Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 22

By Émile Zola

Chapter 22

  • Another "scientific" description gets this chapter rolling. Yawn. We mean, what? We didn't yawn, we promise. 
  • Um, so, here we're given a meticulous account of the effect that Thérèse's "nervous" character has on Laurent's "sanguine" character. 
  • You see, in the early days of their passionate tryst, the lovers' personalities complemented each other.  
  • But after the murder, their temperaments became destabilized. 
  • Thérèse became even more nervous and high-strung than before. 
  • And Laurent's body underwent an even stranger process. He adopted some of his lover's bad nerves, and now suffers from frequent panic attacks. (Which are totally no fun at all, in case you were wondering.)  
  • But the narrator finds it important to tell us that these attacks are purely physical—not psychological—because Laurent feels no remorse for murdering Camille. He's cold as ice, as they say. 
  • Still, every night the couple experiences the same sleepless terror.  
  • They often imagine that Camille's ghost is lying in bed between them, and with that third wheel around, they remain completely unable to reignite their love for each other.