n t e r c l a s s e r o t i c a c t i v i t i e s of La Pierronne and Dansaert are pointed out; and La Maheude, the Great P r o l e t a r i a n I l l Mother, i s shown b r e a s t - f e e d i n g E s t e l l e i n f u l l view of a l l the other f a m i l y members. Within the space of only ten pages the reader i s a f f o r d e d an i n t i m a t e and summary glimpse i n t o the poverty, l i c e n t i o u s n e s s , and p r o m i s c u i t y which c h a r a c t e r i z e l i f e i n the mining community. By way of c o n t r a s t , the p r o t o t y p i c a l l y bourgeois Gregoire f a m i l y i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d by having only one c h i l d , C e c i l e , who i s s p o i l e d and rendered chubby by the gourmet cooking and a s s o r t e d other d u t i e s performed by the small contingent of domestic s e r v a n t s . T h i s atmosphere i s one of l u x u r y , warmth, comfort, and opulence; conspicuous by i t s absence i s any r e f e r e n c e to o v e r t human s e x u a l i t y at La P i o l a i n e . Instead, there f o l l o w s a d e t a i l e d account of the h i s t o r y of the Montsou mining o p e r a t i o n s and of the G r e g o i r e s ' ancestors investments as i f to d e s c r i b e o v e r t f i n a n c i a l s u b l i m a t i o n of e r o t i c d e s i r e . The d i v i d e n d s paid from the f a m i l y ' s shares are such t h a t the Gregoires lead a comfortable e x i s t e n c e without ever having to work a day i n t h e i r l i v e s . In an i l l u m i n a t i n g passage, Zola t r a c e s some of the f i n a n c i a l h i s t o r y of the Montsou stock, i n which Leon Gregoire s t u b b o r n l y and e x c l u s i v e l y puts h i s economic f a i t h . Unconcerned with temporary short-term l o s s e s , he r e a s s u r e s h i m s e l f with the thought t h a t "ca remonterait, Dieu n 1 e t a i t pas s i s o l i d e . P u i s , a c e t t e croyance r e l i g i e u s e , se m e l a i t une profonde g r a t i t u d e pour une v a l e u r , q u i , depuis un s i e c l e , n o u r r i s s a i t l a f a m i l l e a r i e n f a i r e " (99). I f the f u n c t i o n of t h i s s e c t i o n of the novel i s to i n t r o d u c e the 112 n o t i o n of working-class erotomania, a sexual mania which has a l l the hallmarks of a pagan r e l i g i o n , then the f u n c t i o n of the corresponding juxtaposed i n t r o d u c t i o n to the Gregoires i s t o show them as worshipping at the s t e r i l e a l t a r s of m a t e r i a l i s m and p a s s i v e p r o f i t e e r i n g . In the words of Deneulin, "1'argent que vous gagnent l e s autres e s t c e l u i dont on e n g r a i s s e l e plus surement" (102). The overworked faces of the Maheu f a m i l y are p a l l i d , s i c k l y , and s c r o f u l o u s , whereas those of the Gregoires are rosy, plump, and h e a l t h y . T h i s s t a r k c o n t r a s t r e f l e c t s a class-based d i f f e r e n c e not only i n terms of e r o t i c codes, but a l s o i n terms of " r e l i g i o n " . The miners are o v e r t l y s e x u a l , almost to the p o i n t of degeneracy, while the bourgeois are ti g h t l y - r e pressed to the p o i n t of s t e r i l i t y , a c o n d i t i o n a s s o c i a t e d i n Z o l i a n terms with s t a g n a t i o n and l a c k of r e a l economic p r o d u c t i o n . The workers p r a c t i s e an e r o t i c a l l y - b a s e d p a g a n i s t i c r e l i g i o n , whereas the c a p i t a l i s t s worship the l u x u r i e s t h a t only money can buy. What the Gregoires do not c o n s c i o u s l y r e a l i z e i s t h a t the money they s p e n d - - a l b e i t p r u d e n t l y - - i s a c t u a l l y produced and earned by the hard work of the miners, who are p a i d only a p i t t a n c e f o r t h e i r e f f o r t s . The Gregoires are thus i n league with the vampire of c a p i t a l , s lowly d r a i n i n g the l i f e blood from the veins of women, c h i l d r e n , and anyone e l s e unfortunate enough t o be sucked down deep i n t o the mines. In an i n v e r s i o n of the B i b l i c a l account of the Las t Supper, the chambertin gracing the G r e g o i r e s ' e l e g a n t l y - l a i d dinner t a b l e i s i n e f f e c t a 113 metaphor f o r a f a m i l i a r r e l i g i o u s ceremony, s l i g h t l y d i s t o r t e d . The t o a s t s made to the continued good h e a l t h of the Montsou shareholders r e p r e s e n t s the t r a n s s u b s t a n t i a t i o n of workers' blood i n t o communion wine, a perverse c a p i t a l i s t v e r s i o n of the C h r i s t i a n l i t u r g y . T h i s i s the never- ending Z o l i a n c y c l e of blood, whereby bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s c a n n i b a l i s t i c a l l y savour the nuances of workers' l i f e f l u i d s . T h i s ceremony has much i n common with the rape of the Earth by means of the blackened machine seed t h a t d e f i l e s the c o u n t r y s i d e around Montsou: as the bourgeois c o n t r o l the apparatus of i n d u s t r y i n such a way as to perpetuate t h i s d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e s h a r i n g of wealth, the bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s — b e h i n d the v a r i o u s masks of c h a r i t y , prudence, and decorum—are vampires, c a n n i b a l s and r a p i s t s . The r i s k s run by the miners simply be showing up f o r work are i n f i n i t e l y g r e a t e r than any chances taken by p a s s i v e m i d d l e - c l a s s s t o c k h o l d e r s . I t i s f o r t h i s very reason t h a t the f o r c e s of c a p i t a l need a steady supply of "worker babie s " to ensure the c o n t i n u a t i o n of p r o f i t a b l e o p e r a t i o n s . Although Zola sometimes exaggerates to make h i s p o i n t , i t i s t r u e t h a t the work i n the mines i s so dangerous and low-paying t h a t i t i s almost e s s e n t i a l t h a t the miners have e x t r a - l a r g e f a m i l i e s simply to ensure t h a t there w i l l be enough earning power to buy food so t h a t the f a m i l y t r e e may continue to grow. A c c o r d i n g l y , Zola r e f e r s to the mines' tunnels as being l i k e "un dedale d ' e s c a l i e r s et de c o u l o i r s obscurs" (55); "dedale" i s d e r i v e d from the Greek 114 D a i d a l o s , the name of the legendary b u i l d e r of the l a b y r i n t h i n Crete where the m y t h i c a l Minotaur was c o n f i n e d , the h a l f b u l l h a l f man to which v a r i o u s golden and v i r g i n a l youths and maidens were s a c r i f i c e d . The miners' work i s t h e r e f o r e l i k e a h o r r i f y i n g and o f t e n l e t h a l descent i n t o a monster's l a i r , a maze crea t e d on behalf of i n d u s t r y . I t i s i n the narrow f i n a n c i a l i n t e r e s t s of the m i d d l e - c l a s s e l i t e to help perpetuate the o v e r p o p u l a t i o n and d e s t i t u t i o n endemic i n the mining community. As a d i r e c t and symbolic r e s u l t of t h i s i n e q u i t a b l e s t a t u s quo, the Gregoires always r e f u s e to give f i n a n c i a l c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the p o v e r t y - s t r i c k e n mining f a m i l i e s s i n c e the b o u r g e o i s i e i s s t e r e o t y p i c a l l y b e d e v i l e d by " l a c o n t i n u e l l e c r a i n t e d'etre trompes et d'encourager l e v i c e , car c ' e t a i t un f a i t connu, des qu'un pauvre a v a i t deux sous, i l l e s b u v a i t " (111). The prevalence of such idees f i x e s i s a l s o i n d i c a t i v e of s t e r i l i t y of thought, h y p o c r i t i c a l l y wrapped i n the guise of genuine s o c i a l concern. Thus i t i s with i n d i g n a t i o n at workers' excessiveness t h a t the Gregoires r e a c t to the knowledge t h a t La Maheude has seven c h i l d r e n : -Sept e n f a n t s , mais pourquoi? bon Dieu! -C'est imprudent, murmura l a v i e i l l e dame. La Maheude eut un geste vague d'excuse. Que voulez-vous? on n'y songeait p o i n t , ca p o u s s a i t n a t u r e l l e m e n t . Et p u i s , quand ca g r a n d i s s a i t , ca r a p p o r t a i t , ca f a i s a i t a l l e r l a maison. (112) The use of the word " n a t u r e l " and i t s d e r i v a t i v e s by the n a t u r a l i s t n o v e l i s t o f t e n i n d i c a t e s a highly-charged 115 s i t u a t i o n i n which the s p i r i t of Nature i s i n v o k e d — o f ten i r o n i c a l l y — t o e x p l a i n human i n s t i n c t s and a c t i o n s . In t h i s case, having seven c h i l d r e n does seem w i l d l y e x c e s s i v e i n comparison with the Gregoires' only daughter. But these workers' c h i l d r e n w i l l go on t o be s t a r v e d , c r i p p l e d , raped, and shot; i f they are unlucky enough to s u r v i v e these inhumanities, they too w i l l move out and s t a r t l a r g e f a m i l i e s of t h e i r own. Thus the c y c l e of Nature i s perpetuated f o r the p r o l e t a r i a t w i t h i n a p o l i t i c a l c y c l e of r e p r e s s i o n , v i o l e n c e , and poverty. J u s t as the Gregoires stake t h e i r e n t i r e f o r t u n e on the success and f a i l u r e of the value of t h e i r shares i n the Montsou mines, so too do they put a l l t h e i r g e n e a l o g i c a l eggs i n one basket by l i m i t i n g t h e i r o f f s p r i n g to one c h i l d — h a r d l y the act of a t r u l y prudent " i n v e s t o r " i n the f u t u r e s i n c e she i s so v u l n e r a b l e - as we s h a l l soon s e e — t o r i t u a l i s t i c s a c r i f i c e . So i t i s not r e a l l y prudence that has governed the G r e g o i r e s ' choice to have only one c h i l d , but r a t h e r l i m i t e d bourgeois f e r t i l l t y . Zola r e l i e s on h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c " a r t i s t i c p r o p e n s i t y 47 to enlarge beyond the bounds of reason" while p a i n t i n g a p o r t r a i t of exaggerated and o f t e n d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed d i f f e r e n c e s ; i t i s i n t h i s way t h a t the Z o l i a n p i c t u r e of heightened bourgeois and p r o l e t a r i a n r e a l i t y emerges. As a r e s u l t , we may c o n s i d e r the Gregoires and the Maheus to be each other's s o c i o l o g i c a l and e r o t i c c o u n t e r p a r t s or f o i l s . Nowhere i s t h i s p a r a l l e l system more apparent than i n the 116 c o n t r a s t i n g p o r t r a y a l s of