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The Book Report of The Lady of Camellias

英文学院2班 尹思思 1201010221

In the mid-nineteenth century, Paris was a city full of luxury and indulgence. All the evil of capitalist society appeared in Paris, such as inequality, luxury, prurience, hypocrisy, indifference, etc. Dumas Alexander Fills found the fact and wrote a series of works about ladies and marriages to reflect the dark society in French of nineteenth century. Dumas is not only a excellent playwright but also an outstanding novelist. W hat’s more, he is one of the founders of the “problem play”.

The Lady of Camellias is Dumas’ first great novel which made him famous. In the novel, Dumas narrates a lady’s love tragedy adapt from his real experience. The protagonist in the novel is Marguerite Gautier. Marguerite Gautier is a beautiful girl whose favorite flower is camellia, and she always wears camellias in her hair. Marguerite was born in a poor family in the country, so she hates poverty and expects a well-off life. Therefore, she comes to Paris to pursue a new life. She sells her youth and body for money and enjoys the extravagant life every day, so that she comes down to be a courtesan, or mistress of different rich men at last. What’s worse, she is deep in debt for maintaining her luxurious current expenses.

Until one day, Marguerite meets Armand Duval, a handsome young lawyer who has had a crush on her for several years, and falls in love with the young man. They spend a period of happy days in a remote peaceful town. However, when Marguerite decides to give up all the property of her and escape from her shameful life in the past, Armand ’s father comes up to stop her plans. He pleads with Marguerite to leave Armand to save both Armand ’s reputation and his sister ’s marriage. She loves Armand so much that she can even sacrifice herself. Thus, she reluctantly returns to her former life, knowing that some day Armand would forgive her. But Armand thinks that she never loved him, so he begins to look down on her and do a lot of bad things to hurt her. Finally, Marguerite dies in debt and impassive relationships, except for her only female friends, Julie Duprat, who helps her a lot during her illness. After Marguerite dies, Julie sends her journals to Armand to explain what she had done to him. When Armand returns to Paris and read the journals, he feels very regretful and painful. But it is too late, what he can do is just to bury his cherish girl and put plenty of camellias around her grave.

From the novel, we can see that camellia is a symbol of Marguerite, a beautiful and pure girl, who was driven to prostitution but still keep her kind and pure mind. She is a falling angle, yet it is not her fault but the evil of capitalism and the hideousness of that society. As readers, we should feel pity for Marguerite and other kept women like her and try our best to help them get out of the mire. Furthermore, we should also see the social reality by understanding the kept women instead of throwing all the blame on them.