Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 23

By Émile Zola

Chapter 23

  • The couple feels as though they're losing their minds.  
  • (They probably are.) 
  • Their solution: drive away Camille's ghost. 
  • Since they still imagine that Camille is lying between them in bed, Laurent presses Thérèse tightly to him, trying to leave no room for Camille's body.  
  • In response, Thérèse kisses Laurent's scar, but this causes Laurent a great deal of (physical, we're guessing) pain. 
  • The couple struggles violently. 
  • One minute they're embracing each other and the next, they're pushing each other away. 
  • They're hot then they're cold, they're "yes" then they're "no," you know?  
  • They keep doing this until they're both completely exhausted, and they have to admit that their efforts are futile.  
  • Nothing the two do can drive away the memory of Camille.  
  • Laurent and Thérèse resign themselves to the fact that Camille's corpse will always keep them divided. They'll never get back what they once had.
  • Poor lovers/adulterers.