Example research essay topic: Juliens Journey – 1,450 words

… om a deserving man. His response is shocking,
It doesn’t matter. . .I shall have to resort to a
good many other injustices if I want to make my
way, and what’s more, learn to hide them beneath
fine sentimental phrases: poor Mr. Gros! He
deserved the cross, I’m the one to get it, and I
have to act in accordance with the desires of the
Government who’s giving it to me.(292) Later,
Julien is asked to participate in a conspiracy
that will benefit the aristocracy and the
church…the very opposite of Napoleons ideals.
Well aware of what the conspiracy implied, Julien
lends his much needed skills without hesitation.
These examples, and others throughout the story,
show that Julien was not a Napoleonic idealist.
Though he clings to heroic dreams throughout his
life, they are not clear to him, nor are they
important to his soul.

Readers see Julien embrace
hypocrisy unabashedly, but he seems to delve into
it with such sincerity that it is difficult to
pass judgement. Julien is born into a dull and
petty society, it is not surprising, nor ignoble
even, that he wished to transcend it. The problem
occurs because Julien decides that the best way to
do that is to attain the most admired position of
status. Julien is deceived by society and even by
himself. This desire is unnatural to him; his goal
does not coincide with his heart. Julien has a
fine imagination, but his soul is not suited to
aspirations of greatness.

When offered a good job
by his friend, Fouque, his is faced with this
problem, Like Hercules he found himself with a
choice-not between vice and virtue, but between
the unrelieved mediocrity of guaranteed
well-being, and all the heroic dreams of his
youth. It shows I haven’t got real determination.
. .I’m not made of the stuff of great men, since
I’m afraid that eight years spent earning my
living may drain me of the sublime energy which
gets extraordinary feats accomplished. (79) Though
recognizing that his attention might be diverted
from his fantasy, that he is not completely
devoted to those ideals, he still chooses the path
of his youthful dreams. We can only speculate as
to why. Forced to act in society because he is a
member of it, he takes the road that seems most
profitable to him.

Somehow society taught Julien
that hypocrisy for the attainment of wealth and
status was the way of things. Upon his last days,
he sees this clearly, I was ambitious, I dont want
to blame myself; at that time I acted in
accordance with the conventions of the day. (526)
Not only was Julien manipulated by society into
desiring a thing that could not be fulfilling to
him, he is also deceived as to the nature of
living itself. Julien embraces hypocrisy, but it
is not clear that he understands what hypocrisy
is. At one point he is truly astonished to find
that priests exist, the Jansenists, who are not
completely devoted to procuring wealth and
influence. It is as if it never occurred to him
that a person would do something for reasons other
than petty advancement.

Often, Julien curses
having been born poor and feels that it doesnt
allow much room for not being a scoundrel, … men
from the salons never get up in the morning with
this agonizing thought: ‘How am I going to get my
dinner?’ And they boast of their honesty!(518)
They’re so proud, these weak characters who are
kept above temptation by their financial
situation!(506) Julien is right. The unfortunate
combination of a petty society and being born poor
within it produced a profound disadvantage. Julien
fell victim to temptation and blindness.
Temptation led him to lie for advancement;
blindness made him ignorant to the fact that that
advancement was fully petty and would be
unsatisfying. Julien was ignorant of an
alternative goal. A mayfly hatches at night oclock
in the morning in high summer, and dies at five in
the evening; how should it understand the word
night?(521) It may be that an alternative to
ambitious hypocrisy that allows Julien to live
within society and not be taken into corruption is
not even possible.

Julien made mistakes and
committed atrocities, but he is not solely
responsible for them and cannot be judged. Though
those mistakes effected him in his life and
brought him to the situation he faces with his
crime and its consequences, they are not true
crimes themselves. However, within his prison,
removed of his ambition, Julien can see his
numerous defects. From his convoluted dialogues,
it is clear that Julien must struggle to rid
himself of them, There as elsewhere, simple and
unassuming worth was abandoned for glittering
show. . .But then again, what a prospect!.

.Colonel in the Hussars, if we were at war. . .A
man of quality, enjoying the grandest of
lifestyles in Vienna or London. . . (504) Julien
finds himself being a hypocrite for no reason, for
no audience.

Juliens habits are so fully
entrenched that even enlightenment and removal of
temptation cannot remove them. If Julien knows
himself, he knows that once out of the shadow of
death it will be even harder to correct his
habits. It may even be impossible. If Julien truly
feels that his hypocrisy is wrong and has led him
astray, he would find death the only correct
choice. Of all the things, though, that Julien
learns because of his crime, the most important is
the value of Mme. de Rnal.

She was the only
meaningful human relationship that Julien ever
had. Pure and unconditional, Mme. de Renals love
was able to touch Julien beneath his many surface
layers. With her, Julien finally has to be nothing
but Julien, He had no petty pride where she was
concerned, and he recounted all his moments of
weakness to her.(523) After countless hours
battling with his habits and his philosophical
mind, he realizes that all he really cares about
is her: 1.)I am being hypocritical as though there
were someone there to listen to me. 2.)I am
forgetting to live and love, when there are so few
days left for me to live… Alas! Mme.

De Renal
isnt here. . .This is what is causing my
isolation, not the absence of a righteous good,
all-powerful God. . .Ah! If he existed. .

.I have
deserved death, Id say to him; but Almighty God,
bountiful God, merciful God, give me back the
woman I love! (522) Compared with his love for
Mme. de Renal, Julien finds that none of the
things that had occupied his life are important.
This understanding leads Julien to profound
remorse. He collapses in tears of apology and
frequently wishes that Mme. de Rnal could
understand how sorry he is for his crime. Mme. de
Rnal forgives him immediately for shooting her,
but Julien is sorry for the greater crime of
wanting to kill her and being able to.

Julien is
guilty of this crime: He was able to kill a woman
who loved him. It is through understanding his
crime and accepting responsibility for it that
Julien attains nobility. Crime in Juliens society
is almost chimerical. It is hard to distinguish a
virtuous man from a criminal. Even at the top most
social strata you find greed, dishonesty, and even
eternally damned murderers. (306) The society is
rotten through, hypocrisy is everywhere, They
commit acts of the utmost cruelty, but without any
cruelty at all.

(306) Crime goes unpunished, and
those rewarded are simply criminals who havent
been caught yet. Julien is stern in his conviction
that his attempted murder must be punished with
death even while people who are a greater harm to
society are free. Though he could escape his
prison or be dishonest in court, he forces the law
to uphold its integrity. Here, in the middle of a
hopelessly petty society, Julien invokes the basic
structure of true justice and the eternal,
important, truths that law is built on. He wronged
another human being, and he will force the law to
guard justice and punish him. I intended to kill,
so I must be killed.

One of the ways that Julien
attains nobility is forcing his ignoble society to
do the noble thing. Julien had an almost inherent
sense of justice when it came to his crime. But
over time, this basic nobility is made rich with
the understanding of his betrayal and his joy in
life upon realizing that he cares about Mme. de
Rnal. Julien was not forced to understand himself
and value the right things; in fact, he was given
every opportunity not to. Yet he still chose to be
truly virtuous.

And for it, his last days are
happy ones. Bibliography:.

Research essay sample on Juliens Journey