Essay Topic 1
Describe the overall setting for the novel. Why does Zola use the setting he does? What is the time period of the story? How important is the time period to the attitudes and issues of the characters?
Essay Topic 2
Explain the role of women in the early 1800s when this novel was written. What precedents do they feel compelled to follow? What restrictions do they have? What freedoms did they have that 21st century women do not have?
Essay Topic 3
Refusing to be bought is an important theme in the story. Cite at least three examples of how the characters refuse to give in or be bought by someone else.
Essay Topic 4
Manipulation takes on an almost human persona in this story. What is this literary technique called? Cite examples that support this technique.
Essay Topic 5
There is a lot of symbolism in this story regarding...
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