Study Guide

Thérèse Raquin Chapter 4

By Émile Zola

Chapter 4

  • Every Thursday evening, the Raquin family entertains four guests in their living room above the haberdashery shop: Michaud (a police commissioner and Mme Raquin's old friend), Olivier (Michaud's son), Suzanne (Olivier's wife), and Grivet (a friend of Camille). 
  • Mme Raquin serves everyone tea, and they sit around the table, playing dominoes in silence. Sounds like a real rager, are we right? 
  • Thérèse hates these Thursday evenings. She often uses The Headache Excuse to get out of playing.  
  • Sometimes she even suffers hallucinations that she's being buried alive in a vault. Yikes. 
  • Occasionally, the front doorbell rings during the dreaded Thursday night extravaganzas, and Thérèse eagerly goes downstairs to the shop to attend to a customer.  
  • But Camille gets annoyed with her if she stays away too long. 
  • Since her whole life is pretty sad and terrible, Thérèse spends the rest of the evening slumped in a chair, holding her cat in her arms.