Type de document : Research Paper


1 Maître assistante, Université Bou Ali Sina

2 Master II de langue et littérature française, Université de Téhéran


Parmi les relations interpersonnelles constituant la dimension essentielle de notre existence, les relations familiales constituent la partie importante de notre vie personnelle et elles ont un effet fondamental sur notre équilibre psychique et influent sur nos autres relations : professionnelles, amicales et de voisinage.Zola qui s’inspire de la réalité quotidienne pour rédiger son œuvre, dans Thérèse Raquin a dessiné de meilleure façon ce type de relation. À travers son traitement minutieux, nous voulons montrer l’impact des relations affectives sur la psyché et la morale des personnages. Pour y arriver, nous analyserons les caractéristiques psychologiques et morales que l'auteur a prêtées aux personnages tout en nous appuyant sur la théorie de l’attachement formalisée par le psychiatre et psychanalyste John Bowlby. Pour mieux schématiser le comment des relations interpersonnelles, nous appliquerons le triangle dramatique de Karpman, psychologue américain. Nous constaterons que Zola a porté d’une manière oblique une critique sur la nature des relations affectives entre les membres d’une famille. Nous observerons aussi comment l’égoïsme de l’un des membres de la famille peut détruire son fondement.

Faits marquants

The Impact of the Family Relationship on the Behavior of Individuals

In Thérèse Raquin (1867) of Emile Zola*


Zahra Hâdji bâbâï**/ Mitra Raïssi Dehkordi***




RESEARCH on interpersonal relationships shows that most mental illnesses and violence are related to the impact of our relationships on our existence.

The quality of interpersonal communication is so important that novelists for centuries have tried to consider serious interpersonal relations as a serious problem. The nature of relationships depends largely on the place the Ego attributes to the Other. The literature retraces in different ways and in different forms this look at Others and the relationship between the Alter and the Ego. This report appears most of the time as a problem in society. Thus the weight of social problems directs novelists towards the creation of works that can promote the mental health of society. Indeed, by showing these problems through fictitious characters, novelists want to prepare the ground for their elimination. We can classify the context of our study, Thérèse Raquin who is a presenter of the characteristics of naturalism, in the rank of these types of novels, which through the representation of the characters marked by mental disorders under the influence of their environment, push their readers to become aware of their flaws in their relationship with others and thus to improve their interpersonal relationships and, as a result, to promote the mental health of society.

By observing the increase in mental illnesses caused by the conflictual relations that agitate our contemporary world, we can­ not remain indifferent to it. We have the tendency to study here the impact of the family relationship on the behavior and the psyche of the individuals in this novel of Zola which has lost nothing of relevance to our time.

Thérèse Raquin is the story of the life of a girl, Thérèse, entrusted to her aunt, Madame Raquin, her father's sister, after the death of her mother. She will be raised at her aunt's house with her cousin Camille, a fragile and often sick person. At twenty-one, she is forced to marry Camille, who has remained weak. At home, Thérèse spent a monotonous life, until Camille one day meets Laurent, a childhood friend, whom he invites to come to his home. Thérèse takes Laurent for her lover. This is how complex relationships are formed between these characters.

The story of the relationship of these characters serves as a favorable ground for our research aiming at the study of interpersonal relations. We focus here on analyzing the relationship between members of the Raquin family while using the dramatic triangle modeled by American psychologist Karpman in 1968 in his article "Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis". The dramatic triangle or triangle of Karpman is a figure of transactional analysis highlighting a typical relationship scenario between Victim, Persecutor and Savior. Indeed, this dramatic triangle is a psychological game between two or three people able to play alternately the three roles of Victim, Persecutor and Savior. It can often be used to express mechanisms that have generated conflict. Communication is disrupted when the protagonists adopt these roles rather than expressing their emotions and ideas. If a person uses one of these roles (for example the Victim), it causes the others to play a complementary role (the Savior or the Persecutor). The persecutor may not be a person, but an illness or alcohol.

Based on this triangular diagram, to analyze the character of the characters we also apply the theory of attachment formalized by the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby in his three-volume book Attachment and Loss (1969-82 for the original edition, 1978-84 for the French edition). This theory by specifying four schemas of attachment: secure attachment, anxious attachment, avoiding attachment and disorganized attachment allows us to understand characters characters. This is how we can maneuver on the system formed by the characters. In this way, we can offer an innovative reading of Zola's work and find an answer to our problematic: the impact of family relationships on the psyche and the attitudes of individuals.

We will note that the character of Camille shows that all men are shaped by the attitude of their parents; also, the emergence of a being and the subsequent structure of his personality depends on the attitudes of his relatives, especially his parents. As Marguerite Duras affirmed "there is always something of childhood …” (Duras, 1954, p.107)

And on the other hand, our analytic study of the interpersonal system allowed us to see the action and the reciprocal reaction of Ego and Other, one over the other through Zola's novel which offers an adequate framework for reflection on otherness. In this novel, the image of the other is immediately present with a strong emotional charge and the plot of events shows us how humanity has disappeared under the increase of selfish tendencies of individuals. We see how this tendency condemns the characters to a tragic destiny. The family context in which Thérèse lives before committing her defect and her crime, shows that the moral and psychological formation of individuals depends on the environment in which they are raised. This influence of the environment on individuals is the setting in fiction of one of the principles of naturalist aesthetics. Thérèse begins to suffer from psychological disorders, as a result of the suffering she has endured because of multiple forms of selfishness of the people around her. In this daring presentation of interpersonal relationships, there is a harsh criticism of family relationships. The observation of these monstrous relationships by the reader allows him to concretely feel the pale color of humanity and to measure its gravity. He thus becomes aware of his faults in his interpersonal relationships and he will be pushed to adopt a more respectful behavior towards the rights of his family, to be reconciled with humanity and to envision a more humane and just society where people respect moral values. In addition, we can consider a social dimension alongside the natural dimension of this novel which opens the way to a sociological study.


KeywordsThérèse Raquin, family relationship, theory of attachment, selfishness, dramatic triangle.


*Received: 2017/11/13                                                           Accepted: 2018/03/11

**MA, University of Tehran, E-mail: zhadji@ut.ac.ir

***Assistant professor, Bu Ali Sina University (corresponding author), E-mail: mitraissi@gmail.com

Mots clés

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