The book Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol is a novelabout the tragic life of Jean Cadoret who moves to the country in search of a better life for himself and his family. However this dream turns sour with little water or help from the villagers such asUgolin who befriends him. Jean struggles and eventually is killed in one of his many ambitious plans. This eventual downfall can be blamed on many different factors but often the main reason cited isthat his total dependence on literature for advice misleads him and so he was destined to fail. This essay will examine the different aspects contributing to Jean de Florette’s death and questionwhether Jean’s reliance on books leads him to failure.
The importance of literature and written information is well established in Jean de Florette in order to highlight the naivety that Jean hasabout country life and to show the influence that living in a city has had on his opinions and biases. Jean is well read and many of his ideas from literature cannot be applied to everyday life. Forexample Jean states that;
“‘Labor improbus omnia vincit’ ce qui signifie ‘avec du travail on arrive à tout.’”
It is known that in a city job, such as a tax-collector, hard work is almost alwaysrewarded. However the country is a very different place and, as is seen during the novel, hard work can come to nothing if there is lack of expertise, terrible weather or even just bad luck. Anotherdisadvantage of following numbers and statistics is that the numbers are normally averages and therefore rarely apply to daily life as circumstances change and there are exceptions to every rule. Jean basesa lot of his decisions about the farm on the average rain fall of the area for example he knows by heart that there should be:
“Avril, six jours de pluie. Mai, cinq jours. Juin, quatre jours....