Remarks on Style Indirect Libre in L'Assommoir

In L'Assommoir, Zola makes excellent use of style indirect libre in rendering the emotional states of his characters – the narrator's role in realism precluding standard psychological analysis – in producing subtle effects of irony (the character reveals himself more than he should, in presenting the rich, varied language of the faubourgs by other means than conventional dialogue, and generally in creating a more flexible, "lived" style. All types of style indirect libre are found in profusion in the novel, "standard" style indirect libre, where the narrator's discourse is clearly on a level above that of the speaker; ambiguous style indirect libre, where it is difficult to answer the classic question: "Qui parle?"; choral style indirect libre, where the device is obviously introduced to give some kind of group reaction to a physical or moral phenomenon. As the novel progresses, style indirect libre appears ever more frequently, especially in its ambiguous forms, and finally the narrative style itself becomes "contaminated" by the device and approaches the

Niess, Robert J
Volume 1974-1975 Fall-Winter; 3(1-2): 124-35.