Short summary - Doctor Pascal - Le Docteur Pascal - Émile Zola

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Doctor Pascal - Le Docteur Pascal
Émile Zola

Dr. Pascal is a sixty-year-old scientist, an innovative physician, from under his pen comes medical work. He is engaged in healing, using his own methods and giving hope to the sick. He is interested in questions of heredity. Using the example of his own family, he creates his theory of heredity, based on the data of the family tree compiled by him. Pascal's mother, Felicite, is an eighty-year-old woman who enjoys her position and condition in society, guarding family secrets that could tarnish the glory of the Rugons. In 1851, the Rougons saved Plassans from anarchy, promoting the recognition of a coup d'état. Felicite sought to destroy the writings of her son, which cast a bad light on the heredity of their family.

Pascal lives far from civilization, in a house with his faithful servant Martina in love with him, and his disciple-niece, twenty-six-year-old Clotilde. Clotilde's brother, Maxim, fifteen years ago, at the age of seventeen, became the father of a child who was given birth by a servant, and who was destined to become a victim of the degeneration of the family. Charles was mentally retarded, as was his great-grandmother, Adelaide Fook, who had been in the Tulette insane asylum for twenty years. Charles was handsome and graceful, but his face bore the stamp of imminent death - a consequence of degeneration. Once Pascal, Clotilde, Felicite and Maxime went to the old eighty-three-year-old Uncle Macquard, an old drunkard who seemed "canned in alcohol." In the past, he was a bandit, and Felicite has long dreamed of getting rid of this vicious relative. Then the family goes to their ancestor, Adelaide Fook, - an old woman, "forgotten by death", who was one hundred and four years old, she was indifferent and only looked at everything around her with indifference. The entire century rose before Pascal's eyes: Adelaide, Makar, Felicite, himself, Clotilde, Maxim, Charles.

Pascal falls ill with an unknown disease, he languishes, leading an ascetic lifestyle, he is used to suppressing passions in himself, and now he dreams of his beloved, who gives him unearthly bliss. After a while, he realizes that he has a passion for Clotilde, she reciprocates. Blinded by passion, the doctor spends his last funds on generous gifts for his beloved, which actually ruin him, at the same time the notary, hiding, upsets his condition.

Felicite, who once went to McCart, found him sleeping with a pipe on her knees, she tried to wake him up, but in vain, the old robber was in a drunken stupor, she did not interfere with his burning, which turned him into a handful of ashes. Clotilde and Pascal, who came to Tulette the next day for Charles, witnessed the extinct life of a boy who bled to death in front of his progenitor Adelaide. In the house of the old robber, Clotilde and Pascal saw only a handful of ashes and a glove that Felicite had dropped the day before.

Meanwhile, Pascal's affairs were completely upset, he was forced to ask for money from clients who had previously owed him money. Clotilde sold almost everything given to her by Pascal, leaving only a chain with pearls.

Maximus, the brother of Clotilde, developed a dryness of the spinal cord, he was chained to a chair and asked his sister to come to take care of him. Felicite, who did not approve of the relationship between her son and granddaughter, advocated that Clotilde should leave as soon as possible, breaking the connection with Pascal, or that they register the marriage. Pascal was worried about his age, he did not want to spoil Clotilde's life with his old age. He wanted to see her as a mother and so that she would find her happiness with other people, as he felt that his strength was undermined by a heart disease.

Clotilde leaves and two months later informs Pascal about her pregnancy in a letter. Pascal is insanely happy and at the same time doomed to a quick death, he dreams of extending his life for at least a year in order to see his child. He sends a telegram to Clotilde to come as soon as possible. Clotilde hurriedly packed up and left, but did not manage to find Pascal alive, he had a seizure, and Dr. Ramon, his closest friend, could not prolong his existence. At night, Felicite, taking advantage of the reigning silence in the house, burns all the works of the scientist who kept the secrets of their heredity and could darken the glory of the family. Clotilde manages to save only the family tree, on which, before his death, Pascal left the last mark about his own death and the approximate date of birth of his son. After some time, the ambitious Felicite created a refuge for the elderly named Rougon, and Clotilde, to whom Pascal's fortune returned, gave birth to a son, continuing to live in their house.