Honoré de Balzac


Summary EUGENIE GRANDET - Honoré de Balzac

Eugenie Grandet is the main protagonist of this novel.
She is a quiet and modest girl, at the same time the only heiress of her unusually wealthy father, a stingy and rough provincial man. Because of that, she is surrounded by greedy people, for whom money and interests are their biggest preoccupation. They see in her a way to achieve their selfish goals goals.
Eugenie Grandet did not love money like her father and others did, but money still played a crucial role in her sad life. The only time she needed it, she did not have it.
When she falls in love sincerely and for the first time in her youth, with a young man named Charles, she finds the meaning of her life. All she wants is to be with the one she loves, but Charles proves unworthy of her; he leaves her for the sake of interests and titles in Parisian society.
Although her love was innocent, sincere, and willing to make any sacrifice, even at the cost of a lifetime of loneliness, it ends unromantically and sadly. Nevertheless, Eugenie Grandet remains the same until the end of her life: she loved only one man and never gained the power over money that her father and Charles had.
She remains unwavering, and her unhappy fate does not prevent her from continuing to do good deeds and help others. Her tragic character and life remain an exemplary and extraordinary example of true human virtues and values.


  • In the French town of Saumur, there was an unusually wealthy man, Felix Grande, who used to be a poor furrier until he got married. With the money he received as a dowry and his wife's inheritance, he made good business deals and, over the years, trading and turning his capital, he amassed a huge fortune. He was shrewd and cunning when it came to making money, but also insatiable because no matter how much he had, he always strived for more.

  • In addition to his wife, Mrs. Grandet, old Felix Grande also had a daughter named Eugenia, both of whom lived very modestly. Old man Grande was known as a great miser and an uneducated provincial, who treated his wife and daughter strictly and without any emotions. They had a loyal servant named Nanon in the house, a poor woman who was so kind and humble that even the insensitive Felix Grande was satisfied with her.

  • Eugenia was a quiet and modest girl, despite the fact that she was supposed to become a very wealthy heiress one day. Two young men from respected provincial families, Adolphe from the des Grassins family and Bonfons from the des Cruchot family, competed for her hand and especially her DOWRY. Eugenia showed no interest in either of them.

  • For her 23rd birthday, Charles Grandet suddenly arrived from Paris to their town. He was the nephew of Felix Grandet. His father, Guillaume Grandet, who was a respected Parisian merchant, committed suicide due to bankruptcy, leaving his brother with the last wish to take care of his son, meaning to lend him money and send him to India to trade.

  • Eugenie immediately liked Charles, she was fascinated by his beauty and his Parisian demeanor and attire. She fell in love with him, but her father immediately said that it was out of the question for Charles to become his son-in-law, and that he should leave for India as soon as possible.

  • Due to the loss of his father, Charles was broken, while Eugenie sincerely sympathized with his pain. Learning that he had no money for the trip to India, she secretly gave him all her savings, hiding it from her father. Meanwhile, her father sought to benefit from what remained of his late brother. He kept his nephew Charles with him for some time before sending him off to India.

  • The following days turned into a secret romance between Charles and Eugenie. She had been in love with him from the very beginning, and he, as an innocent young man, began to appreciate Eugenie's pure and sincere love. During their romance, he managed to kiss her once, and on the day of his departure to India, they promised each other with the words "forever yours" and "forever yours" that they would return for each other.

  • After Charles' departure, the lovesick Eugenie could only dream of him, but the peace in the Grandet household did not last long. When Mr. Grandet learned that she had given her money to Charles, he went mad with anger and punished her with house arrest, giving her only bread and water. Eugenie drew strength from love and endured it all calmly, but her father's cruelty towards her deeply affected her mother, who fell ill as a result. The sick woman constantly begged her husband not to torment their daughter, but he did not relent. After some time, Eugenie's mother died.

  • Her father only reconciled with Eugenie when she transferred her entire inheritance, which she legally received from her mother's estate, to him. After that, he became even more miserly, but after five years, he also fell ill. He spent his last days locked alone in his room with his gold until he died. Eugenie became a wealthy heiress to everything he had.

  • For years, Charles did not contact Eugenie. Initially, when he left, he thought of her, but then the greed of the Grandets for money awakened in him, so he focused all his energy on earning money. In order to earn more, he left ordinary trade and began dealing in slave trading, selling stolen goods, and usury. He had one more great desire: to return to Paris, from where he had left poor and disgraced, in great splendor and triumph. That is why he was ready for anything, and when he earned a large sum of money, after seven years, he returned to Paris.

  • Eugenie was 30 years old when she received a letter from Paris about Charles return. In that letter, Charles repaid her the money she had lent him with interest and thanked her for everything she had done for him. However, he also informed her that he was MARRYING a repulsive daughter of a marquis in order to secure a noble title and social status for himself.

  • Upon receiving the news, Eugenie was broken, crying, she said that she only had to "suffer and die".

  • Charles faced a major problem, the outstanding debts of his bankrupt father, which were much larger than his wealth, prevented him from marrying the marquis's daughter because her father did not want a man with unpaid debts in the family.

  • When Eugenie found out about it, she sent money from her great wealth to Charles to pay off his bankruptcy debts so that he could get married. After that, he did just that.

  • Since Eugenie was very religious, at the priest's admonition that marriage is a divine and social obligation, she agreed to get married. She took Bonfons Cruchot as her husband, who only had to promise that she would be free from all marital obligations in their marriage, where she would only love him as a friend. He agreed to everything just to become a millionaire.

  • However, his happiness does not last long because Eugenie becomes a widow at the age of 33. Her husband dies shortly after managing to deceive her into putting her wealth at his disposal, so the money becomes hers again.

  • Eugenie continues to live alone and modestly in a gloomy house, as in the time when her father, out of stinginess, deprived her of everything. Devoted to the charities of many institutions, but separated from the corrupt world, only with her old faithful servant Nanon to whom she says:
    "I have none but you to love me."

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