Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 25

By Émile Zola

Chapter 25

  • Laurent decides that he will stop working at his regular office job, and instead rent a studio and return to painting. 
  • (Can we do that, please? Um… Okay…
  • The very next morning, Laurent finds a studio and rents it. 
  • While there, he spends many restful hours away from Thérèse and the ghost of Camille. Good for you, buddy.  
  • On one of his morning walks, Laurent even runs into an old school friend, who is now a painter. 
  • Laurent takes his friend to his studio, and the painter is amazed by Laurent's artwork.  
  • The narrator then gives us a careful explanation of what has happened to Laurent's disposition: due to his interactions with Thérèse's "nervous" personality, Laurent has developed a "woman's sensibility."  
  • His greater sensitivity has, in fact, transformed him into an artistic genius. 
  • We're not going to touch the sexism here with a ten-foot stick. But this is the author's version of an "empirical study" of the human disposition. He was a man of his times, it seems. 
  • Interestingly, Laurent's artist friend has only one criticism of his paintings: they all look alike. 
  • After his friend leaves, Laurent realizes with horror that all the paintings look like Camille's drowned face. 
  • And we thought something nice was happening to dear Laurent for a change. 
  • But no. He tries desperately to paint other things: angels, warriors, children, even cats and dogs. But every single sketch ends up looking like Camille's contorted head. 
  • Laurent stares at his hand in fear: it's as if the hand has memorized every single line of Camille's face. Dun dun dun.