the e l d e s t daughters, Catherine Maheu and C e c i l e G r egoire. The former i s f a t i g u e d , t h i n , anaemic, p h y s i c a l l y immature, yet s e x u a l l y aware; the l a t t e r i s w e l l - r e s t e d , plump, rosy, h e a l t h y , yet presumably maintained i n a f a m i l i a l s t a t e of e r o t i c ignorance and d e n i a l . In f a c t , the d e l i b e r a t e c o n t r a s t s between these two r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s extend t o i n c l u d e t h e i r speech, d r e s s , and d i e t a r y h a b i t s as w e l l . J ust as the mining settlement i s made remarkable by an exaggerated emphasis on human s e x u a l i t y and c o r p o r e i t y , so too are the bourgeois r e s i d e n c e s of the Hennebeaus and Gregoires noted f o r the a s t o n i s h i n g c u l i n a r y and gastronomic achievements of t h e i r r e s i d e n t s . In the space of only 48 f i f t e e n pages, mention i s made of o y s t e r s , sausages, p i n e a p p l e , scrambled eggs with t r u f f l e s , brook t r o u t , r o a s t p a r t r i d g e , Rhine wine, Russian s a l a d , c r a y f i s h , apple c h a r l o t t e meringue, grapes and pears! As i f to f u r t h e r underscore bourgeois i n d i f f e r e n c e t o human s u f f e r i n g , t here i s a l s o a champagne which i s u n f o r t u n a t e l y "juge commun" (221). Zola's most important e r o t i c formula i n Germinal equates sex with food, and i t i s i n t h i s passage t h a t the m i d d l e - c l a s s v e r s i o n of t h i s formula i s put under the n o v e l i s t ' s microscope. Zola presents a marvelously symmetrical c l a s s d i f f e r e n c e : The workers need food but must s e t t l e f o r sex; the bourgeois c h a r a c t e r s need sex but i n s t e a d gorge themselves with gourmet d i s h e s . I t i s no wonder t h a t the d i v i d i n g l i n e between alimentary and e r o t i c 117 hunger becomes so b l u r r e d . The most important l i n e of demarcation that i s crossed i n the novel i s t h a t which separates human beings from animals; here i t i s p r o l e t a r i a n c h a r a c t e r s who are much more l i k e l y to c r o s s over the l i n e . T h i s i n e q u a l i t y i n m etaphorical treatment i s not only a d i r e c t r e f l e c t i o n of the s o c i a l i n e q u a l i t i e s of Zola's age, but i s a l s o r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a s t r a i n i n nineteenth century bourgeois thought which denied fundamental human complexity to i n d i v i d u a l members of the working c l a s s , p r e f e r r i n g to see the p r o l e t a r i a t i n terms of v i o l e n t and p r i m i t i v e r u t t i n g b rutes who l o s e t h e i r s o uls by devoting themselves to or l o s i n g themselves i n unabashed e r o t i c i s m . I t i s t h i s c a l l o u s a t t i t u d e which i s p a r t i c u l a r l y present i n the t h i n k i n g of the Hennebeaus, who are unable or u n w i l l i n g to understand the r o o t s of the workers' unhappiness: Est-c e q u ' i l s n ' e t a i e n t pas t r e s heureux? Des gens log e s , c h a u f f e s , soignes aux f r a i s de l a Compagnie! Dans son i n d i f f e r e n c e pour ce troupeau, e l l e ne s a v a i t de l u i que l a l e c o n a p p r i s e , dont e l l e e m e r v e i l l a i t l e P a r i s i e n s en v i s i t e ; et e l l e a v a i t f i n i par y c r o i r e , e l l e s ' i n d i g n a i t de 1 ' i n g r a t i t u d e du peuple. (218) Indeed, the i n d i v i d u a l i t y of the miners has been swept a s i d e by the use of the animal c o l l e c t i v e term "troupeau." To Madame Hennebeau, the miners are nothing but c a t t l e and deserve to be t r e a t e d as such. T h i s "legon a p p r i s e " i s a prime example of l o g i c a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l s t e r i l i t y s i n c e she a c t u a l l y b e l i e v e s the d i v i s i v e propaganda of the Company 118 party l i n e she so g l i b l y spouts. In a s i m i l a r f a s h i o n , Monsieur Hennebeau i s a l s o unmoved by the miners' demands. According to him, the miners cannot hope to have any l e g i t i m a t e grievances when t h e i r l i v e s are e x c l u s i v e l y devoted to " l a t r a n q u i l l e s a t i s f a c t i o n des i n s t i n c t s " (349), while h i s own l i f e i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by " l a s o u f f r a n c e i n a s s o u v i e des p a s s i o n s " (349). T h i s bourgeois h y p o c r i s y i s r e v e a l e d by l i n g u i s t i c d u p l i c i t y : While we have our "passions", they have mere " i n s t i n c t s " ; whereas our p e r s o n a l i t i e s are complex and nuanced, t h e i r s are simple and u n i d i m e n s i o n a l ; and while we are t r u e human beings, they have somehow become a n i m a l i s t i c b r u t e s . Zola i n f a c t succeeds i n t r a n s c e n d i n g the b i a s of h i s c l a s s by h i s v i v i d p o r t r a y a l s of working-class c h a r a c t e r s . As Sandy Petrey p o i n t s out, "although Zola was unquestionably g u i l t y of reproducing hackneyed s o c i a l types, he never transformed lower c l a s s c h a r a c t e r s i n t o r e i f i e d , p r e d i c t a b l e o b j e c t s denied an a b i l i t y t o choose and act f r e e l y which i s accorded 4 9 men i n h i g h t e r s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s . " T h i s r e i f i c a t i o n or o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of the working c l a s s by the b o u r g e o i s i e i s the very s i n of which M. Hennebeau i s g u i l t y . The great c l a s s - b a s e d i r o n y i n l i f e f o r M. Hennebeau i s t h a t h i s sexual f r u s t r a t i o n s become so i n t e n s e t h a t he would be w i l l i n g t o renounce h i s m a t e r i a l wealth, l i f e of comforts, and f i v e - c o u r s e meals j u s t t o r e - e s t a b l i s h contact with h i s own submerged animal l i b i d o : " I I l e u r en a u r a i t f a i t cadeau v o l o n t i e r s , de ses gros appointements, pour 119 a v o i r comme eux, l e c u i r dur, 1' accouplement f a c i l e et sans r e g r e t " (349). The whole tone of Hennebeau's f r u s t r a t e d r a v i n g s leads us to wonder i f the author i s perhaps t r a n s f e r r i n g h i s own b i t t e r n e s s and i n h i b i t i o n by t a k i n g over the v o i c e of one of h i s most p a t h e t i c c h a r a c t e r s . While such c o n j e c t u r e i s even more s u b j e c t i v e than the alr e a d y n o n o b j e c t i v e nature of l i t e r a r y a n a l y s i s and e v a l u a t i o n i n g e n e r a l , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note t h a t Zola became seminotorious f o r using h i s l i t e r a r y a c t i v i t i e s f o r the r e l e a s e of sexual energies which remained unspent w i t h i n 50 h i s marriage. Trapped i n the i s o l a t e d p r i s o n of h i s s p i n e l e s s bourgeois arrogance and c l a s s envy, Hennebeau does not r e a l i z e t h a t he i s only r e c e i v i n g a p a r t i a l p i c t u r e of working - c l a s s e r o t i c i s m . The miners too have s e n s i t i v i t y , r e g r e t s , and e r o t i c d i f f i c u l t i e s ; but a l l t h a t i s v i s i b l e to M. Hennebeau are couples making love i n the f i e l d s , seemingly without a care i n the world. M. Hennebeau's whole fanta s y of being able to make love with h i s wife outdoors, "sur des c a i l l o u x , de tous se r e i n s e t de t o u t son coeur" (281), of being "man" enough, "assez goujat pour g i f l e r sa femme et prendre du p l a i s i r sur l e s v o i s i n e s " (349) shows him as being s o r e l y tempted by the e r o t i c system of the working c l a s s , whose l i f e s t y l e does indeed allow f o r u n i n h i b i t e d sex i n the great outdoors, p r o m i s c u i t y , and domestic v i o l e n c e . Hennebeau's moral c r i s i s i s res o u n d i n g l y e r o t i c . His i s the case of a d i s s a t i s f i e d "churchgoer" who wants t o switch from the 120 worship of m a t e r i a l i s t i c power to the ve n e r a t i o n of sexual l i c e n c e . Overt mention of such c l a s s - t r e a c h e r o u s f a n t a s i e s would leave M. Hennebeau open to harsh condemnation from h i s m i d d l e - c l a s s a s s o c i a t e s . The s t e r i l i t y of the b o u r g e o i s i e i s thus enforced from w i t h i n , and i s maintained on almost a l l l e v e l s . F i n a n c i a l l y , Leon Gregoire r e j e c t s a c t i v e investment or s p e c u l a t i o n — a n i r o n i c s t r a t e g y c o n s i d e r i n g h i s name means " l i o n " i n Old French. In g e n e a l o g i c a l terms, he a l s o mistakenly maintains t h a t h i s "denier de Montsou . . n o u r r i r a l e s enfants de mes p e t i s - e n f a n t s " (435) when, i n f a c t , he w i l l have no descendants at a l l . In a d d i t i o n , the Gregoires o f f e r a c r i p p l e d Bonnemort a p a i r of shoes i n a metap h o r i c a l d i s p l a y of the u t t e r l y s t e r i l e u s e l e s s n e s s and a b s u r d i t y of t h e i r misplaced c h a r i t y . O v e r a l l , the bourgeois e r o t i c code i s marked by the s t e r i l i t y of i n h i b i t i o n , h y p o c r i s y , r e p r e s s i o n , and s i l e n c e . In c o n t r a s t stand the c l e a r l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e d working- c l a s s standards of sexual e t h i c s . These t r a i t s i n c l u d e not only o v e r t sexual extravagance, rampant v i o l e n c e a g a i n s t women o f t e n w i t h i n a sexual context, and widespread y o u t h f u l p r o m i s c u i t y , but a l s o sexual f i d e l i t y w i t h i n t r a d i t i o n a l marriage. Although there are i n f a c t many i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n , t h e r e i s s t i l l g r eat s o c i a l pressure exerted on men t o marry the women with whom they have produced c h i l d r e n . N e v e r t h e l e s s , once married or l i v i n g t o gether, working-class women are e s p e c i a l l y v u l n e r a b l e to domestic v i o l e n c e at the hands of t h e i r men, c h i e f l y as a r e s u l t of 121 i l l n e s s , poverty, and overcrowed l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s . F u r t h e r , although p r o m i s c u i t y i s condoned and p r e v a l e n t amongst young unmarried couples, once married, husbands and wives are expected to be