Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 32

By Émile Zola

Chapter 32

  • The following Thursday, the Raquins entertain their regular guests, but both Thérèse and Laurent are on edge. They are planning to kill each other, after all. We're a little nervous too. 
  • After everyone leaves, Thérèse and Laurent tidy up in the kitchen before taking Mme Raquin to bed.  
  • When Thérèse isn't looking, Laurent slips some poison into her glass of water, while Thérèse takes out the kitchen knife and tries to hide it in her pocket. 
  • At the very same moment, the lovers turn around and look at each other.  
  • Thérèse sees the poison and Laurent sees the knife, and they suddenly understand the other's intentions.  
  • Disgusted with themselves, they burst into tears. They embrace for one final time, and resign themselves to their situation.What situation is that, you ask? 
  • Oh, just a little double-suicide action, you know. The usual. 
  • Thérèse takes the glass, drinks half of it, and hands it to Laurent. He gulps down the rest.  
  • As they both collapse to the ground, Thérèse's lips fall against the scar on Laurent's neck. 
  • For twelve hours, Mme Raquin sits silently and motionless in her chair, feasting her eyes on the dead couple who murdered her beloved son. 
  • We're guessing she feels justice was served. 
  • But what do you think?