Finishing Manon Lescaut

I did it! I completed the drab, boring, infuriatingly annoying book I was supposed to read for The Fiction of Relationship. Manon Lescaut by Abbe Prevost is an Eighteenth century French novel highlighting class issues, and love of the most weirdest kind.

At the end of the week, we are supposed to write an analytical essay on the novel, choosing whatever thesis we wish. Here’s part of mine:

Manon: A drug for the Chevalier

Doesn’t it seem a little weird that both the main characters of ‘Manon Lescaut’ by Abbe Prevost were supposed to follow a religious path in life? Des Grieux is destined for priesthood and Manon is supposed to become a nun. But ‘love’ has them both deviating from their ordained paths. The story is built of the fact that they are not really in love in the same sense. Des Grieux is head over heels in love with Manon, and his ready to relinquish everything that he has for her. Whereas manon is in love with worldly possessions and wants to attain them at any cost. She uses Des Grieux to escape her future as a nun.

This is why Manon seems to be like a drug for the Chevalier. Now that he has seen her, he can’t get enough of her and will try to do anything to attain her. This kind of crazed behavior is justified as being love, when it really isn’t. Is it lust? Or just the aggresively possessive streak that the Chevalier has in his nature with respect to Manon. Like a drug-abuser, the Chevalier gives up everything that he has for Manon, and when he feels that he is about to lose her, he goes practically crazy.

"I revolved these thoughts in my mind; I mentioned them in part to Manon; I found new ones, without waiting for her replies; I determined upon one course, and then abandoned that to adopt another; I talked to myself, and answered my own thoughts aloud; at   length I sank into a kind of hysterical stupor that I can compare to nothing, because nothing ever equalled it." (Prevost, 101)

Manon, like a drug, only comes to him when he has money or something that she desires. If he doesn’t , then she goes off with anyone else, who does. This behaviour is seen quite often in the book.

The Chevalier still forgives her everytime she comes back to him, just glad that she is with him.


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