f a i t h f u l t o each other and to take proper care of t h e i r c h i l d r e n . The rampant p r o m i s c u i t y i n the mining community i s a c t u a l l y the primary r e s u l t of long-enforced poverty: even M. Hennebeau i s aware t h a t sex out-of-doors, i n the f i e l d s and behind the w a l l s , r e p r e s e n t s " l a seule j o i e qui ne c o u t a i t r i e n " (281) and thus c o n s t i t u t e s a c o s t - e f f e c t i v e escape f o r the young miners. Marriage i s even more f i n a n c i a l l y l i m i t i n g , with the attendant demands of c h i l d r e n and the Company: On mangeait, mais s i peu, j u s t e de quoi s o u f f r i r sans c r e v e r , ecrase de d e t t e s , p o u r s u i v i comme s i l'on v o l a i t son p a i n . Quand a r r i v a i t l e dimanche, on dormait de f a t i g u e . Les s e u l s p l a i s i r s , c ' e t a i t de se s o u l e r ou de f a i r e un enfant a sa femme; encore l a b i e r e vous e n g r a i s s a i t t r o p l e v e n t r e , et l ' e n f a n t , p l u s t a r d , se f o u t a i t de vous. (178) Only the i n t o x i c a t i n g yet temporary e f f e c t s of l i q u o r or the e r o t i c r e l e a s e of p h y s i c a l love can d u l l the p a i n of never- ending poverty. The a f t e r e f f e c t s of the former, while c r a p u l o u s , are l i m i t e d , but the upshot of the l a t t e r may mean an a d d i t i o n a l mouth to feed f o r s i x t e e n y e a r s . I t i s i n t h i s way t h a t the v i c i o u s c i r c l e s of poverty and o v e r p o p u l a t i o n are perpetuated w i t h i n the working c l a s s i n Germinal. Conspicuous by i t s absence i n the novel i s any 122 d e s c r i p t i o n of sexual a c t s between bourgeois p a r t i c i p a n t s . As C o l i n Smethurst remarks, "Zola shows how the conquest of a prominent p o s i t i o n i n the bourgeois h i e r a r c h y i s gained at the expense of n a t u r a l or i n s t i n c t u a l b e h a v i o r . " ^ In c o n t r a s t , Zola develops an almost tender scene i n which Maheu and La Maheude make love a f t e r t h e i r evening meal i s f i n i s h e d and the other f a m i l y members have gone o f f . S y m b o l i c a l l y , t h i s lovemaking occurs as a consummation to Maheu's evening bath, during which the w i f e helps p u r i f y her husband f o l l o w i n g a normal day of f i l t h and t o i l . Once c l e a n , the way i s paved f o r "1'accouplement f a c i l e " (349) of which M. Hennebeau i s so envious. These s e x u a l l y - c h a r g e d e a r l y evenings are by no means p e c u l i a r to the Maheus: " C ' e t a i t egalement chez l e s camarades du coron l'heure des b e t i s e s , ou l'on p l a n t a i t plus d'enfants qu'on n'en v o u l a i t . . . l e s e u l bon moment de l a journee pour un d e s s e r t qui ne c o u t a i t r i e n " (133). The verb " p l a n t e r " suggests a n a t u r a l and almost a g r i c u l t u r a l aspect to p r o l e t a r i a n l o v e - making, while the noun " d e s s e r t " once again frames sexual p l e a s u r e w i t h i n the context of food. In a d d i t i o n , i t must be kept i n mind t h a t t o a w h i t e - c o l l a r observer, the working c l a s s would indeed look f r i g h t e n i n g and f i l t h y a f t e r a day i n the mines. Hence the need to cleanse and p u r i f y before sex, i n s t e a d of afterwards. What d i s t i n g u i s h e s the Maheus' v e r s i o n of t h i s e r o t i c r i t u a l i s t h a t the pere de f a m i l l e i s r e l u c t a n t to s t r i p naked and wash i n the presence of h i s c h i l d r e n . Although 123 Maheu and h i s workmates are proud of t h e i r seminaked bodies, s i t t i n g on the f r o n t steps of t h e i r homes, d i s p l a y i n g t h e i r bare arms and chests with " l a j o i e de toute c e t t e c h a i r l a s s e de t r a v a i l l e u r s , mise au grand a i r " (133), T o u s s a i n t Maheu, the i d e a l i z e d and a r c h e t y p a l Great P r o l e t a r i a n Father, "n'aimait pas se l a v e r en f a m i l l e , comme c e l a se p r a t i q u a i t dans beaucoup d'autres maisons du coron" (131). A l z i r e i s t h e r e f o r e quick to h u s t l e the two youngest c h i l d r e n o u t s i d e so t h a t Maheu may bathe i n the company of h i s w i f e . I t i s as i f Zola were using t h i s scene to accentuate the q u a l i t i e s of moral l e a d e r s h i p and i n t e g r i t y which d i s t i n g u i s h Constance and To u s s a i n t Maheu not only from t h e i r e a r t h i e r and more v i o l e n t comrades, but a l s o from t h e i r s t e r i l e and c o r r u p t bourgeois c o u n t e r p a r t s . Toussaint Maheu i s both at ease with h i s own peers and with h i s own conscience, having s u s t a i n e d the Z o l i a n t r a n s f e r of bourgeois values such as c l e a n l i n e s s , s t e a d f a s t n e s s , and decency. The r o u t i n e of the Maheu's bathing r i t u a l i s s l i g h t l y d i s t u r b e d when Etienne moves i n as t h e i r l o d g e r . Subsequently, the men wash downstairs and Catherine bathes by h e r s e l f i n the u p s t a i r s room: "Toute l a pudeur de l a f a m i l l e s ' e t a i t r e f u g i e e dans l e lavage q u o t i d i e n " (176). Ne v e r t h e l e s s , a l l those r e s i d e n t at the Maheus' home must ad j u s t to the general l a c k of p r i v a c y by becoming inured t o the r i t u a l s of d i s r o b i n g and grooming. Although Etienne and Cat h e r i n e are f r e q u e n t l y s e x u a l l y preoccupied i n each 124 other's presence, even they become used to the i n h e r e n t semi-nudity of bedtime: "L'habitude t u a i t l a honte d'etre nu, i l s t r o u v a i e n t n a t u r e l d'etre a i n s i , car i l s ne f a i s a i e n t p o i n t de mal et ce n ' e t a i t pas l e u r f a u t e , s ' i l n'y a v a i t qu'une chambre pour tout l e monde" (176). The sexual e t h i c i n f o r c e amongst the mineworkers i s i n f a c t l a r g e l y determined by the sheer p h y s i c a l p r o x i m i t y of the i n h a b i t a n t s of the mining v i l l a g e . I f they are v i o l e n t , i t i s i n p a r t because f r u s t r a t i o n s i n c r e a s e i n p r o p o r t i o n to r e d u c t i o n s i n p e r s o n a l space; i f they are promiscuous, i t i s because boys and g i r l s s l e e p and o f t e n bathe together s t a r t i n g from a very young age; i f they are coarse, i t i s because even the most i n t i m a t e d e t a i l s of t h e i r l i v e s are common knowledge. I t i s Constance Maheu who o f t e n a r t i c u l a t e s the p r a c t i c a l i t i e s of the working-class code of e t h i c s . I t i s she who i s obsessed with the n o t i o n t h a t c h i l d r e n must c o n t r i b u t e as much as they can f i n a n c i a l l y to the running of the household, at one p o i n t even as k i n g , "Est-ce que Zacharie ne nous d o i t pas du r e s p e c t ? II nous a coute, n'est-ce pas? eh b i e n , i l f a u t q u ' i l nous rende, avant de s'embarrasser d'une femme. . . ." (120-21). In c o n f l i c t here are the d i v e r g e n t p r i n c i p l e s of f i n a n c i a l and p a r e n t a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s : yes, Zacharie has c o s t h i s f a m i l y over the years, but h i s primary a l l e g i a n c e — i f he i s to f o l l o w the moral code of h i s s o c i a l c l a s s — m u s t now be to h i s own c h i l d r e n , Desiree and A c h i l l e , along with t h e i r mother, 125 Philomene. A s i m i l a r c o n f l i c t erupts between Maheu, La Maheude, and Catherine over the daughter's l o y a l t i e s , which are d i v i d e d between her immediate f a m i l y and her b o y f r i e n d , Antoine Chaval. In t h i s case, however, Catherine does not have any i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n so her d e c i s i o n t o remain with Chaval i s i n t e r p r e t e d by her parents as an act of o u t r i g h t b e t r a y a l . A c c o r d i n g l y , the Maheus r e a c t with great harshness towards C a t h e r i n e , who, by moving out, reduces the a l r e a d y i n s u f f i c i e n t f a m i l y income. To a c e r t a i n extent, the acrimoniousness of the parents i s m i t i g a t e d by t h e i r u n r e l e n t i n g and i n c r e a s i n g poverty. S p e c i f i c a l l y , we note the o v e r t l y sexual nature of Maheu and La Maheude's c r i t i c i s m s : "II f a l l a i t e t r e l a d e r n i e r e des f i l l e s denaturees" (237); "Ah! salope, t o i a u s s i ! . . . Quand ta mere creve de faim, tu l a t r a h i s pour ton maquereau!" (324). C l e a r l y , to be "denature" i s to be the a n t i t h e s i s of " n a t u r e l " , a s e r i o u s s t a t e of a f f a i r s i n a n a t u r a l i s t c o n text. Sex as prime s u b s t i t u t e f o r food i s the equation i n t i m a t e d by C a t h e r i ne's t a k i n g up with a "pimp". In her own s t a r v i n g mother's eyes, then, Catherine has indeed become the p r o s t i t u t e which Catherine had always dreaded becoming. Since p a t r i a r c h a l f a m i l y values are the most important element of working-class i d e a l s , these c o n f l i c t s between parents and c h i l d r e n are the most s e r i o u s r e s u l t of the s t r a i n s of poverty and of the f r u s t r a t i o n s due to 126 overcrowding. Although La Maheude sometimes p l a y s the r o l e of p r o l e t a r i a n m o r a l i s t , f o r example when she d e c l a r e s t h a t i t i s wrong f o r La Pierronne to " l a c h e r sa f a m i l l e , un dimanche de ducasse" (163) i n the p u r s u i t of s e l f i s h e r o t i c s t i m u l a t i o n , i n the end she i s remarkably f o r t h r i g h t about her own monogamous marriage, c o n f e s s i n g t h a t "lorsqu'on n'a po i n t f a i t l e mal, c' e s t souvent que l e s occ a s i o n s ont manque" ( 240). I t i s t h i s s o r t of r e f r e s h i n g and candid a t t i t u d e t h a t cements the bond between the reader and those h e r o i c and i d e a l i z e d r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the working c l a s s , the Maheus. In c o n t r a s t , La Pierronne and Dansaert dare to step o u t s i d e t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e c l a s s boundaries. In the midst of such v i r u l e n t oppositon t h e i r a f f a i r takes on overtones of h y p o c r i s y , d u p l i c i t y , t r e a c h e r y , and greed. I t i s La Pierronne who f e i g n s