The story takes place in 1830 France, where Julien Sorel, a carpenter’s son, is dreaming of a better life. Julien is studying to become a priest, but secretly he is obsessed with Napoleon’s ideas.
One day Julien was sent to work at the house of the wealthy de Renâl family as a tutor. Julien falls in love with his Mr. de Renâl’s wife. Everything gets complicated when the maid makes rumors about the affair in the small town and embarrasses M. de Renâl. So Julien is sent away from their house to avoid the scandal. It is heartbreaking for her to do so because she loves Julien and can’t imagine being apart from him, but they don’t have any other choice.
I don’t want to spoil the story by telling anything more of it. It’s a great book and Stendhal is a very important author of 19th century classic literature. His writings have inspired such authors as Balzac and Zola. This is definitely not an easy read. “The Red and the Black” plot is about many things like love, politics, society and it has some unexpected twists in the end. The language in this novel makes it a difficult read, but when you are ready to see the beauty of the story through complicated language and politics of 19th century France, only then can you see the true beauty of this book.