1. Describe how Germinal starts out.
Germinal starts on a Monday of February 1865, in the middle of the night. A young man named Etienne Lantier arrives on foot at the Voreux mining pit from Marchiennes, a town located a few kilometers away.
2. Why has Etienne come to the mine?
He is a mechanic who has been fired from his job at the railroad for hitting his supervisor; he has been out of work for a while.
3. Describe a little of Bonnemort.
He keeps coughing and spitting coal-colored phlegm while he talks, Bonnemort says he started to work in the mine at age 8 and never stopped since. Having worked for 45 years underground, he is now sick and disabled; for this reason, he cannot work inside the Voreux anymore.
4. In what type of situation does Bonnemort live?
Bonnemort, who lives in house number sixteen on the second block, is the elder of the Maheu family. He lives with his son, who goes simply by the name of Maheu, along with the latter's wife and their seven children. The wife goes by the name of La Maheude, and their children are named Zacharie, Catherine, Jeanlin, Alzire, Henri, Lénore and Estelle.
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