d i s g u s t at the d i s o r d e r and pr o m i s c u i t y which c h a r a c t e r i z e the menage a t r o i s of Levaque, La Levaque, and t h e i r lodger Bouteloup. T h i s menage i s s t e r e o t y p i c a l l y negative s i n c e the husband d r i n k s t o excess, beats h i s w i f e , and keeps company with the p r o s t i t u t e s who s i n g and dance at the v a r i o u s Montsou d r i n k i n g e s t a b l i s h m e n t s . La Pierronne's haughty d i s g u s t at such households i s completely h y p o c r i t i c a l s i n c e she uses Dansaert's i n f l u e n c e t o ensure t h a t her own f a m i l y b e n e f i t s m a t e r i a l l y . In e f f e c t , they s e l f i s h l y enjoy cake and wine while t h e i r generous yet i n d i g e n t neighbors slowly s t a r v e t o death. To add i n s u l t to i n j u r y , P i e r r o n , at best seemingly 127 i n d i f f e r e n t and at worst encouraging of h i s wife's greed- i n s p i r e d i n f i d e l i t y , i s a l s o the one who denounces the s t r i k e i n a l e t t e r w r i t t e n to the management of the mining company. T h e i r s i s a f a m i l y of weasels and l a b o r scabs which i s wont to spreading m a l i c i o u s g o s s i p about Etienne and the Maheus 1 a l l e g e d incestuous p r o m i s c u i t y : " I l s s ' e t a i e n t p o u r r i s ensemble, jusqu'aux p e t i t s , avec une s a l e t e p r i s e par Etienne au Volcan" (380). The idea of Etienne's s o c i a l i s t i d e ology and i n f l u e n c e on the Maheus i s equated with i n f e c t i o u s s o c i a l d i s e a s e s a t t r i b u t a b l e to sexual p r o m i s c u i t y . T h i s i s s i m i l a r to when M. Hennebeau r e f e r s t o " l e fameux Rasseneur, qui continue a empoisonner l e Voreux, avec ses idees et sa b i e r e . . . ." (218). These are f u r t h e r m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of the b o u r g e o i s i e ' s ignorant and f e a r f u l p r e j u d i c e s a g a i n s t the working c l a s s , expressed i n s e m i e r o t i c terms. In the end, however, La Pierronne i s r e v e a l e d to be a T a r t u f f i a n c h a r a c t e r , wallowing i n e r o t i c h y p o c r i s y while Dansaert, the cowardly foreman, s u f f e r s the f a t e of being f i r e d f o r " c e t t e l a c h e t e du c a p i t a i n e abandonnant ses hommes" (461). The Z o l i a n judgment i s c l e a r : b r i d g e the e r o t i c c l a s s - g a p at your own p e r i l . T h i s Z o l i a n d o c t r i n e of e r o t i c c l a s s s e g r e g a t i o n would seem t o have i t s r o o t s i n bourgeois f e a r s . One has the impression t h a t i t i s worse f o r m i d d l e - c l a s s c h a r a c t e r s to "lower" t h e i r e r o t i c standards (declassement) than i t i s f o r members of the working c l a s s t o " r a i s e " t h e i r s (embourgeoisement). This d i s c r e p a n c y i s e s p e c i a l l y evident 128 i n M. Hennebeau's r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s of h i s wife's l a t e s t i n f i d e l i t y . To h i s mind, even though she stoops to engaging i n semi-incestuous a f f a i r s with h i s own nephew, she at l e a s t c o n f i n e s her p e r v e r s i t y to her own s o c i a l c l a s s : " e l l e s a uvegardait a i n s i l e s apparences" (348). I t i s t h i s q u e s t i o n of m a i n t a i n i n g appearances, of p e r p e t u a t i n g the i l l u s i o n of c o n j u g a l harmony, which i s foremost i n M. Hennebeau's t h i n k i n g . His e r o t i c philosophy i s i n r e a l i t y c h a r a c t e r i z e d by f e c k l e s s n e s s and s p i n e l e s s n e s s . A f t e r a l l , "une seule peur l u i r e s t a i t , c e l l e de v o i r sa femme tomber plus bas, a quelque l a q u a i s p e u t - e t r e " (359 ). I t i s the f e a r t h a t h i s own shortcomings as a "man" w i l l be r e v e a l e d f o r a l l and sundry to see t h a t enables M. Hennebeau to "garder son neveu, dans l a c r a i n t e de son cocher" (473). I t i s a l s o i n t e r c l a s s e r o t i c i s m which permeates Hennebeau's symbolic a c t i o n of having h i s wife "entrer un i n s t a n t . . . dans l a masure du vieux Mouque" (473) when she i s shocked to hear of C e c i l e ' s death. T h i s h o v e l , as M. Hennebeau knows a l l too w e l l , i s one of the f o c a l p o i n t s f o r working- c l a s s sexual abandon: I t i s a chapel f o r s e x - a s - r e l i g i o n , a synagogue f o r e r o t i c paganism i n the heart of Nature amid the i n d u s t r i a l wasteland of R e q u i l l a r t . The f i n a l example of i n t e r c l a s s e r o t i c a i s provided by Etienne's gradual embourgeoisement. Although he does not a c t u a l l y break the Z o l i a n r u l e of e r o t i c c l a s s f i d e l i t y , he does r e a c t with a m i d d l e - c l a s s p e r s p e c t i v e to the problems caused by the sexual p r o m i s c u i t y of h i s co-workers. J u s t as 129 Zola d e s c r i b e s Zacharie and Philomene's r e l a t i o n s h i p as being " l a commune h i s t o i r e des pr o m i s c u i t e s du coron, l e s garcons et l e s f i l l e s p o u r r i s s a n t ensemble" (120), that i s espousing a m i d d l e - c l a s s view of working-class i n h i b i t i o n s and sexual "freedom", so too does Etienne use the verb " p o u r r i r " — t o r o t , s p o i l , c o r r u p t — i n h i s own r e a c t i o n to young l o v e r s romping i n the f i e l d s of wheat: Depuis que sa nature s ' a f f i n a i t , i l se t r o u v a i t b l e s s e davantage par l e s p r o m i s c u i t e s du coron. E s t - c e qu'on e t a i t des betes, pour e t r e a i n s i parques, l e s uns contre l e s a u t r e s , au m i l i e u des champs, s i entasses qu'on ne pouvait changer de chemise sans montrer son d e r r i e r e aux v o i s i n s ! Et comme c ' e t a i t bon pour l a sante, et comme l e s f i l l e s et l e s garcons s'y p o u r r i s s a i e n t forcement ensemble! (178) Variou s r e l a t i o n s of cause and e f f e c t are present i n t h i s short but r e v e a l i n g passage. Etienne's t h i n k i n g and t a s t e s are becoming more r e f i n e d and m i d d l e - c l a s s , so he i s consequently offended by these scenes of e r o t i c p r o m i s c u i t y ; he r e c o g n i z e s the connection between the la c k of p r i v a c y and d i g n i t y , and sexual temptations; and by using animal metaphors such as "betes" and "parques", Etienne i m p l i c i t l y c a l l s i n t o q u e s t i o n the idea t h a t the working c l a s s i s somehow more f r e e as a r e s u l t of i t s sexual p r o m i s c u i t y . Whereas M. Hennebeau views the workers' indulgence i n u n i n h i b i t e d s e x u a l i t y as reason enough f o r them t o be c a r e f r e e and content, Etienne i n t r o d u c e s the i n t e r e s t i n g n o t i o n t h a t the miners are seeking freedom and s p i r i t u a l r e l e a s e through r e l a t i v e l y u n r e s t r a i n e d s e x u a l i t y , the only means a v a i l a b l e or a f f o r d a b l e t o them. By o p i n i n g t h a t a 130 b e t t e r course of e r o t i c a c t i o n might be f o r young g i r l s to " s e r r e r l e s c u i s s e s " (143), Etienne i s embarking upon the dangerous road l e a d i n g to the s t e r i l i t y of bourgeois a n t i - e r o t i c i s m . In a s e l f - d e n y i n g and h e r o i c way, however, Etienne i s u l t i m a t e l y advocating freedom from s e x u a l i t y r a t h e r than freedom through s e x u a l i t y . That he e v e n t u a l l y succumbs to the temptations o f f e r e d by La Mouquette and Catherine i s proof not only of the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n h i s all-too-human nature, but i s a l s o a symbolic guarantee of h i s f i d e l i t y to h i s own s o c i a l c l a s s . As R a c h e l l e Rosenberg p o i n t s out, "Etienne's c h a s t i t y earn him great r e s p e c t i n the mining community, f o r abstinence on both the sexual and 5 2 a l i m e n t a r y l e v e l s i s a mark of heroism i n the Zola n o v e l . " The concept of p r o m i s c u i t y i s indeed a t r i c k y one i n Germinal. In f a c t , Zola does e v e r y t h i n g i n h i s a r t i s t i c power to keep the i s s u e confused and c o n t r a d i c t o r y . On the one hand, we have the undeniably negative image of an overcrowded p o p u l a t i o n , l i k e c a t t l e i n a pen, r u t t i n g i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y i n a f u t i l e attempt t o escape the pain of poverty; on the other, we have the p o s i t i v e p i c t u r e of young l o v e r s making love i n the heart of Nature, without f e a r , g u i l t , o r i n h i b i t i o n s . In t h i s p o s i t i v e l i g h t and i n mythopoeic terms, P h i l i p Walker i s c o r r e c t i n s t a t i n g t h a t "Zola's Eros i s i n some ways a s u b s t i t u t e f o r d i v i n e Grace, but the v i r t u e s i t imparts are i n t e n s e l y pagan o n e s — v i r i l i t y , s t r e n g t h , courage, p h y s i c a l joy, e c s t a t i c 53 awareness of one's a n i m a l i t y , and u n i t y with nature." How i 3 i then do we r e c o n c i l e o l d Mouque's f e e l i n g of calm "devant l e s choses de l a nature" (142) with Etienne's i n c r e a s i n g d i s g u s t at the s t r e s s e s and pain imposed by " l e s abandons de l a misere" (139)? In p a r t , there i s a good d e a l of j e a l o u s h y p o c r i s y i n Etienne's d i s m i s s i v e judgmentalism s i n c e he i s shown as w i l l i n g t o sublimate h i s sexual l i b i d o i n t o the p u r s u i t of h i s p o l i t i c a l ambition. Nonetheless, as Smethurst a s s e r t s , h i s [.Etienne's"1 coming from o u t s i d e the community of Montsou prov i d e s a motive f o r h i s c l e a r e r o b s e r v a t i o n s of the tr u e s t a t e of the miners' e x i s t e n c e , provokes the r e a c t i o n t h a t something must be done about the s i t u a t i o n , and begins the process of p o l i t i c a l educatiorj^which culminates i n h i s l e a d e r s h i p of the s t r i k e . In f a c t , Etienne, a l r e a d y an o u t s i d e r w i t h i n a homogeneous community, i s f u r t h e r s e t apart from h i s comrades by h i s p o l i t i c a l a u t o d i d a c t i c i s m : "Devenir un ce n t r e , s e n t i r l e monde r o u l e r autour de s o i , c ' e t a i t un c o n t i n u e l gonflement de v a n i t e , pour l u i , 1'ancien mecanicien, l e