Farewell, My Queen Historical Analysis

1104 words - 4 pages

Bridget KlineAPWHSummer AssignmentFarewell, My Queen by Chantal Thomas Farewell, My Queen was originally written in French by Chantal Thomas in 2002. It was translated into English by George Brazillier in 2003. Following Agathé-Sidonie Laborde, reader to Queen Marie-Antoinette, it chronicles the three days leading up to the beheading of the Queen.Agathé-Sidonie Laborde is the protagonist of Farewell, My Queen. Her position in the court of Versailles during the reign of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette is reader to the queen. Sidonie adores the queen, living for the shreds of acknowledgement she receives from her. Sidonie is different from other courtiers because she doesn't spread gossip, keeping to herself so that at any moment she can be ready to serve the queen.Sidonie impacts the story by narrating. She does not impact the plot, because most of the conflict happens outside of the palace of Versailles. Sidonie represents the time period (French Revolution) by her carefully chosen words and regal speech. Of course, the book was originally written in French, so the exact words and the weight behind them cannot be translated perfectly, but you still get the sense of the importance and caution of every word spoken. Sidonie represents the time period in her role, as well. Chosen for her soft, unobtrusive voice, she is reader to the Queen. This title represents the French Court well, as it is such a frivolous and unnecessary occupation.Sidonie's interactions with other servants show the complex social hierarchy that is the French Court of Versailles. Sidonie represents the court of Versailles through her interactions with others, the eloquent vocabulary and roundabout way of questioning and answering.The setting of the story, the palace of Versailles, fits the time period and events well because it shows the courtiers perspective of the days leading up to the beheading of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. The natural environment surrounding Versailles is grotesquely described. The exquisite palace over the dingy swamp beautifully mirrors the elegant courtiers who are part of the corrupt government contained in the palace.Interaction of cultures is represented in the prejudice against Marie-Antoinette because of her Austrian background. At one point, two guards are discussing the fault of the Queen, purely based off the fact that she is from Austria, ignoring the fact that Marie was raised in the French court from the age of 14. Cultural interaction is also hinted at when rumors of the storming of the Bastille reach Versailles. None of the courtiers can conceive that such an event was possible, highlighting the stark contrast between the French nobility and the common people.The whole book is about the decline of the French monarchy before being taken over by French revolutionaries, so state-building would have been present if viewed through the eyes of the rebels. From the view of the court, you can see government...

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