Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 11

By Émile Zola

Chapter 11

  • One Sunday, Camille, Thérèse, and Laurent go to Saint Ouen, a suburb of Paris.  
  • They find a shady spot beneath a tree, and Camille takes a nap. Laurent is burning with lust for Thérèse, and feels a sudden desire to kill Camille in his sleep. Eep. 
  • Luckily, he realizes this would be a foolish way to commit a murder. Instead, Laurent devises another plan, and gently wakes Camille.  
  • Laurent suggests that they take a boat ride on the Seine before dinner. 
  • Dusk falls as the boat enters a narrow channel. How romantic, right? Wrong. Laurent starts toward Camille and begins strangling him. 
  • Camille calls for Thérèse's help, but she's paralyzed with shock. She does nothing but watch the struggle unfold. 
  • Even though Camille is really strong for a sick guy, Laurent manages to lift him up in the air. He's about to throw him into the water when Camille bites Laurent's neck. 
  • Laurent pushes Camille overboard, but he overturns the boat in the process. At least he's supporting Thérèse in his arms at the same time.  
  • Plus, as good novel-timing would have it, some oarsmen soon row by. Thérèse and Laurent are rescued. But Camille's body is nowhere to be found.  
  • Thérèse has a nervous breakdown. 
  • Laurent pretends to be devastated, lamenting that he shouldn't have let Camille dance on the boat. Astoundingly, he manages to convince everyone that it was all an accident. Indeed.