Chapter One* The novel opens with Claude Lantier walking home late at night during a rainstorm when he finds a young woman huddled in his doorway. * Not wanting to leave the young woman outside in the rain, he brings her up to his studio apartment to spend the night. * Claude is already in a bad temper because of his large painting which he has been unable to get on canvas the way he envisions it. * Christine wakes the next morning to find Claude sketching her as she lies in bed. * Christine's purity is portrayed in her reaction, pulling the cover up over her exposed arm. * Before she leaves, Christine performs a few domestic straightening duties in Claude's studio.
Chapter 2* When Pierre Sandoz arrives to pose for the man in Claude's painting, Zola explains their history and the beginnings of their revolutionary ideas. * As boys, Claude, Pierre, and Dubuche...
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