haveur aux mains grasses et n o i r e s " (234). T h i s v a n i t y , as w e l l as the p r i d e he takes i n h i s a b i l i t y to make sexual s a c r i f i c e , leads t o Etienne's d i s t i n c t f e e l i n g s of s u p e r i o r i t y , both pedagogic and e r o t i c . I t i s at t h i s p o i n t t h a t Souvarine b r i n g s Etienne back t o r e a l i t y by i n s i s t i n g t h a t "votre haine des bourgeois v i e n d r a uniquement de v o t r e besoin enrage d'etre des bourgeois a l e u r p l a c e " (393). Etienne's adopting of bourgeois manners and mores helps r e i n f o r c e the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n h i s own mind with regard t o human s e x u a l i t y . Once again, an attempt at e r o t i c c l a s s b e t r a y a l 132 or at l e a s t a r e j e c t i o n of c l a s s - b a s e d sexual values i s met with the s t e r n e s t of r e b u f f s . P a r a d o x i c a l l y , the h y p e r f e r t i l i t y a s s o c i a t e d with p r o m i s c u i t y r e p r e s e n t s the key to the doors both l e a d i n g i n t o and out of the p r i s o n of r e p r e s s i v e poverty and working c o n d i t i o n s . P r o m i s c u i t y leads not only t o o v e r p o p u l a t i o n and overcrowding, but to the numerical c l o u t r e q u i r e d f o r bloody r e v o l u t i o n . One of the most s t r i k i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the novel i s t h a t i t s author would choose t o p o r t r a y r e v o l u t i o n as having such b l a t a n t l y obvious i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r human s e x u a l i t y . Yet, as Ida-Marie Frandon summarizes, "Zola e s t . . . soucieux de denoncer 1 ' i n j u s t i c e s o c i a l e , l a r e s p o n s a b i l i t e de ceux qui rendent p o s s i b l e s de t e l s actes plu s encore que l a c o r r u p t i o n de qui l e s commet."~>~> Zola i s h i g h l y conscious of h i s own ambivalence towards demotic sex, and thus p r e f e r s to c r i t i c i z e the c a u s e — p o l i t i c a l r e p r e s s i o n — r a t h e r than the e f f e c t — s e x u a l decadence. Zola i n i t i a l l y l o c a t e s the beginnings of the workers' u p r i s i n g underground. Although t h i s s e t t i n g i s not s u r p r i s i n g g i v e n the subterranean nature of mi n e r a l e x t r a c t i o n , i t i s symbolic because the r e b e l l i o n occurs w i t h i n the Earth's "womb" and i n f a c t germinates there l i k e the seeds of a har v e s t yet to come: "Une r e b e l l i o n germait dans ce c o i n e t r o i t , a pres de s i x cents metres sous l a t e r r e " (81). T h i s r e v o l u t i o n takes p l a c e under the aegis of Mother Nature h e r s e l f , who i s pregnant with an army of people d e d i c a t e d t o the overthrow of the co r r u p t 133 b o u r g e o i s i e , an army which upholds the i d e a l s of j u s t i c e and e g a 1 i t a r i a n i s m . The numerical e f f e c t i v e n e s s of these s o l d i e r s and t h e i r d e d i c a t i o n to N a t u r e — a n d Nature to them- are demonstrated by t h e i r p a s sionate sexual a c t i v i t y amidst the r u i n s of the abandoned mine at R e q u i l l a r t . Although i n d u s t r i a l i s m may r e s u l t i n a p o l l u t e d landscape l i t t e r e d with d e b r i s and broken machinery, the miners are able to b r i n g the p r o c r e a t i v e f o r c e s of n a t u r a l e r o t i c i s m back to such a s t e r i l e and c o r r u p t i n d u s t r i a l wasteland: "Et i l semblait que ce f u t , autour de l a machine e t e i n t e , pres de ce p u i t s l a s de degorger de l a h o u i l l e , une revanche de l a c r e a t i o n , l e l i b r e amour q u i , sous l e coup de fouet de l ' i n s t i n c t , p l a n t a i t des enfants dans l e s ventres de ces f i l l e s , a peine femmes" (141-42). In t h i s way, Gaea and the miners s a t i s f y t h e i r mutual need f o r revenge simultaneously, though i n d i f f e r e n t ways. I t i s Etienne L a n t i e r who becomes the c a t a l y s t f o r these f o r c e s of i n s t i n c t i v e revenge; i t i s he who i s able to help overcome " l a r e s i g n a t i o n de l a r a c e " (223 ) with h i s c a l l t o s o c i a l i s t arms, h i s emphasis on education, and h i s appeal t o the miners' l a t e n t sense of n a t u r a l j u s t i c e . Although the r e v o l u t i o n he t e m p o r a r i l y leads i s , s t r i c t l y speaking a f a i l u r e i n the s h o r t term, he leaves the miners with the t o o l s they w i l l need i n i n e v i t a b l e f u t u r e c o n f r o n t a t i o n s . In e f f e c t , he helps the miners help themselves. I t i s thanks t o Etienne's own p o l i t i c a l ambitions and t h i r s t f o r acceptance t h a t " l e mineur n ' e t a i t 134 plus 1'ignorant, l a brute ecrasee dans l e s e n t r a i l l e s du s o l . Une armee p o u s s a i t des profondeurs des f o s s e s , une moisson de c i t o y e n s dont l a semence germait et f e r a i t e c l a t e r l a t e r r e , un jour de grand s o l e i l " (289). T h i s e x p l o s i o n of semen/seed c o n s t i t u t e s a c r u c i a l e r o t i c subtext: t h i s i s the overthrow of the " o l d " s o c i e t y through r e v o l u t i o n a r y orgasm. Jean B o r i e , i n h i s meticulous Freudian a n a l y s i s of the Rougon-Macquart s e r i e s , makes t h i s p i v o t a l o b s e r v a t i o n : II e s t deux r e f o u l e s pour l a conscience bourgeoise: l e peuple et l e corps. . . . L'homme c i v i l i s e , l e bourgeois . . . e s t l'homme de la nature vaincue, du corps domine. L'homme du peuple, f r u s t e , simple, v i t au c o n t r a i r e au niveau des i n s t i n c t s . II e s t legitime n a t u r e l , c ' e s t - a-dire a peu pres l a brut e . Hence i t i s no wonder t h a t the bourgeois p i c t u r e of working- c l a s s r e b e l l i o n should be based on the notion of a dangerous r u t t i n g monster whose t e e t h are sharpened by the d i s s e m i n a t i o n of s o c i a l i s t dogma, a monster which i s an i n d i v i d u a l i n c a r n a t i o n of the c o l l e c t i v e rage of an e n t i r e s o c i a l c l a s s . Thus the night-time g a t h e r i n g under the f u l l moon i n the f o r e s t of Vandame i s l i k e a pack of se e t h i n g wolves, "une f u r i e de v i s a g e s , des yeux l u i s a n t s , des bouches ouvertes, tout un r u t de peuple" (286). Zola repeats t h i s c r u c i a l word " r u t " d u r i n g h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of the aftermath of the vengeful d e s t r u c t i o n of bourgeois s o c i e t y : "on r e t o u r n e r a i t a l a v i e sauvage dans l e s b o i s , apres l e grand r u t , l a grande r i p a i l l e . . . . " (346 ). Here again, o r g i a s t i c sexual a c t i v i t y i s l i k e n e d t o f r e n z i e d f e a s t i n g , where both of these are symbolic of the overthrow 135 not only of m o n o p o l i s t i c c a p i t a l i s m , but of the bourgeois sexual code as w e l l . As i f to v i o l e n t l y complete t h i s s t r i k i n g l y e r o t i c p i c t u r e , Zola r e f e r s to "1 1avortement f i n a l de c e t t e levee en masse" (391) i n which the pregnant f o r c e s of Gaea are only t e m p o r a r i l y h a l t e d ; i t i s because of the Earth's a b i l i t y t o renew i t s e l f year a f t e r year that the p o s s i b i l i t y of v i c t o r y f o r the p r o l e t a r i a t i s only d e f e r r e d , and not destroyed. I t i s d i f f i c u l t f o r us to agree with David B e l l o s ' s c o n c l u s i o n t h a t " i n t h i s broken p r o l e t a r i a t nothing whatsoever i s germinating i n terms of p o l i t i c s or s o c i a l change: the r e v o l u t i o n a r y wind has q u i t e exhausted i t s e l f by the end"^ 7 or Van Buuren's a s s e r t i o n t h a t " c e t t e a l l u s i o n a une r e n a i s s a n c e v e g e t a l e qui aura l i e u dans un a v e n i r indetermine ne contrebalance guere l a f i n t r a g i q u e du 5 8 roman ." True, the s t r i k e r s end up i n d e f e a t ; the m o n o p o l i s t i c power of c a p i t a l i s i n c r e a s e d at the expense of Deneulin's sm a l l e r and independent company; the miners must resume work on management's terms; P i e r r o n i s promoted; La Maheude i s r e l u c t a n t l y f o r c e d underground; Bonnemort l o s e s h i s meagre pension; the miners' contingency fund i s exhausted; and the f r a g i l e union o r g a n i z a t i o n crumbles. Yet the extent of the miners' v i c t o r y , even i n b r u t a l and bloody defeat, i s nevertheless c o n s i d e r a b l e . Besides the obvious c o s t s to the Company i n terms of l o s s of confidence, r u i n e d machinery, and a n n i h i l a t e d investments, the workers are s y m b o l i c a l l y able to render the f o r c e s of i n d u s t r y 136 s t e r i l e by e x a c t i n g the s a c r i f i c e of C e c i l e , the G r e g o i res' only daughter. Although C e c i l e i s portrayed as being c h a r i t a b l e , v i r g i n a l , and naive, i t i s the extent to which she becomes the i n c a r n a t i o n of the f r u i t s of bourgeois s t e r i l i t y t h a t m e t a p h o r i c a l l y j u s t i f i e s her s t r a n g u l a t i o n at the hands of Bonnemort, the a r c h e t y p a l sage of the mining community. Her death r e p r e s e n t s the e x p i a t o r y s a c r i f i c e of the youngest r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of one "race" at the hands of the o l d e s t r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of another "race", s i m i l a r i n many ways to La B r u l e ' s e m a s c u l a t i o n — a s the o l d e s t female of the mining community—of Maigrat. F. W. J . Hemmings' a s s e r t i o n t h a t the G r e g o i r e s ' "naivete a c q u i t s them of d e l i b e r a t e v i l l a i n y . . . and t h a t Zola m i s c a l c u l a t e d i n punishing the Gregoires so h e a v i l y at 59 the end" seems absurd i n i t s s h o r t - s i g h t e d n e s s and d i s a p p o i n t i n g i n i t s lack of p e r s p i c a c i t y and i m a g i n a t i o n . S u r e l y b a n a l i t y and w i l f u l ignorance are both m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of the enormity of bourgeois m a l i c e . L i k e w i s e , E l l i o t t M. Grant sees the Gregoires as "unproductive, but i n no sense h a r m f u l " ^ ; as we hypothesized at the o u t s e t of t h i s chapter, the