Random Quote #53 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G

LANTIER (ETIENNE), the youngest son of Auguste Lantier and Gervaise
Macquart, was born in 1846, and accompanied his parents to Paris in
1850. La Fortune des Rougon.

After his mother had been married to Coupeau for some time, and had
started her laundry, Etienne was found somewhat in the way, and on the
suggestion of Goujet was sent to work in the rivet-making factory where
he himself was employed. Later the boy was sent to Lille, where he was
apprenticed to an old master of Goujet, an engineer in that town. When
Gervaise had fallen into poverty, Etienne, who was by that time a
stoker on an engine, was able to send his mother a five-franc piece
occasionally. L'Assommoir.

In a moment of passion Etienne struck his chief, and was at once
dismissed from his employment. An industrial crisis existed at the time,
and, finding it impossible to get work, he tramped from place to place
till eventually he arrived at Montsou, worn out with fatigue and want.
At the Voreux pit he chanced to get work in a gang led by Maheu, and
went underground for the first time. The work was hard and distasteful
to him, but he was unwilling to give it up, and was perhaps influenced
by the bright eyes of Catherine Maheu, who toiled alongside him. He
became more and more impressed with the sense of the hardships of
the miners' lives, and his mind was also influenced by Souvarine, a
confessed anarchist, beside whom he lodged. Gradually Etienne began to
indoctrinate his companions with a spirit of revolt, and when the great
strike broke out he became the leader. He did not, however, accept the
extreme doctrines of Souvarine, and endeavoured to dissuade the strikers
from doing damage to property. In this he was not altogether successful,
and his influence became considerably lessened, until he was blamed by
his comrades for the hardships they had to endure during the strike,
and for its ultimate collapse. He returned to work, and in the terrible
catastrophe brought about by Souvarine he was cut off at the bottom of
the pit with Chaval and Catherine Maheu. He had always loved Catherine,
and notwithstanding their peril, an old jealousy revived, and in a
struggle with Chaval, Etienne killed him. Days elapsed before rescue
came, and by that time Catherine was dead. After six weeks in hospital,
Etienne left for Paris. Germinal.

At Paris, later on, he took part in the Communist rising, and was
condemned to death. He was respited, and transported to Noumea, where he
married, and became father of a little girl. Le Docteur Pascal.


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