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Chabert


            The social and economical clash between classes is not a recent problem. In fact, it has been an issue that has followed human society since the early times of its civilization. Social classes and all the problems associated with it have always existed; from the early civilizations between the Tigris and the Euphrates to the Modern Society not forgetting the Greek and the Roman empires as well as the darkness of the Middle Ages. It has been such an important factor during our existence that it has influenced enormously also the literary world. Two works in particular are perfect reflections of this perennial conflict: Le Colonel Chabert by the great Honore de Balzac and The Cherry Orchard by the Russian play writer Anton Chekhov. These two literary pieces, although written a little less than a century apart and in two different countries and cultures, present many similarities that can help us understand how the social stratification was and will always be part of our society.
             The social diversification presented in these two works however has a cause that is curiously similar in both cases. These tensions between classes, however, are not like the ones we have in today's world which are mainly caused by unequal opportunity. They are a consequence of changing times and a result of social change. Understanding the historical background of both writings is essential to comprehend the behaviors of every character. Chabert's France was in the early years of the restoration, the Napoleonic Empire felt and a new France was taking shape. During the Napoleonic years, France witnessed a major social and economic change: the old aristocrats, the church, and the nobles saw themselves being expropriate from all their possessions as well as being obligated to seek exile, leading to a total loss of their social and economical power. On the other side, many people took advantage of the situation, some to become rich by purchasing at floor prices the national treasures that belonged to the Church and the aristocrats and others by obtaining high ranks in the public office that were emptied by the social revolution.


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