Study Guide

The Red and the Black Part 2, Chapter 38

By Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)

Part 2, Chapter 38

A Powerful Man

  • Mathilde dresses up like a peasant and visits Julien in prison. She refuses to believe that what Julien did was anything other than a noble act of vengeance.
  • After the visit, Mathilde goes to the vicar-general, a powerful man in the local church, to see if he'll help her set Julien free.
  • She informs him that her father is the Marquis de La Mole and that it would be in the vicar-general's best interest to have such a powerful friend in Paris.
  • Wanting some leverage on Mathilde, the vicar-general tells her that he thinks Julien shot Madame de RĂȘnal out of jealousy for her new lover (who doesn't exist).
  • Basically, the man is being mean to Mathilde by suggesting that Julien is still in love with Madame de RĂȘnal.