The book is good quality, but it has no description, copywrite information, or anything else that is normally in books. In addition to that, an article talking about viagra for females interrupts the book midway and lasts for about twenty pages. Super weird buy, but hey it was cheap.
Madame Vauquer’s boarding house brings together within one novel Père Goriot himself, among others, Rastignac, the provincial law student, and Vautrin, a smooth criminal. The boarding house, in all its mediocrity, is intricately described, giving the novel’s centre point substance. It does not seem that these characters, boarding apart, would be destined to intersect, but that’s Balzac’s point: Paris threw together the most disparate persons on one grid. Vautrin especially is neither here nor there in the plot though he articulates fine observations of Paris society. Overall, knowing Père Goriot precedes the vast Comédie Humaine, wherein key persons recur, we feel a strong sense of “To be continued...”
The night of the best ball of the season, Rastignac is with Delphine, the kinder of Père Goriot’s two daughters. In a flash of righteousness, Rastignac challenges Delphine to run to her father’s bedside, but, when she proposes they go to the ball first and his bedside later, Rastignac makes no further protest. Nor do they ever go to her father’s bedside together. Likewise, and even though, on a subsequent evening, Rastignac has just attended Père at his last, Balzac tells us in his last sentence of the novel that, Rastignac went to dine chez Delphine. Even to Rastignac, Balzac implies, the old man’s suffering, which moves us so greatly, is of only brief moment.
We may be unsure whether Old Goriot has brought on final abandonment by spoiling his daughters. It’s not clear he has since he doesn’t at all seem to be a father who neglected his daughters and then guiltily or carelessly spent great sums on them; as far as we can tell, he was very affectionate as well as financially more-than-generous. The Miss Goriots were corrupted by the Parisian society their father’s money paved their way into and not unwittingly by their father himself. That must be it, and what or who’s to blame for their callousness is meant to be evident.
It’s of crucial but, I think, obscure significance that Père Goriot believes he came to understand God when he became a father himself. Certainly, his compassion, his readiness to take on the needs and forgive the misdeeds of his children, is Godlike, but what exactly did Père Goriot come to understand when he came to understand God? The possibility of utterly selfless love for one’s creation like God’s love for created mankind? I like the idea of the revelation’s coming to him through paternity—and Balzac’s being no atheist—, but I feel the theme should be more developed and central.