The Belly of Paris Themes

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Consumption

Consumption of goods is what drives business in Les Halles. The vast array of vegetables and fruit, meat and fish, cheese and butter are what motivate the consumerist citizens of Zola's Paris to beg, barter, sell and steal in order to meet their physical and social needs. Excess is an inescapable fact of life for Florent and those with whom he interacts. The characters, and by extension all of Parisian society, are well-established as consumers, gluttonous devourers not only of food but of one another. French society at the time the novel was written was clearly divided along the lines of class and social position. There are fat and thin people in the narrative who, according to their physical stature, are associated with one camp or the other. It is those belonging to the middle-class, the petits-bourgeois, who come under the critical eye of those occupying the lower...

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This section contains 1,548 words
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