Gregoires d r i n k i n g v i n t a g e Burgundy w h i l e the blood of miners i s s p i l l e d denotes a vampiric and c a n n i b a l i s t i c r e a c t i o n to human s u f f e r i n g . The G r e g o i r e s ' u n p r o d u c t i v i t y i s t h e r e f o r e p a r a s i t i c and very harmful indeed. "L'Homme n o i r " i s introduced as a s u p e r s t i t i o u s figment of C a t h e r i n e ' s i m a g i n a t i o n , an o l d and blackened miner who 137 according to l o c a l legend "tord l e cou aux v i l a i n e s f i l l e s " (70) as a c l a s s - b a s e d c o n t r o l mechanism against n o n - p r o c r e a t i v e sexual a c t i v i t y . In f a c t , "l'Homme n o i r " becomes no other than Bonnemort h i m s e l f , who twice attemtps to seek the revenge of h i s oppressed c l a s s by s a c r i f i c i n g a v i r g i n a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of the oppressor c l a s s . On the f i r s t o c c a s i o n , "des mains f r o i d e s v enaient de l a prendre au cou. C e t a i t l e vieux Bonnemort . . . q u i c e d a i t a des choses q u ' i l n ' a u r a i t pu d i r e , a un besoin de f a i r e ca, a l a f a s c i n a t i o n de ce cou blanc de jeune f i l l e " ( 357 ). On the second o c c a s i o n , Bonnemort i s overcome by "un coup de brusque demence, a une t e n t a t i o n i n e x p l i c a b l e de meurtre, devant ce cou blanc de jeune f i l l e " (472). I t i s because Bonnemort has been so blackened and besmirched by soot over the years t h a t he f i n d s C e c i l e ' s white s k i n so a t t r a c t i v e ; yet h i s blackness i s a s i g n of s p i r i t u a l decay, i n much the same way as h i s mind and body have been worn out through overwork and exposure to carcinogens. Bonnemort and C e c i l e Gregoire are thus a n t i t h e s e s , he being o l d , b l a c k , and c r i p p l e d w h ile she i s young, white and f r e s h . P a r a d o x i c a l l y , C e c i l e i s a " v i l a i n e f i l l e " d e s p i t e her p h y s i c a l p u r i t y and e r o t i c ignorance. Her v i l l a i n y i s symbolic s i n c e the c a s u a l d i s r e g a r d of her s o c i a l c l a s s comes tog e t h e r , r i g h t l y or wrongly, i n her persona. She i s the s a c r i f i c i a l bourgeois lamb "eaten" by the monstrous working-class wolf. Her shocking death sounds the d e a t h k n e l l f o r the smug complacency and ignorance of the 138 b o u r g e o i s i e : the resonances of rape i n her murder at the hands of Bonnemort—her v i r g i n a l s t a t u s , Bonnemort's i n s t i n c t i v e temptation to v i o l e n c e (much l i k e Etienne when d e s c r i b e d as being "au bord du v i o l " [_39§]), and the mining women's previous aborted attempt t o e r o t i c a l l y h u m i l i a t e C e c i l e - - r e i n f o r c e the equation of sex and death. The c l e a r e s t e x p r e s s i o n of t h i s equation, however, comes towards the end of the novel when Etienne and Catherine f i n a l l y make love underground a f t e r Chaval's dramatic e l i m i n a t i o n . The long-awaited love scene between the i d e a l i z e d couple culminates i n Catherine's own death; i t i s as i f her a l l - t o o - r e c e n t menstruation has l e f t her too weak to withstand the simultaneous a s s a u l t of Eros and Thanatos. Once Etienne's v i r i l i t y i s f i n a l l y proven a f t e r having s u c c e s s f u l l y navigated the o b s t a c l e course of h i s and Cat h e r i n e ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p , Catherine i s l e f t d r a m a t i c a l l y and s t r u c t u r a l l y redundant. The way i s paved f o r Etienne's r e s u r r e c t i o n : "Etienne apparut decharne, l e s cheveux tout b l a n c s ; et on s ' e c a r t a i t , on f r e m i s s a i t devant ce v i e i l l a r d " (491). I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t Zola would choose t o c r e a t e such a profound connection between s e x u a l i t y and r e v o l u t i o n i n Germinal. His age was c h a r a c t e r i z e d by great p o l i t i c a l changes, o f t e n brought about a g a i n s t a backdrop of a n a r c h i s t i c and mob-inspired v i o l e n c e . I t i s a l s o t r u e t h a t there have always been s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n sexual e x p r e s s i o n as a f u n c t i o n of s o c i a l s tanding; these 139 d i f f e r e n c e s are s t i l l e vident to s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h e r s of our own age.^ 1 Why should Zola not combine these obvious c l a s s d i f f e r e n c e s , one p o l i t i c a l and the other sexual? Zola's achievement i n Germinal, t h e r e f o r e , i s o f t e n a f u s i o n of the body p o l i t i c with the body e r o t i c , a s y n t h e t i c process which makes f o r g r i p p i n g and memorable r e v o l u t i o n a r y drama. Despite t h i s l i t e r a r y s y n t h e s i s , Zola s t i l l remains an author h i g h l y conscious of h i s own a d u l t m i d d l e - c l a s s s t a t u s f o l l o w i n g a c h i l d h o o d spent i n the poverty of a s i n g l e - parent f a m i l y . Havelock E l l i s t r a c e s the e f f e c t s of poverty i n Zola's own l i f e , r e f e r r i n g to the sense of i s o l a t i o n and s e g r e g a t i o n t h a t the young Zola must have experienced as an a d o l e s c e n t : During long years a f t e r h i s f a t h e r ' s death, Zola, as a c h i l d and youth, s u f f e r e d from poverty, poverty almost amounting to a c t u a l s t a r v a t i o n , the t e r r i b l e poverty of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . The whole temper of h i s work and h i s outlook on the world are c l e a r l y c o n d i t i o n e d by t h i s prolonged s t a r v a t i o n of adolescence. The t i m i d and r e s e r v e d y o u t h — f o r such, i t i s s a i d , has been Zola's c h a r a c t e r both i n youth and manhood--was shut up with h i s f r e s h e n e r g i e s i n a g a r r e t while the panorama of the P a r i s world was unfolded below him. Forced both by circumstances and by temperament to p r a c t i s e the s t r i c t e s t c h a s t i t y and s o b r i e t y , there was but one indulgence l e f t open to him, an orgy of v i s i o n . Of t h i s , as we read h i s books, we cannot doubt t h a t he f u l l y a v a i l e d h i m s e l f , f o r each volume of the Rouqon-Macquart s e r i e s i s an orgy of m a t e r i a l v i s i o n . Having experienced both the comforts of success and the harshness of i n d i g e n c e , Zola becomes an e r o t i c " s e g r e g a t i o n i s t " who warns a g a i n s t the dangers i n h e r e n t i n 140 i n t e r c l a s s s e x u a l i t y . Since Zola underwent personal embourgeoisement, we f i n d i t d i f f i c u l t to r e c o n c i l e t h i s psychosexual stance with h i s own l i f e . Nonetheless, t h i s s e g r e g a t i o n n e a t l y encapsulates the dilemma faced by members of both s o c i a l c l a s s e s analyzed and d e s c r i b e d i n Germinal. Both the p r o l e t a r i a t and the b o u r g e o i s i e are i r r e m e d i a b l y trapped, the former group enslaved by the tyranny of heated passions b l i n d l y s a t i s f i e d amid c r u s h i n g n e g l e c t , and the l a t t e r p a r a l y s e d by an a n t i - e r o t i c i s m l e a d i n g to symbolic s t e r i l i t y , the p e r v e r s i o n s of a d u l t e r y and i n c e s t , and per s o n a l r e p r e s s i o n of the hi g h e s t o r d e r . The s t a r k c l a s s - b a s e d d i f f e r e n c e s i n Zola's novel a l s o f i n d symbolic e x p r e s s i o n i n the complicated equations of money, food, and sex. The p r o l e t a r i a t makes money to e x i s t , whereas the bourgeois c a p i t a l i s t e x i s t s t o make money; the p l e b e i a n eats t o l i v e , while the gourmet bourgeois l i v e s to eat; and, f i n a l l y , the oppressed e x i s t t o make l o v e , while the repressed only make love t o " e x i s t " or p r o c r e a t e . These are a l l fundamental d i f f e r e n c e s of ideology and i t i s f o r t h i s reason t h a t "on peut c o n c l u r e que l e d i s c o u r s sur l a s e x u a l i t e e s t b i e n , dans Germinal, un d i s c o u r s i d e o l o g i q u e . Between the exaggerated extremes of c l a s s e s i n c o n f l i c t l i e s Zola's own e r o t i c i d e a l , p r i n c i p a l l y as embodied i n Etienne L a n t i e r and Constance and Toussa i n t Maheu. They achieve h e r o i c s t a t u s by r e p u d i a t i n g both the pr o m i s c u i t y of t h e i r working-class peers and the a n t i - e r o t i c i s m of the 141 b o u r g e o i s i e . They s u c c e s s f u l l y s t r a d d l e an e r o t i c middle ground, a symbolic b a l a n c i n g act i n which only Catherine comes c l o s e to being s u c c e s s f u l . T h i s b r i d g i n g of the s o c i a l g u l f — t h e e r o t i c o v e r l a p of two d i v e r g e n t value s y s t e m s — i s d i r e c t l y a t t r i b u t a b l e to Etienne's l u s t f o r p o l i t i c a l knowledge. The r e s u l t s of h i s near embourgeoisement have u l t i m a t e l y f a r - r e a c h i n g i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r every other c h a r a c t e r i n the n o v e l . For h i s age, Zola was a r e v o l u t i o n a r y w r i t e r . That has been our u n d e r l y i n g t h e s i s a l l throughout t h i s essay, and i t i s why we must re p u d i a t e statements to the c o n t r a r y , such as Hemming's c o n c l u s i o n t h a t : Germinal, i n s h o r t , i s n e i t h e r a r e v o l u t i o n a r y nor a r e a c t i o n a r y work; remaining c a r e f u l l y and i n t e n t i o n a l l y n e u t r a l , Zola l e f t unexamined the f u l l p o l i t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of the s o c i a l i s s u e s he r a i s e d , while he made t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , and g r a v i t y , b l i n d i n g l y c l e a r . I t i s arguable, however, t h a t i n 1885 the mere exposure and g r a p h i c p o r t r a y a l of s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e c o n s t i t u t e d i n i t s e l f a r e v o l u t i o n a r y a c t . I t i s not only Zola's graphic p o r t r a y a l of s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e t h a t accounts f o r the overwhelming success of Germinal and f o r i t s well-deserved r e p u t a t i o n as one of the most profoundly g r i p p i n g novels i n French l i t e r a t u r e . I t i s a l s o Zola's r e v o l u t i o n a r y — b o t h l i t e r a l l y and f i g u r a t i v e l y - treatment of working-class e r o t i c i s m which e x p l a i n s the novel's l i t e r a r y d u r a b i l i t y and power. 