Personalizing Violence in Balzac's Les Chouans
Revolutionary violence contrasted with preceding enlightenment thought. The characters in Balzac's Les Chouans (1829) were enveloped in frustration, aggression, and violence and personalize the author's lesson: Revolutions are destructive and inhuman. The novelist uses the love affair between Marie de Verneuil and Montauran to establish an antithesis and thus illuminate the Breton savagery of 1799. Making war like James Fenimore Cooper's Mohicans (8:920), the Chouans behave toward their own people with the "cruauté de cannibales" (8:1083). Balzac confronts the inhumanity of the Chouans with the angelic love of Marie and Montauran.