I read a few English translations, mostly early ones. He felt insecure and lost in the beginning, while trying to present himself as a normal person in Paris. He meets an old military acquaintance on the street. They have been acquaintances, not comrades and not even good friends, but Duroy is accused of betraying his friend who helped him get a start. If you read the book it is clear that Forestier had plans to use Duroy for his benefit at the newspaper as well as giving him a start. It is not difficult to see that someone you know, somewhat who is in need of some advice and guidance, and who might be of use, could generate an impulse of kindness in you to help out. As long as it is not going to inconvenience you too much and as long as there stands a possible future benefit to you. Forestier quickly cools off the second time Duroy asks for help and Duroy backs off.
He simply is attracted to women and they to him. He intuits what they want to hear and desires to please them. He has few social graces and those are mostly copied from watching others. He is a rural rube who went into the military. Know anyone like him now?
His first women are prostitutes, and his first real woman is Madame Marelle. She is from Bohemia. For an understanding of immigrants from Bohemia in the early to middle 19th century read Willa Cather's My Antonia
|Willa Cather My Antonia|
Forestier's wife encourages him to see her, helps him with an article or two to get him started and he begins to learn journalism the way it is practiced at a successful newspaper. This is wrong?
When Forestier's sickness worsens and he goes away with his wife to hopefully recover_but really to die_ she asks Georges to come and stay with her. He does. Forestier dies. And he sees his chance to marry a woman he has long admired for her wit, her intelligence, her ambitious nature, and because he is sexually attracted to her. He proposes right away in a very careful and seductive way to her as he knows he must make his intentions clear immediately before someone else does. This makes him a bad person?
He regretted that he had not remained where he was;but he had hoped to improve his condition--and for that reason he was in Paris!
So here beats the heart of a petit bourgeois who wants to make it in Paris and leave his peasant origins behind. Understandable.
And then one of the finest examples of Marxian class struggle I have ever read. Georges takes Madeleine to his family's tavern following their wedding train trip, at Madeleine's insistence of course, and she is appalled at his family background. He is happy to see them and unashamed, although he understands why it would be difficult for her and agrees to leave when he sees she is uncomfortable.
|free download pdf at google books|