142 CONCLUSION In the end, there i s hope. Although the denouement of Germinal has some ambiguity, even i n defeat there may be f u t u r e v i c t o r y . T h i s v i c t o r y i s profound, going beyond the c l a s s i c notions of c l a s s r e v o l u t i o n , of p a t r i a r c h y , of s u b j u g a t i o n , and of machismo. I t i s the Z o l i a n v i c t o r y of love as the t r u e source of human redemption: Eros and Thanatos have been l e f t behind. Yet Germinal i s an e r o t i c t e x t n e v e r t h e l e s s . Zola, l i k e every great a r t i s t , i s a god, and as such must r e c r e a t e the cosmos i n h i s own image and i n h i s own f a s h i o n . Zola's most permeative and c r e a t i v e image i s t h a t of union, the s y n t h e s i s of Eros and Thanatos i n the human animal. In terms of s e x u a l i t y , Zola s u r e l y used h i s w r i t i n g s t o compensate f o r h i s own k e e n l y - f e l t f r u s t r a t i o n s and w o r r i e s ; t h i s should come as no s u r p r i s e . But d e s p i t e — o r perhaps because o f — p e r v a s i v e n e u r o s i s , Zola i n the end seems e q u a l l y f a s c i n a t e d and r e p u l s e d by human e r o t i c i s m . We concur with Krakowski i n c o n c l u d i n g t h a t "Zola ne condamne pas l a c h a i r , en t a n t que t e l l e , mais i l attaque sa toute puissance, l a v o l u p t e , qui se l e v e contre l a j u s t i c e , q u i 143 aveugle et r e d u i t l ' e t r e a sa p i r e a n i m a l i t e . I t i s love that enables the human animal to transcend h i s e v o l u t i o n a r y h e r i t a g e of beasthood; i t i s love t h a t t o l e r a t e s d i f f e r e n c e — a s Etienne i s " d i f f e r e n t " , as Catherine i s " d i f f e r e n t " ; i t i s love t h a t razes the Darwinian jungle where only the f i t t e s t t h r i v e ; i t i s love t h a t shoots through the indomitable d r i v e f o r human freedom, " l ' o b s t i n e besoin de v i v r e , de f a i r e de l a v i e une d e r n i e r e f o i s . I l s Etienne and Catherine s'aimerent dans l e d e s e s p o i r de tout, dans l a mort" (490). " F a i r e l'amour" has become " f a i r e de l a v i e " : to make love i s to make l i f e, not i n a narrow p r o c r e a t i v e sense, but i n the a f f i r m a t i o n of l i v i n g , i n the epiphany of e x i s t e n c e . The Z o l i a n concept of redemptive c h a s t i t y i s not j u s t a n t i - e r o t i c i s m , pure and simple. Instead, Zola's e r o t i c d o c t r i n e may be viewed as the advocacy as much of freedom from s e x u a l i t y as i t i s of freedom through s e x u a l i t y . Love i s the u l t i m a t e Z o l i a n l i b e r a t o r — f o r both bourgeois and p r o l e t a r i a n — e s p e c i a l l y as f e l t and shown between mother and c h i l d . On the e p i c s c a l e of Germinal, t h i s becomes the mutual love of a p l a n e t and i t s people. We must remember t h a t Eros i s more than j u s t c o i t u s . I n s o f a r as education r e p r e s e n t s f e r t i l i z a t i o n of the mind, Etienne's l e a d e r s h i p and g i f t of t e a c h i n g are both profoundly " e r o t i c " s i n c e they are v i t a l and l i f e - e n r i c h i n g . The e r o t i c f o r Zola i s a s y t h e s i s of the mythic and the s o c i o l o g i c a l , a f u s i o n of the animal and the vegetable, i n 144 much the same way as Germinal i s h i s grand attempt at a c h i e v i n g the concord of sc i e n c e and r e l i g i o n through the marriage of melodrama and poetry. Thus, c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n Zola's i d e o l o g y , or d i s c o r d w i t h i n the i n t e r n a l t e x t play a l a r g e p a r t i n f u r n i s h i n g the r i c h n e s s and t e n s i o n t h a t have made the novel famous. One of Zola's most r e v o l u t i o n a r y p o r t r a y a l s and one of the most s t r i k i n g impressions made by Germina 1 i s th a t of female sexual power. Women, i n f a c t , are the f o c a l p o i n t of Z o l i a n e r o t i c i s m t o such an extent t h a t men s u f f e r i n comparison. Women, as being more i n t i m a t e l y connected with Gaea, are more profoundly sensual and s e x u a l . Male s e x u a l i t y , by way of st a r k c o n t r a s t , i s the v i r t u a l l y e x c l u s i v e focus f o r the b r u t a l Z o l i a n r e d u c t i o n of human e r o t i c i n s t i n c t s t o v i o l e n t a n i m a l i t y . T h i s essay has examined two fundamental l e v e l s of re a d i n g : manifest and l a t e n t . Our t h e s i s was to i l l u m i n a t e the manifest n a r r a t i v e by probing i t s e r o t i c l a t e n c y . The u l t i m a t e i n Z o l i a n i r o n y , when a l l i s s a i d and done, i s that the e r o t i c subtext i t s e l f g i v e s way to a f u r t h e r amorous i n t e r p r e t a t i o n : the reading of l o v e . 145 NOTES I David B e l l o s , "From the Bowels of the E a r t h , " Forum f o r Modern Language S t u d i e s , 15 (1979) : 43. 2 Northrop Frye, The Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m ( P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n UP, 1957) 181. 3 Eugene Linden, "How the Earth Maintains L i f e , " Time 13 Nov. 1989 : 114. 4 F. W. J . Hemmings, Emile Zola, 2nd ed. , (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966) 109. 5 R a c h e l l e A. Rosenberg, "The S l a y i n g of the Dragon: An A r c h e t y p a l Study of Zola's Germinal," Symposium 26 (1972) : 357 . ^ C o l i n Smethurst, Z o l a : Germinal (London: Edward A r n o l d , 1974) 38. 7 B e l l o s 37. o Maarten Van Buuren, Les Rougon-Macquart d'Emile Z o l a : De l a metaphore au mythe ( P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Jose C o r t i , 1986) 103. 9 C. G. Jung, qtd . i n Germaine Greer, Sex and D e s t i n y : The P o l i t i c s of Human F e r t i l i t y (London: Seeker & Warburg, 1984) 36. 1 0 C a r o l S. F u l l e r , "The Symbolic and S t r u c t u r a l F u n c t i o n of J e a n l i n , " French Review 54.1 (Oct. 1980) : 62. I I Jean B o r i e , Zola et l e s mythes: Ou, De l a nausee au s a l u t ( P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 1971) 81. 12 Emile Z o l a , q t d . i n Smethurst 22. 3 F r a n c i s S. Heck, "Love and Women i n How Green i s my 146 V a l l e y and Germinal," Research Studies 48.1 (1980) : 58. 14 Richard H. Zakarian, Zola's Germinal: A C r i t i c a l Study of i t s Primary Sources (Geneve: L i b r a i r i e Droz S. A., 1972) 113. 1 5 Sandy Petrey, "Obscenity and R e v o l u t i o n , " D i a c r i t i c s I I I , 3 (1973) : 25. 1 6 Van Buuren 134. 1 7 Havelock E l l i s , " Z o l a : The Man and h i s Work," C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Zola, ed. David Baguley (Boston: G. K. H a l l & Co., 1986) 71. 18 Henri M i t t e r a n d , "Germinal et l e s i d e o l o g i e s , " Les C a h i e r s n a t u r a l i s t e s 42 (1971) : 143. 1 9 C a r o l S. F u l l e r , "The I n f e r t i l e Rabbit," Nineteenth Century French Studies X, 1-2 (1981-82) : 342. 20 Chantal Jennings, "Zola f e m i n i s t e ? " Les Cahiers n a t u r a l i s t e s 46 (1973) : 18. 21 Emile Z o l a , qtd. i n C o l e t t e Becker, Emile Z o l a : La f a b r i q u e de Germinal ( P a r i s : E d i t i o n s Sedes, 1986) 55. 2 2 Auguste Dezalay, "Le theme du S o u t e r r a i n chez Z o l a , " Europe 468-69 ( a v r i l - m a i 1968) : 110-21. 23 Naomi Schor, "Mother's Day: Zola's Women," C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Z o l a , ed. David Baguley (Boston: G. K. H a l l & Co., 1986) 136. 24 Anna Krakowski, La c o n d i t i o n de l a femme dans l'oeuvre d'Emile Zola ( P a r i s : A.-G. N i z e t , 1974) 248. 25 J u l e s Lemaitre, "Emile Z o l a , " C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Zola, ed. and t r a n s . David Baguley (Boston: G. K. H a l l 147 & Co., 1986) 59. Henri M i t t e r a n d , "Fonction n a r r a t i v e et f o n c t i o n mimetique: l e s personnages de Germinal," Poetique IV, 16 (1973) : 483. 27 Van Buuren 184. 2 8 Female underground mine l a b o r was banned i n France 19 May 1874. The chronology of Germinal i s g e n e r a l l y accepted as being 1866-67. 2 9 Krakowski 16-17. 3 0 F u l l e r , "Rabbit" 343. 3 1 Smethurst 44. 3 2 Schor, "Women" 140. 3 3 Some modern i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the d e s t r u c t i o n of Sodom and Gomorrha c o n s i d e r v i o l e n t i n h o s p i t a l i t y t o be the reason f o r Jehovah's r e t r i b u t i o n . S u f f i c e i t t o say the exegeses of t h i s Old Testament passage are m u l t i p l e . 3 4 Van Buuren 187. 35 Van Buuren 82. Emile Z o l a , q t d . i n John C. Lapp, "The Watcher Betrayed and the F a t a l Woman," PMLA LXXIV (1959) : 282. See a l s o Laupts, A l a memoire d'Emile Zola (Lyon: Rey, 1907) 10. •3 7 P h i l i p p e Lejeune, "La Cote-Verte et l e T a r t a r e t , " Poetique X, 40 (1979) 481. 3 8 See "Un episode inconnu de l'enfance d'Emile Z o l a , " Mercure de France, 1 March 1929, 508. 39 . . . . See Lou i s - L a u r e n t Simonin, La V i e s o u t e r r a i n e , ou l e s mines e t l e s mineurs ( P a r i s : 1867). S i m i l a r phenomena 148 have been rep o r t e d i n S a i n t - E t i e n n e , France, and i n Burning H i l l , S t a f f o r d s h i r e , England. 40 Henri M i t t e r a n d , Zola et l e naturalisme ( P a r i s : Presses u n i v e r s i t a i r e s de France, 1986) 100. 41 Hugh Kenner, "Mazes," qtd . i n New York Times Book Review 27 Aug. 1989, 31. 42 „ Greer 43. 4 3 . - Docteur H. Boens-Boisseau, T r a i t e p r a t i q u e des maladies, des a c c i d e n t s et des d i f f p r m i t e s des h o u i l l e u r s , qtd. i n Ida-Marie Frandon, Autour de Germinal: La Mine et l e s mineurs ( L i l l e : L i b r a i r i e G i a r d , 1955) 98. 4 4 D i f f e r e n c e s i n b i r t h r a t e s have l e d to the e x p r e s s i o n of p o l i t i c a l concerns i n Quebec, Northern I r e l a n d , and I s r a e l , to name but a few. 4 5 Germinal 41, 44, 105, 176. 46 Although some rudimentary forms of b i r t h c o n t r o l may have been a v a i l a b l e to l e peuple i n mid-nineteenth century France, i t was not u n t i l 1879 t h a t the f i r s t b i r t h c o n t r o l c l i n i c opened i n Amsterdam under the d i r e c t i o n of Dr. A l e t t a Jacobs. See Greer 356. 