L'Assommoir by Émile Zola (1840 - 1902)


  • 05 - Chapter II, part one

05 - Chapter II, part one

Thursday 1st January 1970

Explore the harsh reality of alcoholism and poverty in L'Assommoir by Émile Zola. Join the discussion on and discover the devastating effects of addiction
15 minutes

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L'Assommoir by Émile Zola (1840 - 1902)
Sobriety Day by Day
Relationships & Community
Sexual Empowerment & Identity
Family Recovery from Addiction
Financial Health in Recovery
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Uncovering the Harsh Realities of Alcoholism and Poverty in L'Assommoir by Émile Zola

L'Assommoir is a harsh and uncompromising study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris.
In Émile Zola's L'Assommoir, the reader is transported to the harsh reality of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris. The novel, which is part of the Les Rougon-Macquart series, is a powerful and uncompromising portrayal of addiction and its devastating effects. The main character, Gervaise, is a laundress who falls victim to alcohol and the poverty that surrounds her.
In chapter II, part one, Gervaise and Coupeau are seen partaking in a plum preserved in brandy at l'assommoir, a distillery that emits a licorice odour that thickens and befuddles the dust. This scene is just one of many that illustrates the dangers of alcoholism in a society that is already struggling with poverty. The novel is a reflection of Zola's commitment to naturalism, a literary movement that aimed to depict reality as it was, without any romanticizing or idealization.
L'Assommoir is a powerful reminder of the dangers of addiction and the importance of compassion and understanding when dealing with those who are struggling with it. Listen to the audio book production of L'Assommoir now here on and join the discussion on the devastating effects of addiction.