1 What had changed.
First of all, the only fact that old black employees come back to ask a favour to their ancient boss is a change. The react of Louis Rougon highlight that. He was seriously shocked. P22 When Miss Emma talked to him “He could not believe what he was hearing”.
According to Grant, others things was changed when he came back again in thePichot’s house.
First, there is a new maid, called Inez, who serves Mr Pichot, because Miss Emma and Aunt Lou stopped to work for him during the war.
For them and for Grant too, this house had changed a lot, owing to the fact that when they worked here, there was all the Pichot’s family: Henri, his brother and his sister, his nephews, and nieces, and his parents. They worked for them a very long time,but now, there was only Henry who lived in this big house.
Then, when Grant was in the kitchen, he remembered his childhood P18, and saw some items had changed. The old wood-burning had been exchanged for a gas range, there wasn’t icebox no more, and a big white refrigerator had taken its place. It’s not only the fact of modernization which changed that. Grant’s explication is that people whoworked for whites, people who cut wood, or haul the ice left plantations. A lot of colored men had gone to the war, and some old black people, as Miss Emma and Lou left white’s houses in the same time.
We can quote black people not only serve whites in their plantations or their houses, they also go and die in European war.
2 What had not changed
In contrast, a lot of things had not changed. Tobegan, Inez, the maid, was a black woman in her forties. Grant saw her as Miss Emma before. She wore same clothes as she did. P18 “Miss Emma wore the same white dress and whites shoes, and the kerchief around her head.” She did exactly the same work as she did, but she’s alone because Henry is alone in his house. When Inez went to told him Miss Emma and others were there, he wanted her to askthem what they wanted. He didn’t wait to get the answer, and went see them.
It’s again a black woman who served him, and he didn’t respect her. It’s a fact which didn’t change.
Then, he didn’t salute his visitors, and waited for them. He just asked what she wanted without welcoming. He seemed very annoyed to saw them.
Furthermore, Miss Emma looked very tired, and he didn’t offer her a sit.When she told him why they were here, for her nephew who was sentenced to death, he thought she wanted to change the trial’s verdict, so he tried to closed conversation very quickly. P20 “I can’t change what has been handed down by the court.”
Henry is the typical character who doesn’t care about others; he respects nothing only his own needed. His behaviour shows the pitydon’t touch him, because he doesn’t care about Emma who is begging to let grant see her Jefferson. That is only wishes, to see a man, and not a hog, dying on the chair. And to do that, that’s just need Henry talks to his brother in law.
In spite of she worked for him a very long time, he didn’t give her a real answer, and closed the conversation in few time.
3 Grant is a paradoxical characterGrant is the symbol of changes, and in contrast, the symbol of inertia.
When he arrived in the Pichot’s domain, Grant was angry. He went here against his will, and he had to do a thing he hadn’t have to do since 10 years, came through the backdoor.
Incidentally, it’s a bad day for him, he had to come and moreover, he had to drive car as a chauffeur.
His mind is not here, he has a lot of thingsto think and to prepare. It’s not he doesn’t want to help Jefferson, but first he doesn’t’ know how he could do, and likewise he didn’t went to the trial, he doesn’t want to go here, because he already knows what the outcome would be.
He’s very disappointed, and he feels his aunt doesn’t like his attitude. But he feels he had nothing to do all day but serves and he doesn’t like that.