47 Zakarian 115. 4 8 Germinal 215-230. 49 Petrey 24. ^ For more d e t a i l e d d i s c u s s i o n of Zola's i n t r a - and e x t r a m a r i t a l f u l f i l l m e n t see Joanna Richardson, Zola (London: Weidenfeld & N i c o l s o n , 1978) 127-30. I t was not u n t i l 1 8 8 9 — f o u r years a f t e r the i n i t i a l p u b l i c a t i o n of 149 Germinal--that Zola and Jeanne Rozerot became r o m a n t i c a l l y i n v o l v e d . 5 1 Smethurst 50. 52 Rosenberg 352. 5 3 P h i l i p Walker, "Prophetic myths i n Z o l a , " PMLA LXXIV (1959) : 447. 54 Smethurst 32. 5 5 Frandon 99-100. 5 6 B o r i e 17. 5 7 B e l l o s 43. 5 8 Van Buuren 113. 59 Hemmings, 2nd ed. 205. 6 0 E l l i o t t M. Grant, Zola's Germinal: A C r i t i c a l and H i s t o r i c a l Study ( L e i c e s t e r : L e i c e s t e r UP, 1962) 18. 61 See Anne McCreary Juhasz, ed. , Sexual development and behavior (Homewood, I l l i n o i s : Dorsey Press, 1973); Frank A. Beach, ed. , Human S e x u a l i t y i n Four P e r s p e c t i v e s ( B a l t i m o r e : Johns Hopkins UP, 1976); and J a c q u e l i n e P. Wiseman, The S o c i a l Psychology of Sex (New York: Harper & Row, 197 6 ). 6 2 E l l i s 67. 6 3 M i t t e r a n d , " I d e o l o g i e " 151. 64 Hemmings, 2nd ed. 209. 6 5 Krakowski 69. 150 WORKS CONSULTED Baguley, David. B i b l i o g r a p h i e de l a c r i t i q u e sur Emile Zola (1971-80). Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1982. "Germinal et l e s genres." Europe 678 (Oct. 1985) : 42-53. Becker, C o l e t t e . Emile Z o l a : Germinal. P a r i s : Presses u n i v e r s i t a i r e s de l a France, 1984. Emile Z o l a : La f a b r i q u e de Germinal. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s Sedes, 1986. "Temps de l ' h i s t o i r e et temps du mythe dans Germinal". Revue d ' h i s t o i r e l i t t e r a i r e de l a France 85.1-3 (1985) : 464-74. B e l l o s , David. "From the Bowels of the E a r t h " . Forum f o r Modern Language Studies 15 (1979) : 35-45. Bernard, Marc. Zola par lui-meme. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 1952. Bonnefis, P h i l i p p e . "Le b e s t i a i r e d'Emile Z o l a " . Europe 468-69 ( a v r i l - m a i 1968) : 97-106. B o r i e , Jean. Zola et l e s mythes: Ou, De l a nausee au s a l u t . P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 1971. Brady, P a t r i c k . " S t r u c t u r a t i o n a r chetypologique de Germinal". Cahiers i n t e r n a t i o n a u x de symbolisme 24- 25 (1973) : 87-97. Broca, Roland. "Freud-Marx-Zola". Europe 678 ( o c t . 1985) : 75-79. Brunet, E t i e n n e . Le v o c a b u l a i r e de Z o l a . Geneve: E d i t i o n s S l a t k i n e , 1985. Davoine, J e a n - P i e r r e . "Metaphores animales dans Germinal". Etudes f r a n c a i s e s 4 (1968) 5383-92. D e l l , F l o y d . Love i n the Machine Age: A P s y c h o l o g i c a l Study of the T r a n s i t i o n from P a t r i a r c h a l S o c i e t y . New York: Octagon Books, 1973. Dezalay, Auguste. L e c t u r e s de Z o l a . P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Armand C o l i n , 1973. L'opera des Rougon-Macquart: E s s a i de rythmologie romanesque. P a r i s : K l i n c k s i e c k , 1983. 151 "Le theme du S o u t e r r a i n chez Z o l a " . Europe 468- 69 ( a v r i l - m a i 1968) : 110-21. E l l i s , Havelock. " Z o l a : The Man and h i s Work". C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Z o l a . Ed. David Baguley. Boston: G.K. H a l l & Co., 1986 . 64-75. F a r i a , Neide de. S t r u c t u r e s et u n i t e dans l e s Rougon- Macquart: La poetique du c y c l e . P a r i s : A. G. N i z e t , 1977 . Feldman, A. Bronson. "Zola and the R i d d l e of Sadism". P s y c h o a n a l y s i s i n L i t e r a t u r e . Ed. Hendrik M. Ruitenbeek. New York: Dutton, 1964. 272-81. Fe r n a n d e z - Z o i l a , A d o l f o . "Aspects des r e l a t i o n s d ' a l t e r i t e dans Germinal". Europe 678 ( o c t . 1985) : 81-89. Frandon, Ida-Marie. Autour de Germinal: La Mine et l e s mineurs. L i l l e : L i b r a i r i e G i a r d , 1955. F u l l e r , C a r o l S. "The I n f e r t i l e Rabbit". Nineteenth Century French Studies 10.1-2 (1981-82) : 340-59. "The Symbolic and S t r u c t u r a l F u n c t i o n of J e a n l i n " . French Review 54.1 (Oct. 1980) : 58-65. Ger h a r d i , Gerhard. "Germinal: Mass A c t i o n and the Psychology of the I n d i v i d u a l " . S t u d i d i l e t t e r a t u r a f r a n c e s e 3 (1974) : 142-52. Grant, E l l i o t t M. Emile Z o l a . New York: Twayne P u b l i s h e r s , 1966. . Zola's Germinal: A C r i t i c a l and H i s t o r i c a l Study. L e i c e s t e r : L e i c e s t e r U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962. Grant, M i c h a e l . Myths of the Greeks and Romans. C l e v e l a n d : World P u b l i s h i n g Company, 1962. Greer, Germaine. Sex and D e s t i n y : The P o l i t i c s of Human F e r t i l i t y . London: Seeker & Warburg, 1984. Hamon, P h i l i p p e . Rev. of Zola e t l e s mythes by Jean B o r i e . Les Cahiers n a t u r a l i s t e s 44 (1972) : 228-33. Le personnel du roman: l e systeme des personnaqes dans l e s Rougon-Macquart d'Emile Z o l a . Geneve: L i b r a i r i e Droz S.A., 1983. Heck, F r a n c i s S. "Love and Women i n How Green i s my V a l l e y and Germinal". Research Studies 48.1 (1980) : 56- 62. 152 Hemmings, F. W. J . Emile Z o l a . 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966. " F i r e i n Zola's f i c t i o n " . Yale French Studies 42 (1969) : 26-51. Jennings, C h a n t a l . "Zola f e m i n i s t e ? " Les Cahiers n a t u r a l i s t e s 46 (1973) : 1-22. Howe, I r v i n g . " Z o l a : the Poetry of N a t u r a l i s m " . C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Z o l a . Ed. David Baguley. Boston: G.K. Hall"& Co., 1986 . 111-24 . Jung, C a r l Gustav. The E s s e n t i a l Jung. P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P ress, 1983. P s y c h o l o g i c a l Types. P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1971. Kanes, M a r t i n . "Germinal: drama and dramatic s t r u c t u r e " . Modern P h i l o l o g y 61 (1963) : 12-25. Krakowski, Anna. La c o n d i t i o n de l a femme dans l'oeuvre d'Emile Z o l a . P a r i s : A.-G. N i z e t , 1974. Lanoux, Armand. Bon jour Monsieur Z o l a . P a r i s : Club des l i b r a i r e s de France,' 1954 . Lapp, John C. "The Watcher Betrayed and the F a t a l Woman". PMLA LXXIV (1959) : 276-84. Lejeune, Paule. "Germinal: Un roman a n t i p e u p l e . P a r i s : A.- G. N i z e t , 1978. Lejeune, P h i l i p p e . "La Cote-Verte et l e T a r t a r e t " . Poetique X, 40 (1979) : 475-86. Lemaitre, J u l e s . "Emile Z o l a " . C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Z o l a . Ed. David Baguley. Boston: G.K. H a l l & Co., 1986. 44-60. L o r e n c i n i , A l v a r o . La comparaison e t l a metaphore dans Germinal d'Emile Z o l a . Sao Paulo: n.p., 1972. Maurin, Mario. "Zola's l a b y r i n t h s " . Yale French Studies 42 (1969) : 89-104. M i t t e r a n d , H e n r i . "The C a v a l r y of C a t h e r i n e Maheu: the d e s c r i p t i o n of a page i n Germinal". Yale French Stud i e s 42 (1969) : 115-25. "Le Roman e t ses " t e r r i t o i r e s " : l'espace p r i v e dans Germinal". Revue d ' h i s t o i r e l i t t e r a i r e de l a France 85.1-3 (1985) 412-26. 1 5 3 "Fonction n a r r a t i v e et f o n c t i o n mimetique: Les personnages de Germinal". Poetique IV, 16 ( 1 9 7 3 ) : 4 7 7 - 9 0 . "Germinal et l e s i d e o l o g i e s " . Les Cahiers n a t u r a l i s t e s 42 ( 1 9 7 1 ) : 1 4 1 - 5 2 . "La sueur du peuple". Europe 6 7 8 ( o c t . 1 9 8 5 ) : 3 - 6 . Zola et l e na t u r a l i s m e . P a r i s : Presses u n i v e r s i t a i r e s de France, 1 9 8 6 . N i e s s , R. J . "Le theme de l a v i o l e n c e dans l e s Rougon- Macquart". C a h i e r s n a t u r a l i s t e s 42 ( 1 9 7 1 ) : 1 3 1 - 39 . Oberndorf, Clarence P. "Psychoanalysis i n l i t e r a t u r e and i t s t h e r a p e u t i c v a l u e " . P s y c h o a n a l y s i s i n L i t e r a t u r e . Hendrik Marinus Ruitenbeek, ed. New York: Dutton, 1 9 6 4 . 1 0 2 - 1 3 . Pasco, A l l a n H. "Myth, metaphor and meaning i n Germinal". French Review XLVI, 4 ( 1 9 7 3 ) : 7 3 9 - 4 9 . Petrey, Sandy. "Obscenity and R e v o l u t i o n " . D i a c r i t i c s I I I , 3 ( 1 9 7 3 ) : 2 2 - 2 6 . P r o u l x , A l f r e d C. Aspects epiques des Rougon-Macquart de Z o l a . P a r i s : Mouton & Co., 1 9 6 6 . R i e f f , P h i l i p . Freud: The Mind of the M o r a l i s t . Garden C i t y , New York: Anchor Books, 1 9 6 1 . Rosenberg, R a c h e l l e A. "The S l a y i n g of the Dragon: An Arc h e t y p a l Study of Zola's Germinal". Symposium 26 ( 1 9 7 2 ) 3 4 9 - 6 2 . Sanders, James B. "Le denouement de Germinal." Cahiers de l'U.E.R. F r o i s s a r t : Z o l a , themes et recherchesT F r o i s s a r t : U n i v e r s i t e "de Valenciennes, 1 9 8 0 . 8~T- 89 . Schor, Naomi. "Mother's Day: Zola's Women". C r i t i c a l Essays on Emile Z o l a . Ed. David Baguley. Boston: G.K. H a l l & Co., 1 9 8 6 . 1 3 0 - 4 2 . " Z o l a : from window t o window". Yale French Studies 42 ( 1 9 6 9 ) : 3 8 - 5 1 . S e r r e s , M i c h e l . Feux et signaux de brume. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s Grasset et F a s q u e l l e , 1 9 7 8 . Smethurst, C o l i n . Z o l a : Germinal. London: Edward Arn o l d , 1 9 7 4 . 154 Van Buuren, Maarten. Les Rougon-Macquart d'Emile Z o l a : De l a metaphore au mythe. P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Jose C o r t i , 1986 . Walker, P h i l i p . "The m i r r o r , the window, and the eye i n Zola's f i c t i o n " . Yale French Studies 42 (1969) : 52- 67. "Prophetic myths i n Z o l a " . PMLA LXXIV ( I 9 5 9 ) : 444- 52. "Remarques sur l e serpent dans Germinal". Cahiers n a t u r a l i s t e s 31 (1965) 83-85. "Zola's a r t of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i n Germinal". E s p r i t c r e a t e u r IV, 2, (1964) : 60-67. White, Lucien W. "Moral Aspects of Zola's N a t u r a l i s m Judged By His Contemporaries and By Himself". Modern Language Q u a r t e r l y 23 (1962) : 360 Zakarian, Richard H. Zola's Germinal: A C r i t i c a l Study of i t s Primary Sources. Geneve: L i b r a i r i e Droz S. A., 1972 .

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