Honore De Balzac's Views On Family

Honore de Balzac had a talent for exposing French social life, particularly in relation to families. Through Cousin Bette, Father Goriat and Lost Illusions, Balzac expressed his belief that modern society, with greed, corruption and temptation, threatened the basic family structure, making families into monetary units of far less importance than they had been in previous days.

In Cousin Bette (Balzac, 1991), the main character, Lisbeth "Bette" Fischer, is a homely, middle-aged spinster who has lived her whole life in envy of her pretty cousin Adeline, who is married to Baron Hector Hulot DErvy, a prestigious military and government official who does not make a lot of money and is a complete womanizer. Hector has a slew of mistresses, despite his wife's loyalty and devotion to him. Their daughter, Hortense, develops a crush on Bette's "boyfriend," Wenceslas Steinbock, a young Polish sculptor, and marries...
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