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Word Count: 841
Zola presents a rapid and powerful development of the affair between Thrse and Laurent How effective is Zolas portrayal of the encounter between the lovers and what are the changes evident in the previously calm and assured Laurent Therese is fascinated by Laurent when he first walks into her life as an adult She is spellbound by his sheer manliness and animal magnetism He is strong muscular and handsome the antithesis of Camille As Zola writes Therese had never seen a real man before Laurent is able to transfix and unsettle her with a single look It is obvious right off the bat that he has the young woman in his power She sits slack-jawed and pale and watches Laurent attentively while he tells his story He thinks up an excuse to come over to the Raquins more often Thereses reaction to him is intriguing For the rest of the evening he ignores her while she trembles with emotion Zola describes Thereses reaction physiologically as he does other characters throughout the book She cannot understand what it is about Laurent that makes her weak in the knees and constantly nervous around him She too wants to find out more about the interesting stranger She watches him paint Camilles portrait oblivious to everything else A strange force attracts her to him and she is unable to tear herself away Therese can barely even speak to Laurent when he tries to make conversation she quivers without knowing why In describing the encounter in chemical and physiological terms Zola is excellent All of her behavioural symptoms of lust are presented in just the cold and objective way the author was aiming for Laurents deliberation over whether or not to take his friends wife as a mistress is interesting tense in its vacillation but ultimately useless He is doomed to love her The situation is set up in a way that Laurent with all his faults cannot resist
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