The Flood by Emile Zola | POV, Theme, Style & Symbolism

Point of View

The author of the story “The Flood” uses the first-person point of view. At the beginning of the story, the author narrates the story being Louis Roubien. The author uses the word “I” when narrating the story.

“…I have nothing but them, the image of those two handsome children;
bloated by the water, disfigured, retaining upon their livid faces the heroism of their love. I look at them, and I weep…”


Emile Zola’s “The Flood” was written in 1880. The author is known to have coined the style of naturalism. This is the style that the author mainly used in his literary pieces. He used the style of naturalism in the story “The Flood”, naturalism is a literary movement that emphasizes observation and the scientific method in the fictional portrayal of reality. The flood story is somehow fictional but it portrays to reality on how people will react to such calamity or tragedy. The author also uses romanticism in the part of the family because the author writes the story about the love for each member of the family, even of hardships, because the family in the story has 12 members so it is hard for such a father to raise and give his family a better future.

The author uses simple words in writing the story:

“For fourteen years I battled with the earth for my daily bread. At last, prosperity smiled on we, and last month I was still the richest farmer in the parish.”

The author also uses a lot of descriptive words to let readers imagine what he is describing and what is happening in the story

“The month of May had been magnificent that year. It was long since the crops gave such good promise. That day precisely, I had made a tour of inspection with my son, Jacques. We started at about three o’clock. Our meadows on the banks of the Garonne were of a tender green. The grass was three feet high, and an osier thicket, planted the year before, had sprouts a yard high. From there we went to visit our wheat and our vines, fields bought one by one as fortune came to us. The wheat was growing strong; the vines, in full flower, promised a superb vintage.”


Survival, love for the family.

The story talks about more about surviving in life. In the introduction of the story, we can imply that the characters were working hard to survive and have a simple life. The author writes about survival because he experienced the same thing, the flood. In the means of survival, every family did not step on each other’s lives in order to survive but they wanted to survive as one, as one family. They showed love for each other because they know someday they will not have the chance to show it to each other.



The roof is significant in the story because we all know that the story is all about survival. And this thing is one of the instruments on how they learn how to survive, without the roof they all drown; their lives were relying on the roof.


Water is significant in the story because this is the object that makes the survival theme bloom. Water in the story is some kind of a horrible object, if there is too much water it’s horrible but if it is not, then it’s not horrible. This object makes the story more interesting and more intense to read.


Crops this serves as the family’s love and hard work in their lives. The crop at the beginning of the story serves as the gift for their hard work. And this is the thing that makes them happy, makes their family united. But as soon as the crops were destroyed in the later parts of the story, the family loss their happiness and although some members of the family were dead, they are still united, not physically. The Crops were significant in the story even though it is not that mentioned in the story.