L'Assommoir - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

As the novel begins, Gervaise lies awake late in the evening waiting for Lantier’s return to their small room in a hotel on the Boulevard de la Chapelle. Gervaise has just moved to Paris with Lantier, the father of her two children, Claude and Étienne, and is working as a laundress at a nearby shop. This is a recurring scene, and Gervaise knows something is amiss; when Lantier returns, early in the morning, the two get into a shouting match, causing the children to sob, with Zola painting a grim picture of their future.

Gervaise leaves for work, taking her children’s clothes along with her, and upon arrival, begins gossiping with Madame Boche, a fellow laundress. As the two continue mired in steam and sweat, but laughing all the same, Zola has Gervaise explain her background to Madame Boche (for the audience...

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This section contains 1,192 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the L'Assommoir Study Guide
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